With the rollout of handsets featuring Google's Android mobile operating system just around the corner, the company unveiled early details on its competitor to Apple's App Store.
On the Android Developers Blog the company showed how Android users will be able to get applications on their handsets. The process will be similar to posting a video on YouTube: Content providers register as a merchant, upload and describe content, and then publish it.
The first Android-powered handsets will be enabled with a beta version of Android Market that will at minimum support free applications. End users will use this to find, download, and install content, and they'll be able to rate and comment on applications.
"Soon after launch an update will be provided that supports download of paid content and more features such as versioning, multiple device profile support, analytics, etc.," wrote Eric Chu in the blog post.
In what can be seen as a jab at Apple, Google said it chose the term "market" instead of "store" because it wanted developers to have an "unobstructed environment" to distribute their content. By comparison, Apple places restrictions of what types of applications are in its store and also gets a 30% cut from any application purchased.
When Google introduced Android last November, the company said it wanted to create an open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices. The open approach to the application market significantly lowers the barrier of entry for application creators, but some questions about security still remain.
The Android Market is expected to be a significant factor in the success of the mobile operating system. Consumers seem to be hungry for mobile applications, as iPhone users have downloaded more than 60 million programs from the App Store since its launch July 11.