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Android Market update makes choosing apps easier, adds ebooks and movies

This little Android went to market... and found everything had changed. The Android Market has been updated and improved -- and now offers books and movies straight to your phone.

This little Android went to market... and found everything had changed. The Android Market, where phones using Google's Android software get their apps, has been updated and improved -- and now offers books and movies straight to your phone.

The Market has been redesigned to make it easier to find new apps. There are more app rankings and charts listing popular and new apps, alongside staff picks and an Editors' Choice section. You can search through the lists, sorted by paid or free apps, by simply flicking left and right through the Market.

The new look for the Market on your phone borrows the clearer design of the online version. It cuts down on clutter while offering more discovery options, and makes buying apps easier: for example, the Buy button is locked to the top of the screen, instead of disappearing when you scroll down.

Sadly for us limeys and non-Americans everywhere, books and films are only available in the US. Google plans to offer ebooks and movie rentals in "selected countries outside the US" at some point, so fingers crossed they get the deals signed so we can start reading and watching.

Books and films are linked to your Google account, so you can access them on computer, phone, or tablet. We're not that keen on watching films on a tiny phone screen, but each to his own -- and the high-resolution screens on some of the leading tablets are just crying out for some silver-screen action.

Movies start at $1.99, and you get them for a month. You'll need the Videos app, which streams your film to your phone or tablet. Or you can download the movie to watch later when you don't have an Internet connection.

There are over three million ebooks available to buy. Books and films are linked to your Google account so they can be accessed on all your different devices without transferring or syncing. They're streamed and downloaded wirelessly too, so you don't need to plug your phone in to hit the Market.

The new-look Market will work on all phones that have Android 2.2 or higher. The update will pop up automatically in the next few weeks, so keep an eye on your phone.