Is Google changing the Play Store interface for JellyBean?

June 25, 2012
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The app store wasn’t Google’s focus until 2011 or so. In the beginning they were focused more on how to get more manufacturers to release more phones with Android, the core features, and overall performance of Android. But not focusing on the app store led to a poor browsing experience, for both users and developers, because their apps were harder to discover.

Google have tried their hand at a few different iterations of the mobile market app, and it looks like they will try again with the release of JellyBean at I/O. Personally, I’ve never been much of a fan of the latest 3.xx iteration of the market, for 2 main reasons.

It’s been made “graphics heavy” which meant it needs more processing power to load it fast, and things were worse before ICS, because the CPU had to render those images instead of the GPU. In ICS, the situation got a little better thanks to hardware acceleration, but I still don’t understand why it needs to even burden the GPU so much with the home page of the app store. Low-end phones could barely handle it. Plus, if you were using it on 3G, it was eating more data, because of the image-heavy interface.

Second, I thought it made the interface really cluttered. All the complex designs for each app logo and being so many of them next to each other make it kind of hard to look at them. Some even wasted space by doubling the same image and putting it upside down, supposedly because if it’s bigger it means it attracts more attention. But again, it made things look even more cluttered.

If this leak is real (and not just a mock-up), the new interface seems to get rid of all of that, and it goes back to how Android’s market used to look like before the latest 3.xx version. There’s little to find out from this image alone about all the store’s changes, but it seems that they’ve made it easier to access Movies, Music, Apps, or Books at the bottom of the screen.

There was one thing that I liked about the 3.xx interface, though, and that’s the ability to swipe between pages of Top Paid, Top Free, and so on. I found that quite nice, so I hope they are keeping it, unless they found a better way to discover new and top apps.

What do you think of this possible new iteration of Google Play? Drop us a note in the comments below!

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