Google Play

Today on Android A to Z we're going to talk about Google Play. If you're new to Android, you see us throw it around a lot when talking about downloading apps, but there's a good bit more to it, and we think there's even more planned. It's much more than a name for Android's official application store, and it's worth having a good long look at it.

Looking at the Google Play store on your phone or on the web, you'll see categories of the different types of media Google has to offer. There are Music, Apps, Books, and Movies -- and one more treat we'll get to in a minute. At each section of the Play store you'll find media for your Android device, sometimes free, sometimes not free. For the things you'll need to pay for there's Google Wallet (the service, not the Android app) and if you're downloading from your Android phone some carriers support direct billing. Shopping is pretty straightforward, you browse the sections by category, and when you find something you want, you simply tap a button and it gets downloaded to your device. As long as the content is available in your region (that's a sore spot Google needs to work out), and you have the correct application (Books and Movies use an Android app you can get free from the Applications section of the Google Play store), things are pretty instant and pretty simple.

One really cool thing we never seem to remember to talk about is downloading apps from the web on your computer directly to your Android device. Using a regular hyperlink to the Google Play store, like this one for Dropbox, you'll find a handy install button you can click to install it to your phone or tablet. If you have more than one Android device, you'll get to choose which on to install it to. Books, Movies and Music work the same way -- once installed from the web they are instantly available on your Android device(s). This type of integration between the web interface and the phone version is pretty awesome, and makes for easy shopping.

There's one more section of the Google Play store. You won't see it from your phone, and it's the latest (and most exciting) section of Google Play. It's the Devices section. Right now you can buy a factory unlocked Galaxy Nexus, as well as a few accessories, direct from Google. The cupboards looks pretty bare now, but we have a feeling it may soon have more to offer, and we'll see phones, tablets, Google TV units and related accessories there for sale.

Google seems pretty dedicated to their new Google Play branding, and so far it's worked well. Android is turning into it's own ecosystem, and as dedicated Android enthusiasts we're excited to see how it all plays out!

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