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Motorola boss blames Android Market's openness for poor app quality

The open nature of the Android Market is adversely affecting the overall quality of apps and causing users to return large numbers of Motorola devices, according to the company's big cheese.

The open nature of the Android Market is adversely affecting the overall quality of apps and causing users to return large numbers of Motorola devices, according to the company's chief executive, Sanjay Jha.

With anyone able to upload applications to the Android app store, and Google only checking to ensure no malicious code makes it through, there's a huge potential for badly written, inefficient software to make it onto Android mobiles and tablets.

"For power consumption and CPU use, those apps are not tested. We're beginning to understand the impact that has," Jha said in a webcast presentation at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch global technology conference yesterday.

He claimed that 70 per cent of all the Motorola Android devices that are returned by users are sent back because of poor application performance. Presumably owners freak out when an app crashes and their device resets, or they have to charge their device ten times a day.

Jha suggested that, in future, the Motoblur interface could be used to warn users when it detects that an application will consume a large amount of power or otherwise be detrimental to system performance. Motoblur already collects data about how customers' use of apps affects devices.

Android purists hoping that Motoblur would disappear could well be left disappointed. Jha's comments suggest Motorola will continue to develop its tack-on interface as much for the sake of performance diagnostics as for tweaking the standard Android interface.

We agree that open platforms, for all their advantages, do tend to allow plenty of dross in. That said, while closed systems like Apple's App Store may ensure improved app performance, that's not always a guarantee of actual quality -- iFart anyone?

Nvidia's top dog has already bemoaned a lack of software richness on Android. There's no shortage of demand for apps among users but, with so many developers clamouring to get their apps noticed, finding high-quality software is a challenge.