Handsets running Android 1.6 and above will soon be seeing a redesigned Market.
Though we've heard rumblings of a revised Android Market for a few weeks, it wasn't until this weekend that we got to see exactly what the changes entailed. A posting from the official Android developers blog provides details and a pair of images that show a completely overhauled market application.
Upon opening the application, users will notice a new app carousel promoting games and applications. And as they browse, they'll find new categories over the coming weeks, starting with Widgets and Live Wallpapers. Applications that fit either category will drop in automatically.
Deeper down, the app detail pages include a related content tab--an option a select group of users already see--and users will no longer have to browse across multiple pages to read about an app and the system requirements needed. Instead, everything will be on one page and will include content ratings based on predetermined criteria. Developers, on the other hand, will be able to upload apps and games up to 50MB in size, leading to richer game experiences.
If any of the changes are to be considered controversial, it has to be the return period. For more than two years, users have been able to return a game or app for a full refund as long as it was done in the first 24 hours. Once the new Market takes effect, however, users will have only 15 minutes to return an application. We're not crazy about that, but as Google points out, most users request a refund within minutes of downloading.
This new Android Market is expected to hit devices running 1.6 or higher before the year ends.