Google Play Store Set to Hit China in 2016

It has been reported that Google is working tirelessly to re-establish its products in China, with the Google Play Store set to spearhead the effort by as soon as February 2016.

It has been a number of years since the internet giant has had a presence in China, since issues over censorship caused them to pull out of the nation. This has done little to hinder Androids great popularity in China thanks to companies like Xiaomi and Huawei repeatedly delivering high-quality and affordable devices that have even gained popularity in the West. Despite this, domestic Chinese Android devices continually ship without many of the Google apps that most would consider a staple on modern Android devices such as Gmail, Chrome and Maps. Instead, other companies have picked up the slack left by Google’s departure, with smartphone developers delivering their own custom Android versions built upon the Android Open Source Project and the search and app distribution platforms covered by Chinese startups such as Baidu and Wandoujia.

In order to now comply with the requirements of the Chinese government, the Chinese version of the Google Play Store will be “set up specifically for China, and not connected to overseas versions of Google Play” according to reports. This will allow for the implementation of content filtering and storage rules that are in place. Furthermore, implementation for Chinese payment platforms like Alipay and WeChat Payment will be replacing Google’s own payment systems which currently does not exist in China. All of this is in an effort to reach out to the currently untapped Chinese market, a location at which Apple are currently turning profits of over $58 billion, all the while complying with the relevant regulations, perhaps in part to their lack of opposition.

From here on, it will be a fight for Google to make their decision to reach back into China a worthwhile one, where their presence is nothing compared to their ubiquity in the West. Will we see Google once again pull out of China, or continue to become a greater worldwide presence? Only time will tell.

Google Has Lowered Minimum App Prices in Several Countries

After running a series of tests in India earlier this year, Google has decided to officially lower the minimum prices of apps in the Play Store in a total of 17 countries. Up until now, the lowest price for any app was 99 cents regardless of location, but Google realized that this might still be a bit too much in some parts of the world. For example, Poland’s minimum app cost was lowered to 45 cents, but other countries have seen even more drastic changes, including India where the cheapest app will now cost 10 Rupees or just 15 cents.

Those of you who develop apps and are willing sell at lower prices can head over to “Pricing & Distribution” or “In-app Products” in the Google Play Developer Console in order to adjust your pricing scheme. It’s refreshing to see a large company such as Google acknowledge the vast economic differences between the world’s different countries, and this decision to lower app prices will definitely make numerous foreign users quite happy. Below you will find a list including the 17 countries as well as the exact app pricing changes.

  • Brazil: R$ 0.99 (US$0.26) — was R$2.00
  • Chile: CLP $200.00 (US$0.28) — was CLP $500.00
  • Colombia: COP$ 800.00 (US$0.26) — was COP$ 2000.00
  • Hungary: Ft 125.00 (US$0.43) — was Ft 225.00
  • Indonesia: Rp 3,000.00 (US$0.22) — was Rp 12,000.00
  • Malaysia: RM 1.00 (US$0.23) — was RM 3.50
  • Mexico: MXN$ 5.00 (US$0.30) — was MXN$ 9.90
  • Peru: S/. 0.99 (US$0.30) — was S/. 3.00
  • Philippines: ₱15.00 (US$0.32) — was ₱43.00
  • Poland: zł1.79 (US$0.45) — was zł2.99
  • Russia: руб 15.00 (US$0.23) — was руб 30.00
  • Saudi Arabia:﷼ 0.99 (US$0.26) — was 4.00﷼
  • South Africa: R3.99 (US$0.28) — was R10.00
  • Thailand: ฿10.00 (US$0.28) — was ฿32.00
  • Turkey: ₺0.59 (US$0.21) — was ₺2.00
  • Ukraine: ₴5.00 (US$0.21) — was ₴8.00
  • Vietnam: ₫6,000 (US$0.27) — was ₫21,000.00

The Play Store Update Brings 600 New Apps to Android TV

Since the launch of the Android TV, app support and app discovery has been a serious problem for the platform. It had less than 200 apps to offer between the video, audio, and game sections. Now, however, Google is expanding its software catalogue, adding over 600 new apps via a Play Store update today for Android TV devices, including the Nexus Player. These are the only Android TV apps available,  the rest had to be manually searched.

These new 600+ apps are categorised into 20 new sections that simplify the task of finding specific types of apps like movies, sports, news, multiplayer games and more and improves the app discovery. The update should be showing up on compatible devices now, and you’ll see the new content in the store navigation area of your device. Along with the Top App list, the standard apps are divided into Messaging, Photography, Media, and Tools & Utilities.

This updated Play Store version 5.5.15 should reach all the compatible platform soon if it has not reached you yet, you can sideload the same signed APK in no time. You can grab the APK from here and install it by uploading the APK to any supported cloud storage service like Google Drive and using the cloud storage function of ES File Explorer to load the app.

As Google does not release update notes for Play Store in a user-accessible way, under-the-hood changes are not known at the moment.

Google Engineer: Android Users Do Not Need Anti-Virus Software

Is antivirus needed on mobile devices? It is a question that will get you conflicting answers depending on who you ask. Adrian Ludwig, who is the chief engineer for Android security at Google, has stated that antivirus serves no purpose for Android mobile users:

“I think … paying for a product that you will probably never actually receive protection from is not a rational reduction of risk – but people buy things for lots of reasons.”

Furthermore he claims the bulk of the security is done at Google’s end by scanning and verifying apps before they are allowed to hit the Google App Store. As a result he claims Android is one of the safest platforms out there and risks are overstated:

“And in practice most people will never see a potentially harmful application from our data … [in fact] most people won’t even know someone who has ever installed a potentially harmful application. So … I believe it is an overstated risk.”

Check out more details from the interesting interview at the source link. What do you think? Do you use antivirus for Android?

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Image courtesy of eTeknix

EA Steering User Ratings In Their Favour With Dungeon Keeper for Android

Two years award-winning “Worst Company in America”, Electronic Arts, is now said to be ‘steering away’ players who don’t want to give a good review by posting them on their own website instead of Google Play Store.

The scheme is said to be present on their freemium game, Dungeon Keeper, on android devices. They application is said to prompt the user with usual Rate This App message present in every application, giving users the possibility to rate it either 5 stars or between 1 to 4 stars.

If the user is willing to give the app 5 stars, the app will take the user to the Google Play Store, as every application does when the user chooses to rate the application. But if the user wants to rate it lower than 5 stars, the app will pop an e-mail from where the user can send the feedback only to EA instead of voicing the opinion on the Google Play Store.

Of course, if you want to leave a comment on the Google Play Store, you can manually visit it and leave your thoughts there. But in a world where reviews count to an app’s success, EA is certainly making all odds in its favour.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of The Verge