Google clearly haven't been wasting their time recently - they have prepared a new online platform for delivering third-party applications to Android-based handsets, called Android Market. And this new Android Market seems to be just around the corner.
Much like the Apple AppStore, the Android Market is a native application that runs on the handset but connects to the new online Google service. It will be used as download manager and installer for third-party applications for the Android OS.
This is what the Android Market will look like
The Android Market will offer a very simple three-step interface for collecting applications. All it takes for the developer is to register and than describe and upload the app. Unlike the AppStore, there will be no need for approval from Google before that. The Android market will also feature a rating and comment system similar to the one of YouTube.
The first Android device that's supposed to roll out is the HTC Dream. No details about the device specs are known, and there are no leaked photos either. Even its release date is not carved in stone yet, if you know what we mean.
The one thing that's known however is that this first device will be shipped with a beta version of the Market application, which will include only free applications. There is obviously some more i-dotting and t-crossing to be done before the paid applications hit the road.
Meanwhile Google also announced the winners in the first Android developer challenge. From 50 developer teams to reach the finals 10 received a hefty 275,000 US dollar checks and 10 more walked away with the modest 100,000 US dollar awards. You can check the winning apps here. Those aren't really spectacular so we guess the main purpose of the prizes is to encourage more developers to enter the next round.