Google has in an understated way revealed a seismic shift in the capabilities and purpose of its Android Market which is no longer just an app store – the mobile store will now sell books and rent movies alongside apps.
The move unites all this content into one place and it seems Google is intent on stealing a march on Apple’s iOS ecosystem as people come to regard this as a natural way of getting content for their smartphones or tablet devices.
The new version of the Android Market – available on Android 2.2 phones and higher – will allow US users to rent thousands of movies starting at US$1.99.
A new Videos app deals with the traditional problems of downloads, synching and storage space by keeping it all in the cloud, it seems.
“Simply sign into Android Market with your Google account, and you can rent movies from anywhere – the web, or your Android phone or tablet – and start watching instantly. You can also download movies to your device so they’re available for viewing when you don’t have an internet connection,” said Android Market product manager Paul Montoy-Wilson.
Android Market design overhaul
The newly designed Android Market has been overhauled to make it easier for users to find stuff, whether its movies, apps and books, and includes space to feature content of the week and staff and editor’s picks.
However, there is no indication of when users in other geographies like Europe, Africa or Asia will get their hands on the Videos feature.
“The new Android Market will be rolling out in the coming weeks to Android 2.2 and higher phones around the world. You don’t need to do anything – the update is automatic on supported phones. If you’re in the US, you’ll also be able to download the Videos app, rent movies, and buy books once you receive the new Android Market,” Montoy-Wilson added.
It will be interesting to see if the Android Market will soon sell music, too. We’ll have to wait and see.