Android Ecosystem — This Week in Android

As I mentioned earlier today, it’s getting difficult to keep up with all of the Google Android developments amidst other mobile tech news. The frenetic pace of Android development, maturity and modding efforts remind me of the iPhone (s aapl)  in earlier days. There’s still plenty happening in that space too, but I’m not feeling quite as much energy there. Take today, for example. This afternoon, Google (s goog) introduced its Google Earth application for Android 2.1 devices. For now, that means the free app is only officially available for the Nexus One, but other handsets will follow upon forthcoming updates.

I downloaded the software and like its counterpart on the iPhone, it’s visually stunning. Thanks to the higher 800 x 480 resolution of the Nexus One, it’s phenomenal to view. And it’s not quite the same ol’ Google Earth app either. Google added a Roads layer that combines street names with the satellite imagery. Local search results are also integrated in the app, and combined with the voice-to-text search capabilities, are a breeze to use. Will I keep the software on my phone? I’m not so sure, mainly because Google Maps and Google Navigation are more than good enough for me and I’m suddenly drowning in apps.

AppAware is one of those apps, but it will actually help me tread water in the software pool. The program monitors what apps are installed or removed from your Android handset and then reports that information in to the AppAware website. There you can see what other AppAware users are installing or removing, so there’s a bit of a crowdsourcing approach to help you find out which titles are popular and which are quickly losing traction. If you want to go really nuts with the information sharing, AppAware can tweet your software activities as well. As much as I like Twitter, that’s a bit too much to clog the pipes for me. Apps are ranked by hour, day and week, plus the stream of information tells you which devices were used. Go figure that a recent check shows Google Earth as the most installed application today.

An app didn’t tell me this, but I did see that Matt Cutts is in his third week of iPhone suppression, as he too is using a Google Nexus One. It’s worth noting that Matt is a fairly high profile Google employee, but up to now, the iPhone was his main device. His experience over the past three weeks mirrors mine over the last six — Android is still lacking in some areas, but it excels in others. I think the fact that both he and I rely heavily on Google services has much to do with our viewpoints. And now that I’ve sold my Palm Pre (s Palm) and cut my monthly carrier bills from four to three, I’m thinking about going down to two. That means I’ll keep my Verizon Wireless (s vzw) 3G data plan since I have a used MiFi on its way. The question now is: will three years of iPhone use have me stick with Apple’s handset or is my Nexus the one?

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

Google’s Mobile Strategy: Understanding the Nexus One