Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Google Opens Android Web Store

Google Inc. launched a new Web-based store for applications that run on mobile devices powered by its Android software, one of several moves by the Internet company to keep up with rival Apple Inc. in the wireless sector.

Google's new app market, available at, is aimed at letting users discover new apps more easily from their computers, as well as to see recommendations by friends and download apps to their mobile devices. That could help level the playing field with Apple, which has had an edge over Android because it allowed users to find apps and buy them through the iTunes program on their computers.

Google also said developers could create Android apps that charge users for in-app purchases of virtual goods in games, among other things—a feature already available on apps running on Apple devices. Google said developers could set prices for their apps in foreign currencies, which previously they had been unable to do.

Google's new moves come as Android overtook Nokia Corp.'s Symbian as the most widely used operating system globally in the fourth quarter, based on the number of devices shipped. Apple came in third, those studies showed.

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