January 19, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka
Following up on a previous announcement, Google’s Eric Chu has reiterated that the Android Market soon will do business in more European nations. Chu, who first promised more European support for the Market in late December, sent an e-mail to Android developers announcing that they can begin adding apps targeted for users in five countries.
Developers can now upload apps specifically designated for users in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Netherlands, and Poland. The Market is expected to open within “the coming weeks” according to Chu’s message, which also warns, “apps will not become available in these new countries unless you specifically select them in the publisher website.”
Targeting allows developers to create apps relevant to a particular nation; a German public transit app may not be very useful for the average person in Poland. It will also help prevent the Market from being crowded by geo-specific apps once Google expands the reach of Android-powered phones. (Chu goes on to say that support for additional countries is coming as well).
The one possible drawback to this development could be that a helpful app may go unused by visitors from foreign nations. Will an Austrian tourist in the Netherlands be able to obtain local apps while in Amsterdam? Perhaps GPS Location could skirt the issue, but it isn’t clear if targeted apps will be available to someone whose phone isn’t registered in a specific nation.
Chu’s message is still a welcome announcement. Android is growing and expanding the pool of participants – be they customers or developers – is a good thing. More people involved in the Open Handset Alliance experience should mean that there will be more contributions of ideas and programming knowledge to the platform. Though a developer may create an app that functions primarily in one country, it could also spark enough interest that other developers will create similar apps useful to people in other nations.