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Google tweaking Android Market

To help developers better promote their software, Google is updating Android Market to include screenshots and longer descriptions of each app.

Google's Android Market is undergoing renovation.

The Android app store will soon launch several new updates in its upcoming 1.6 version, according to an Android Developers blog post from Google's Eric Chu on Thursday.

Developers will be able to provide screenshots, icons, and descriptions to better promote and highlight their applications.

Four new app subcategories--sports, health, themes, and comics--are being added, Chu said. Developers can target any of those subcategories for both new and existing applications.

For reasons Chu did not explain, Android app developers in Italy are getting some special attention. Italian developers will be able to call up the publisher's site to upload their applications and specifically target any country where paid apps are currently available to customers.

In a video accompanying Chu's blog, the updated interface--as rumored--also reveals new buttons for Top Paid, Top Free, and Just In, as well as a search button in the upper right corner of the screen.

Google unveiled Android Market a year ago as the Android equivalent to Apple's iTunes Store. Since its debut, Google has tried to attract developers to publish their apps to the store. Initially, only free apps were available. But in January, Google opened the market to paid software in an effort to lure more developers.

Google has offered other carrot sticks to attract developers, such as its annual Android Developer Challenge, which offers prizes to programmers with the best apps.

However, a recent survey from AdMob found that less than half of Android phone owners have purchased an application, citing the lack of hot apps and limited payment options.