March 31, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka
Earlier this month, I posed this question: should Android developers form their own app store as an alternative to the Android Market? It turns out they already did with SlideME.org, though not to address my original point of targeting dev phone owners.
Still, SlideME has emerged as an intriguing second option for distributing Android applications. Though its offerings are far too few to match the Market, it has worthwhile features and the potential to give more options to developers and customers looking to sell/buy apps.
One of SlideME’s most obvious benefits is that developers can sell to Android customers throughout the world. Many non-U.S. and U.K. Android users still do not have access to paid apps, so SlideME could be a temporary solution. The number of SlideME apps is dwarfed by the Android Market; however, paid apps like Greed Full, tetherWiFi, Ring Control, and Wallr are available.
SlideME’s downloadable application manager (SAM) can show app screenshots on an Android phone. It is also developing a desktop client called SlideVille that will, among many other things, let users:
- Browse apps by category
- View app screenshots and video demos
- Preview applications
- Donate to developers
- Recommend apps to others
- Mark apps or certain developers as favs
SlideME appears to be using a roadmap similar to what many wish the Android Market would embrace.
When I first suggested creating a second Android app service, it was mainly to address the opportunity for someone to reach disenfranchised dev phone owners. SlideME isn’t currently the solution for that, but I’m still intrigued by other facets of the service. It will be interesting to see if it is embraced and fills in the gaps left by the Android Market. If the world can support several different stock markets, there should be enough room for more than one app center.
UPDATE: I want to also mention SlideME’s forward-locking feature, SlideLock, which helps protect apps from piracy. SlideLock requires that an IMEI (ID unique to each phone) be approved by its server before an app using this security can run. This prevents users from downloading an app and then sending it to friends to install. I spoke with a SlideME developer and he says they are working on letting users change their ID in the event that they lose or switch Android phones. We’ll be sure to look out for SlideME and SlideLock’s development over time.