Google Android Market VS. Amazon Appstore

There are plenty of 2nd party App-Store wanna-be’s out there like, AndroLib, AndAppStore and others that have tried hard to crack the Google Android Market gold mine, but have had only mild success. While Google rested on their “we own it” laurels, and did little to bring the Android Market to the public in bigger ways, monsters like Amazon now loom in the background – threatening t o bring real web development and internet sales skills to the table.

Google may have the lions share of the app sales game at the moment in the Android space, but are they moving too slow to lead?  Recently the search giant introduced a new web presence for the Android Store that allowed online browsing, and push to phone – something sorely missing from the Android experience, but possibly too little too late.Google needs to step up their game here I think, or the doors might be open exposing the castle keep here.

The thing with smart-phones and app stores is that they need to be sexy! You have 10 minutes to kill, so you turn on your phone, hoping to be amused, informed, amazed. Google’s less is more search interface, while perfect for the desktop experience, doesn’t fly here.  The current Android Market web experience is like it came from the same department – sans sex. Google needs to bring in some designers and marketers that know how to make me A) open their app store when I have 10 minutes, and B) be excited to be there and get new stuff.

Amazon has recently moved into Google’s space with their Appstore.  Having looked at it from the beginning, months prior to the release, I can say that they have really come a long way.  In fact, I think maybe they have even one-upped the big G’s gold standard. They have editors (that are used to selling stuff!!) writing content for app descriptions, and have an app submission process that is getting pretty sweet. Their one click purchase system makes it a breeze to get that new app, and their Appstore is fresh and feels right.

Look for more competition in this space, as there is plenty of money to be made here.  For now, these two behemoths have the dance floor and while it may not yet be even money, look for Amazon to do everything in it’s power to be in mobile as a formidable leader.

Motorola Xoom Standard Dock Review

Along with the Motorola Xoom Wifi, I picked up the standard dock for it as well.  The dock itself is a heavy little thing, which gives it plenty of stability when you are touching your tablet while docked.  The Motorola Standard Dock comes with an adapter for gel case users, and a power supply. The power supply is the same proprietary adapter that the Xoom uses (no surprises there I guess) but still made me disappointed once again that the device is not powered by mini-usb.   The tablet light sensor lines up nicely with a dot on the dock so you can easily get it into position. Also included is a standard jack to route your audio into a better sound system without fuss when docked.


I like the dock overall, but here is the list:


  • Sturdy, heavy duty feel
  • Sound routed to external system works great
  • Charges unit
  • Stays “dim-lit” so you can see your desktop/apps when not in use
  • Makes for a great living room end table slide show dock


  • If you are a developer and think this thing will have a mini-usb pass through so you can develop and debug while docked, think again.
  • The viewing angle while docked, to me, seems a bit steep
  • MSRP is $50 – are you kidding me?  You can find it cheaper, but still…

So there you go, aside from a few complaints this thing is a solid addition to the Xoom.  I’m guessing a nice Bluetooth keyboard would make this thing a pretty handy travelling PC. You can pic the dock up at Amazon over here: Motorola Standard Dock and Power for MOTOROLA XOOM (Motorola Retail Packaging)


Motorola Xoom Wi-Fi Review

The day finally came where the price point and no need for a data plan device stars aligned and I found myself down at the local Costco picking up the Motorola Xoom – Wifi version.

The device was on the shelves 3/27/2011 (and not 3/26 – I stopped in and checked, just in case.)   As a bonus for using Costco, they throw in a free gel case, and dropped the MSRP from $599 to $589.  I got there pretty early, but from what I could tell only one other had been sold at that point.


The Good:

  • The build quality is amazing – super sturdy
  • The battery life is great (and it was even charged out of the box)
  • Honeycomb (Android 3.0) is polished and ready to contend with any tablet OS
  • The speed is great, makes my Nexus S seem slow (and it’s not…)
  • WiFi is great, even picked up my shoddy WiFi at work all day
  • Micro-SD slot!!  Stereo Speakers!! Decent Camera!  Flash!! Camera Flash!!
  • The Honeycomb built apps (like Gmail etc. are all so much better than the phone versions, with preview and all kinds of extras.
  • Mini-HDMI and USB
  • Tethering to my Nexus S was seamless

The Bad:

  • This thing is heavy – I thought the same of the original iPad – build quality/battery showing their head?
  • Apps – tablet specific apps are in the 50’s as I write this, not thousands like the iPad.  Also, a few apps simply don’t like the layout and hung.
  • Probably a setting, but new apps stick icons on your desktop
  • I find the power button on the back side to be in a weird spot
  • It has a proprietary charger, not the mini USB, so car charging is out for now

With the 90 day return policy I felt confident to pull the trigger on this Moto-offering, and I can tell you I haven’t been anything but pleased in the outcome.  I even ponied up and ordered the dock which comes tomorrow. All I can say is you have to get one of these.  If you have been waiting for the right moment to get in on the tablet bandwagon, now is the time, get yourself a Xoom.


ToMarket HandyShopper Converter tool available

Over on my App website for ToMarket I have a utility that can help HandyShopper users convert their PDB files to ToMarket CSV files so that they can import them into their shiny Android phones, finally ridding themselves of the Palm legacy. (Hey, I loved it at the time too 😉 ) So go check it out if you have Handy Shopper roots and want to move into the 10’s with ToMarket Grocery Shopping: