The Pros and Cons of different app markets.

To begin, I have fairly extensively used the Android market (been part of the army since the cupcake days) and Microsoft's app store as well. I'm not as familiar with the iPhone's app store, but i wouldn't say I'm by any means ignorant of it. And Blackberry's I only have a small amount of experience with.

Basically this is going to to turn into a rant for different app markets. I would rate them as follows:

Android's > iPhone's > Microsoft's > Blackberry's.

Before i start a flame war, let me clarify that I mean for this to be more about the actual usability of those "app market" apps themselves rather than by their selection of applications.

Pros and Cons of Android's:

The usability of android's play store is quite awesome. They layout is clean and intuitive. The app selection/quality is plenty good enough to rival iPhone's.

Here's my few minor con's i have with it.

If you've ever gone on the desktop version of the play store, it always does something annoying to irk me. Before the most recent UI clean up on that site, there was no access to the wishlist. Which is present on android phone and tablets. Why Google? my wishlist is tied to my Gmail account which i sign in with through my browser and all their service's just know that it's me.

The newest update fixed that issue so yay! But of course it's one step forward and one step back. For the life of me, after the recent update I am not longer able to find the page that allowed me to manage the apps on a by device basis. I could do this before so why can't I now!

Final issue I've found with the desktop market: I have old devices that I have no intention of every activating again. Yet Google seems to think that they know better and will not let me delete old devices tied to my account. Which in turn, means that any apps that I may have had installed on old devices, makes Google think they are still installed. Even if it's been more than a year since the phone has even been turned on.

now back to the bread and butter, the mobile play store. Like I said before, the interface on the play store is pretty dam good. One thing I would like to see soon (wouldn't be surprised if it was on it's way) is the layout to mirror how Google has redesigned it other apps recently with the side menu. Just a personal preference.

And finally for android's market. Some sort of full application backup/sync would be nice. One of the reason's i still root every android device i get my hand on to this day (other then the awesome custom roms, better speed and battery, free tethering apps, removing bloat, ad blocking, etc.) is to be able to backup everything about my apps. When i get a new android device, I don't want to have to start all my games over, redo the setting in almost every application, log back into everything, etc. With the amount of free Google drive space that Google offers for free, it still surprises me that this isn't built into android yet...

TL;DR: android's market is awesome, though the desktop version could still use a little work.

Pros and Cons of iPhone's:

Since I don't have near as much experience with the app store, perhaps you folks could point out anything I have missed or your own likes and dislike with the app store.

Obviously, the app store has a great selection and is regarded as having the highest quality apps. Personally I find android to be on par and that this is just a propagated rumor that is persisting from a few years back but to each his own.

The thing I generally find annoying (for me this seems to be iPhone apps in general) is: since iPhones only have the single home button, I always find navigating through their apps to be a little intuitive. I find myself looking for the buttons or trying random gestures to get to whatever basic setting or go back a screen or whatever it is I want to do. Basically this says to me that the design language of the iPhone apps could be a hair bit better.

This remains true for the app store. This is a personal thing and of course take it with a grain of salt since I'm more used to navigating through windows and androids.

Here's the one con that isn't as much of a personal preference. iCloud. From iTunes to the app store and beyond. iCloud is a mess in terms of managing what data should be local to what device, what device should have a certain app or song backed up with icCoud and which shouldn't and so on. Here is my anecdotal example: My girlfriend has an iPad mini. On the mini, she likes to use Netflix. Great. On her phone (which she very limited storage since she has 1000+ pictures and wont delete them or move them to her computer...) she doesn't want/use Netflix. iCloud think's it knows better and wants every device she has to have Netflix on it. Now getting iCloud to stop it's shenanigans isn't impossible, but it is unnecessarily difficult.

TL;DR: the app store has a great selection and high level of quality apps but is slightly less intuitive than android's and iCloud can be a pain in the rear.

Pros and Cons of Microsoft's:

Here is where the real rant starts. I honestly have nothing good to say about Microsoft's app market. SOOooo many issues. Where do i even begin?

Since like Apple and Android, Microsoft's app market can be reached from a desktop and the desktop and mobile versions of the market are similar enough, I'll start there. Once Iv'e downloaded an application, whether it be from the WP store or W8 store, Microsoft seems to think that I want that application for the rest of eternity. NOT TRUE! Maybe I accidentally clicked the wrong app and wasn't paying attention. Or perhaps I mistook the application for doing something that I wanted but it actually doesn't have that functionality. It shouldn't matter. Once I uninstall the application, give me an option to clear it from the records.

It's annoying similar to Android's play store not letting delete old devices. I'm not sure if this is this trend that persists because of technology companies wanting to collect massive amounts of data about its users or it's just plain and simple crappy design, but it needs to stop. Heck, if these companies want to know more about me, wouldn't it be better to let me delete stuff so that you can get a more accurate picture of me as a person? Seems that way to me...

Then there is the pink elephant in the room....the apps. I have to give Microsoft a break somewhat since they were so late to the game. Yes, I know they had windows mobile long before the iPhone or Android. That is obviously no longer valid since Microsoft has gone through the redesign of W8 and WP. Here's the point: Microsoft was late to the game; they deserve somewhat of a break; it is not okay for them to be as far behind as they currently are. "Metro" apps aren't miles behind other apps in about every aspect just because WP is newer. They are behind because of a slew of reasons. If you've used ANY windows 8 metro app, you know that they are far, far behind in every way when it comes to settings and the like. Navigating them is a nightmare. Usability is quite questionable. And this is one of the many reasons why they lack in app quality and quantity. It's funny how similar they are to the early days of Android. Since cupcake(1.5) on android, I could do almost anything possible on a device. Often times though, It was done by some 3rd party group or an awesome nerd app developer. This is true for Microsoft right now. One day they may get to where the big names all develop for their platform. But that day isn't now. They have other problems to fix first...

Sure the metro interface is really pretty. I LOVE the way the metro was implemented on the last generation of the Zune players, especially for music (dat special font! where some of the word is off screen...ingenious and B-E-A-utiful). But when it comes time for productivity, they are trash. I think Microsoft COULD refine the design language for metro style apps to allow them to compete with the likes of Android and iPhone. But at this point they don't have the guidelines down well enough to allow the apps to be intuitive or powerful.

I know they have been getting a hard time from the likes of Google and Facebook for basic apps like YouTube and Instagram. Hopefully future growth forces those companies to change that.

This got away from the markets a little bit...I rope it back in for yall. Everything I just complained about, pertains to metro apps in general...since the windows app stores are designed in metro...they are guilty of these crimes as well.

*Side note* Anyone else sad that Microsoft lost the rights to the "metro" title? Everyone still calls it that and "modern" UI is stupid. What happens years from now when the whole playing field of the tech world is different? What happens when the "modern" UI is outdated. Silly Microsoft. That's as bad as Apple calling the 3rd generation iPad the "new iPad" or the 6th iPhone the iPhone 5. Drives me crazy how bad companies are with naming products....side rant over. Back to business.

Microsoft's app store itself is just underdeveloped. The navigation of categories and discoverability of apps in their store is nothing to write home about. In fact, it's more like a embarrassing secret that you keep to yourself for the rest of your life. Why can't I search for apps based on the publisher of those apps? That's one of the first things I do when i find a good app on the play store or Apple app store! The ability to filter through the crap (when a new platform starts up...there is always a lot of it) needs to be stepped up.

I will admit that I don't have much experience with the interconnectedness of WP and W8 with Xbox live. But I can't say that it looks too well put together. Why are some games Xbox live games and some aren't. Microsoft already had the infrastructure to tie in Xbox live with the app store yet it dropped the ball. If everything is tied to a single account (like Google has or Apple has), why not make all the game on their Xbox live games. I'm not saying force the developers to put in achievements or anything. Just that it seems silly to have two different store fronts for the same thing. (remember Gamestop and EB grames before EB was finally all transferred over?)

Here is how it boils down: Ever heard "If you build it, they will come"? That's not entirely correct. A more accurate depiction for starting software platforms is: "if you build it well, they will come". A platform's apps, is not as chicken and egg as everything thinks. If the metro app stores (and metro as a whole) were built with better productivity, ease of use, and customization in mind, more people would develop for them and their apps would be better quality.

The ball is in Microsoft's court now. Developers have given it a decent shot with what they have been given and Nokia is carrying the mobile platform on its back. Metro needs to be refined, W8 needs to be more production oriented, and WP needs what it can handle increased so that the platform's apps have room to grow. (they shipped the platform without microSD support, just to point out an example)

What can I say that is positive about Microsoft's app store? I guess the mobile version is better than the desktop version at least...and on the desktop version you don't HAVE to (who actually does?) use the metro apps.

TL;DR: Microsoft's app store lack in the quality/quantity of apps. This is something that would normally get resolve itself over time. Metro's lack in usability, productivity, and intuitiveness as well as the app stores abysmal discoverability and terrible navigation are stagnating the development that would fix this problem. Microsoft must refine before things will really get better.

Pros and Cons of Blackberry's:

Let me preface this section by saying: the last time I was in Blackberry's app world was on BB7 and I've basically only played around with a Z10 and a Q10 for a short time.

Personally I dont think BB10 lived up to expectation. I see one of the main goal of a mobile OS as the ability to get somewhere (somewhere as in "in an app" or "too a setting") as quickly and with the least actions (presses, swipes, etc.) as possible. This is where BB10 fails me. It's better then BB7 and better than some other OSs, but not great enough to compete with how far mobile OSs have come now a days. There seems to be quite a few good ideas and plenty of potential but the implementation fell flat of the possibilities.

So this is fault numero uno. See my statement above about a field of dreams. If you want good apps, you need an attractive platform. If you're looking for an attractive platform....I wouldn't recommend looking at Blackberry in its current state.

On that same note about apps. Ill just leave this here...

Again, not too much familiarity with BB's app world but even when I was on BB7s (this was only a few months ago) app world it seemed flooded with those crap apps and there seemed to be a pretty clear message from RIM saying "good lucking sorting through all this crap sucker!"

App navigation and discoverability are as bad if not worse than Microsoft's implementation. You would think that when Blackberry and Microsoft are deciding how to set up these stores, they would play around with the competitions version to figure out what works and what doesn't!

What happened to that promise from RIM about delivering the top 200 quality apps in each region? Guess that fell through the cracks aswell...

TL;DR: Blackberry's app world is far behind in terms of numbers and quality or apps. If they were in a race, Android and iPhone are farther than the eye can see and even Microsoft is off in the distance relative to Blackberry's app market. Sorting through the clutter is basically next to impossible.

Well now, if you read that whole essay I congratulate you on your patients and persistence! What do you guys think about the different markets? Anything you guys love or hate about them specifically? Let me know!