Google Play, the new Android Market

Today we’re featuring a guest post by EJ Parfitt.

The latest tizzy in the tech world that’s captured the attention of mobile phone users is Google’s recent decision to re-brand the Android Market.

From here on out, the gateway to Android apps will be known as Google Play, which is a centralized repository for online content. Whether you’re looking for applications, movies, music, books or games, Google Play will be your go-to destination for digital goodies on your Android phone.

Despite the initial backlash from legions of Android fans, this may end up being a good thing overall.

The Details

Google’s own blog announcement of the name change downplays the death of the “Android Market” moniker and instead emphasizes the consolidation aspect of the re-branding.

Google Play now acts as a single access point for Google Play Movies, Google Play Books and Google Play Music, simplifying the process of finding content on a platform that isn’t iTunes.

Outside of the name change and a smart new web layout for Google Play, not much will change as far as content delivery is concerned for those who already use Google’s media services.

Google Play Features

Why Now?

The obvious question that many are asking is: Why Now?

Why would Google change the name of the Android Market after more than three solid years of operation? As quite a few blog and forum posters have pointed out, it’s not a great idea to change horses midstream. Android already has branding and marketing problems when it comes to crafting a unified identity to present to the less than tech-savvy public.

Ironically, the sudden switch from Android Market to Google Play has everything to do with that perception in the minds of consumers.

Google’s Rationale

It’s not that difficult to figure out what was going through the minds of Google’s top brass when they decided to bring all of their mobile and web content offerings together under one roof. While they’ve managed to mitigate Android fragmentation somewhat with the release of Ice Cream Sandwhich, they still don’t have the same brand recognition as Apple does with its iTunes platform.

The Android Market name change is a small piece of a much larger puzzle that Google must solve to remain relevant in the future.

Long Term Goals

Media consumption via mobile devices like smart phones and tablets is becoming a bigger and bigger slice of the pie when it comes to online revenue for companies like Google, Apple and Amazon. The fact of the matter is that thanks to attractive Mobile broadband deals and near universal smart phone adoption, more and more people are getting a big portion of their media wirelessly.

Google Play is a way for Google and the Android Platform to become a credible iTunes-and-Amazon-Appstore-alternative going forward.

Final Word

At the end of the day, does it really matter what the Android Mar… err, Google Play is called?

A rose by any other name still smells as sweet. The trivial name change doesn’t affect the fact that Android still supports half a million or so terrific applications, many of which are free to download and use. In 6 months, few casual users will even remember the term “Android Market” even existed.

Overall, this is a positive move for Android, as it streamlines the process of finding and obtaining quality content and software for your Android phone.

Image Credit: Orlando Sentinel

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