A leaked APK file of the revamped Android Market has appeared on the web, weeks before its official launch on Android smartphones.
The file appeared on XDA Developers a day after Google announced that the Android Market would be revamped for Android version 1.6 and above, which should be most handsets out there. The update is expected to go live over the next two weeks, but the leaked APK has given us a good sneak preview of what to expect.
Firstly, the UI itself has been significantly reworked. The Apps, Games and Downloads tabs are gone, replaced by nicer looking buttons, and all information relating to an app will be displayed on one page instead of being spread across multiple tabs.
A new carousel is also featured on the home and category screens, where promoted apps will be displayed. New categories are added, including widgets and live wallpapers, while related content is added to individual app pages. A purely cosmetic change involves a green curve at the top that makes the entire interface look much smoother
One change to the Market that has not gone well with users so far is the reduction of the refund window from 24 hours to a miserable 15 minutes. Google said “this change will be largely transparent to buyers, but will help developers manage their businesses more effectively,” but anyone interested in testing applications or games before buying them will have a difficult time, particularly for apps that require several hours to work with.
It’s likely that this change came as a result of comparing the Market to Apple’s App Store, which offers no refund ability. Profits for developers are most likely higher on iOS devices as a result of this policy, whereas many Android equivalents may have difficulty earning money due to the current 24 hour refund window.
The developer side is not being ignored, with the APK file size for apps being increased to 50MB, which Google believes will specifically support “richer games”. Developers will also be able to make use of device targetting based on screen size, density and GL texture compression format.
AndroidPolice got its hands on an image of the Market at work on a tablet, showing off Android’s capability of offering a different display catered specifically for tablets. This feature is expected to fully launch for most applications with Android 3.0 some time next year.