We popped into Android Market, the app store for the Google Android mobile operating system, to see how it's going with last week's launch of paid apps.

It looks like there are just nine paid apps in there now, most of them games. But when we spoke to a group of app developers, they told us Android was a pleasure to develop for, so there's bound to be more soon -- although these guys were wrangled for us by T-Mobile, which may or may not have been holding their pets hostage in exchange for such glowing reviews.

In a live demo, we watched app developer Konrad Hübner, who won a prize from Google for Cab4Me, write a little application that displayed nearby T-Mobile hotspots on a map. It looked quick and elegant to write in Java, and showed off how Android gives third-party apps full access to the handset's functionality, such as maps. And because of Android Market's lack of filters, it could have been launched to the world within a couple of hours.

The question is whether the lack of strict quality controls like Apple's App Store will help or harm the Android Market. Some say it will become swamped with useless crap, while others argue that because there are no restrictions on what gets published, good ideas will surface that might otherwise have been quashed for encroaching on Google's turf. Besides, there's a five-star rating system to help filter your choices.

Click through the next few pages for hands-on pics with the Android Market.

The Android Market gave us lots of warnings when we installed an app -- which is a good idea since it's not as strict as some other app stores about what's available for download.
The structure of the Android app package makes localisation easier, which is handy for apps such as this Europe-wide cab finder.

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