Google Play

Does Google Play cover all your wants and needs in the app department, or are you left wanting? Tell us in this week's poll

Kevin, Phil and the gang have been talking apps and app stores all week in Talk Mobile. They're sharing some pretty deep insight into the way apps, and the buying and selling of them, and most important of all -- availability.

Talk Mobile is a great way to see and discuss the general mobile atmosphere, but let's drill down a bit and focus on Android for this one. Google Play has over 700,000 apps. A lot of those apps are live wallpapers, themes, icon packs, and widgets. Those are all important, and we're not discounting them at all, but they're not exactly what we think of when we talk about apps. But even then, chances are Google Play has a whole lot of stand alone programs that will run on our phones and tablets, and our choices are pretty good. But can it ever be good enough?

Have you ever wanted an app to do something and couldn't find a solution in Google Play? Or maybe an app you really want is exclusive on another platform. Here's you chance to be heard. In the sidebar to the right, as well as after the break, you'll find a poll where you can tell everyone if you've been able to score everything you want on Android. Be honest, and be sure to participate.

For the record, I had to vote no. I want an accessory and accompanying app to plug my guitar into the Nexus 10 and use it as an amp. I know why this isn't easy to do, but I still want it badly. Maybe one day.


 

Reader comments

This week's sidebar poll: Does Google Play have all the apps you want?

119 Comments

I wish we could get the bbc iplayer app in the US, all we get is BBC radio and news in the Play store

It costs us £140 a year for the 'privilege' of having access to the BBC. Believe me, you're better off without it.

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I wish that Google would do a better job of rolling out to more countries for Play. I'm really not sure what stops them from being able to do so.

I live in China, but I've managed to convince Google Play to let me buy apps with my US credit card, but search still only shows free apps. I don't really expect Play to become fully available in China (the regulatory nightmares are incredible), but they should be able to make this happen in most of the world. Amazon has done it. Apple has done it. Come on, Google. This is embarrassing.

My problem is that iOS gets a better ui for apps or something exrra; for example facebooks messenger can make calls while android still can't 5 months later.... Wtf? Or they get game with some extra grubs that android won't.. It'd BS.

There needs to be a way to transfer apps between android and ios and MS, if you buy one on one platform it should be transferable to the other so you dont get stuck paying double, like through email and/or license key. I know people who use android phones and ipads

No, because they won't fix the damn audio latency! But that's the only thing I find lacking. I have no problem with most of the Google Play selection.

I want an app/computer program that can use google's awesome continuous speak-to-text feature on my desktop. Simply tap the mic icon on my phone, speak, and watch the words appear on my computer wherever the cursor is.

You can do this with Drive....open the same doc in Drive both on your phone and on your computer...presto!

+1 - Google allows ad blockers on Chrome for PC - but not for Android devices now - still using adaway from XDA

They're like pirating apps - would be pretty bad for the relationship between Google and the developers if they would tolerate them and also for the users becauee they destroy a revenue stream for many devs.

I have really wanted a Chipotle app for a while now... I keep wondering why they haven't released one.

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CHIPOTLE!!! It's one of the most glaring things missing from Android versus iOS. My brother waves his iPhone in my face every time we want to order food, and two years ago when I contacted Chipotle to ask, the response I got back was the token "We're working on it."

I wish Apple didn't have so many insecurities. That way they could develop Facetime for Android and I could text all the people with iPhones that refuse to pay $10 for unlimited texts...
Yes the PlayStore has every app I want, except I would honestly like facetime just to deal with the people I mentioned above and my grandma who has an iPad

Have them install Kakao talk. It's pretty much the defining app here in Korea. Everyobdy has it. you either, call, text message, or Kakao...if you say text many times they just assume it's kakao you are talking about. Anyway, it's an amazing app and it's probably what Google Hangouts is hoping to become someday. The whole country uses it, no reason why teh whole world shouldn't. I've gotten many of my stateside friends into it.

I am a race director and timer. iOS has several (Webscorer, RaceSplitter, Splitcaster, Pocket Timer Pro) great solutions while Android has 1 (bib logger) that really can't even be considered. I purchased 6 iOS devices in the past year for race timing reasons even though Android is my mobile OS of choice.

Every app I've ever cared about since moving from the iPhone years ago I've long replaced. And most "exclusives" from iPhone that are good enough eventually make their way to Android (Vine, Instagram, Temple Run 2, Snapseed, etc).

What I'd REALLY like is better executed apps. Better coded apps. Better LOOKING apps. Smooth. Lag free. Beautiful. There are a bunch right now but improve the overall quality of apps, and not just the quantity, and I'm a happy camper.

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Hey I really like the Google Play store but it's human nature to want more.

There are some apps that fit the bill perfectly
Some apps that just don't do it (word processors, email, photo editors)

Photo/Image editor. I want something like the GIMP. PS Touch is good but doesn't cut it. /

Video editor

Missing apps
ePub book creator
Story board app (tools used for writers not drawings)

100% agree with this post. Video editing and writing/creative content creation apps are so lacking on Android, compared with iOS.

Would like an app that is like Battery Defender but takes up less RAM. I also would like an app that uninstalls apps without me doing for each single app.

Posted via Droid RAZR M on the Android Central App

Depending on your phone, I recommend battery guru by qualcomm. It has been extremely useful and forms around your habits and power consumption for your phone

Posted via my Galaxy Note 3 using the Android Central App

Damn! I need to change my vote from yes to no. Some of the utility apps I want aren't available. There are apps that come close to what I want, while not giving me everything I want.

It's not that the apps I want aren't there, it's just the quality of the apps is lacking. If you look at something like the speedtest.net app for iOS, the app has much better transitions and animations and just a better look than its Android counterpart. Sadly this is the case with a lot of apps and I would hope to see this change in the future.

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Hell, the Windows Phone marketplace had all the apps I wanted. Google Play definitely does.

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No. The Play Store needs:

1. Professional editing apps (Photoshop, Ableton, Final Cut Pro, ...)

2. Programming apps (Eclipse, Android Studio, ...)

If you need a computer for professional content creation, you can't use Android yet (or any mobile device really). That applies to programmers, graphics designers & photographers, video editors, and electronic music artists alike.

Google Play has all of the apps I need/want but I wish there were more paid options so I could get rid of all of the ads. I guess being a longtime iOS users, I don't mind supporting the developers, and actually paying for apps. I guess that's a foreign idea for Android.

I voted no just because I know there are a few games on iOS I wouldn't mind having (even if I don't game much). That being said, I can't think of any non-game apps that I miss. Anything iOS has, Android has (or an equivalent) and in many cases, the apps are more functional thanks to Android's openness or Intents system.

Maybe the app I want exists and I just haven't found it. Just like google now, I want a voice activated music player app. I want to open it by saying "play music" or change the song by saying "play next song", for example. All this without touching my tablet lol one could dream =D

I voted no

I think a major issue is that the recommendations on the Play store are so terrible that finding the right apps is more about searching?

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Absolutely not! I hate Google's current business model which restricts content by region. The Latin America and Caribbean play store content sucks ass. If Google was more like Amazon and Apple where content isn't restricted then it could seriously help address the issue of app pirating. Also devs are seriously limited as to how much they can make. Seriously, if I were a dev I would petition this like crazy. So many untapped markets with people who are willing to buy apps.

Yeah, but it's "easier" to blame Google not your Country for limiting you app options, that is of course ignoring the fact that Apple has the same issues, just the drones choose to ignore it

Lol, you think it's Google's fault? Yeah, they would totally restrict their money flow on purpose… smh

There's lots of education related apps that haven't made it over. And amazon has a stranglehold on Reading Rainbow.

UNLOCKING APP

The app I'd like to see the most is a better password app. What I'd like to see I got from somewhere (maybe Blackberry).

Some may not care if their pictures and tweets get accessed if their phones are stolen, but others who keep more important information do. The biggest reason people don't use passwords to get into their phones (or use short weaker ones)is because of the hassle of entering a long password every time the screen locks.

What we need is a locking app that allows us to assign two passwords, a very short insecure one and a longer more complicated one. If the short one is entered exactly right in the first two tries (with no more than, say, 30 seconds between tries), the phone is unlocked. But if one digit is off or if more than 30 seconds elapses after the first try, the phone can only be unlocked with the more complex password.

So if I make the short password something easy like "153" I can easily unlock it multiple times a day. Boom-boom-boom and I'm in. Someone else who "finds" my phone and doesn't know the short password will blow the two tries quickly and need to break the more complex password if they want to get in. And because I don't often need to use it, I'm free to have used a pretty complex long password with letters and numbers and characters.

BACKUP APP

The app I'd like to see second most is a better backup app. I'd like to be able to tag files or folders and have an easy way for them to backup (preferably over WiFi) to my PC periodically. Some may prefer the cloud.

The paid version of Titanium backup allowed you to sync your backups to Dropbox a year or more ago, haven't used it much lately, should have added some more options by now

ENCRYPTION APP

The last app I'd like to see is an encryption app. I actually had what I'm about to describe for my Palm many years (decades?) ago.

With the Palm app (which I can no longer find even mentioned on the Internet and I can't remember the program name), I could type a block of text in an email or note, highlight it, press a menu key, and tell it to encrypt. The text turned into gibberish, which would be sent to the other party, who would highlight it and unencrypt it. Both had to have the program, of course. My recollection is that it also worked on the PC, but it was a very small app designed for the Palm. It was written and marketed by a guy in Israel.

Almost none of the apps give a "manual" on how to use them -- not even a "quik start" -- are we supposed to guess?

You got bigger problems if you install an app and have no clue what it dies, let alone how to use it, it's not rocket science, you really don't need to have your hand held while you use an app

I own both Android and iOS devices. (Samsung Galax Note 2, Galaxy Tab 2 7.0,
iPad 2, iPod Touch, iPhone 4)

Each side has good and bad apps. (or apps not found in the other app store)

However, my biggest complaint is about the Google Play Store.
There are thousands of totally useless apps in the Play Store.

There's even one that opens a particular website. Seriously, that's all it does.
It's less useful than the bookmark in the stock Android browser.

Amazon prime video on demand

Watch Disney junior
Doc mcstuffins checkup
Disney junior appisodes
Minnie mouse bowmaker
...and many other Disney apps that only exist on iOS that a 2 year old would like

Lift

IBM BPM 8

A multi-project time lapse app that allows you to capture several different subjects over long periods of time.

Tass times in tone town

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When I was ready to leave iOS for android the one thing that kept me was the infinity blade series. Now that I've switched, I miss it more than I even thought I would. I do not however miss iOS

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I've wanted a decent pinochle card game app, but the only one in the Play Store is awful. I tried to get the dev of the iOS app to port it to Android but so far no go.

>"Does Google Play have all the apps you want?"

I wouldn't know because the searching and filtering in play SUCKS. Here we have the greatest search company on earth and I can't do something simple like search or filter by things like:

* Size
* Last update
* Release date
* Price
* Non portrait-only
* Rating
* Name only
* Description only
* Permissions
* Category
* Number of reviews
* Number of installs

And more. For example- show me all apps that are free or no more than 99 cents that have been released in the last nine months that rate at least 3 stars that have the word "ssh" in the description, sorted by last update.

You [Google] have a wealth of information and you prevent us from using it to find what we want because there is so much noise.

Oh, and since I am on a rant- why not tell us if an app has advertising (adware), has in-app purchasing (extortionware), has another version with upgraded features (cripleware), or none of that (freeware) or even is open source (openware)?

Clash of Clans because my friends play. Otherwise it's great!

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Not every app. For all apps I need, Play has them all and then some. But, they are really lacking in kids apps when compared to Apple store. Especially Disney. So, my son usually wants my ipad and not my phone. It's all good.

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iOS has more of the games I want but Android has more of the Apps I want...and considering I use my phone strictly for Apps I'm fine.
My Android tablet does lack a few of the games I'd want but if I have to choose one, I'd go with Google Play Store any day of the week.

Games in particular are absent quite often. Baldurs gate 2, final fantasy tactics...etc. A lot of great games available for iOS but not Android even months or years after the iOS release.

I think we are unable find an app that full fill our requirements because Google Play search is only see the show the apps that are named or closely named what we search. What I'm trying to say is that Google Play search should look at the app discretion and show give us more helpful results.

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So. For me. I have found everything I need, but that isn't the same for my son. You see, my son has Down Syndrome and with that, we have a number of learning challenges (along with many other challenges) and time and again, I am left helpless against the iPad when it comes to apps that can be used to promote and encourage his education. Oh sure there are education apps on android and the Google play store, but the depth and quality can't equal that of the iPad. Just look at Sesame Workshop. They have more than a dozen quality early learning games on the iPad, but on the android all they have published is Sesame Street Divorce. Wow. Really. An app that helps kids with families going through divorce. I wanted to buy my son a Nexus 7 for this summer break as a tool to help him continue education while out of school... But after hours of research TRYING to make the Nexus 7 a viable device for my son... I gave up. I am going to purchase an iPad this week to give to my son. Oh I still live with android. Three android phones in the family and two android tablets. This will be my first i device. #fail

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This is my problem as well. I have a nonverbal autistic teenager and the best AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) apps run on iOS, but not Android. Some are available for both. but the Android alternatives aren't even remotely as good as their iOS counterparts.

No. Still nothing for inter cell phone connections like the way PC's do to perform super cell phone computing.

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No. Game I miss is creeps. IOS has the lions share of audio apps and hardware. You can use an iPad to control mixers from Mackie, presonus, Roland, etc. I wish I could do that with my Nexus 10.

No, because I miss tablet apps, I miss them bad. Even developers who make decent phone apps they just neglect tablet counterparts sometimes and that's annoying me.

Compared to iOS, there is a lot missing. Lots of apps I miss from my iPhone 4 and I sold that in 2011

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It's missing good music instruments/production/writing apps. Also we need a good office suite, Google drive is great, but still needs work ;)

I honestly think most of the people who voted Yes are lying. There is not a single platform I could vote "yes" for on this question as each platform has at least a couple very good exclusive apps(with the possible exception of Blackberry, I'm not sure as I haven't used BB10). Windows Phone has some excellent apps (particularly Nokia Drive or whatever it is called now, which blows Google Maps Navigation out of the water), iOS has a number of games I would love to be able to get (I play them on my wife's iPad) and I would like iMessage just because many, many people I know have iPhones and use it frequently. Finally, Android has too many great little gems to name that aren't on other platforms.

The poll is technically about apps a person wants. I could be a smartphone user with very basic needs, and be content with having just google drive, whatsapp, evernote, dropbox, candy crush and a few other basic productivity apps.

Seldom have problems with finding phone apps, but tablet apps are still really lacking. The worse are Google TV apps. That selection is horrible. I really wish Play store wouldn't restrict downloads to certain devices. Let me download what is in the store with a warning that the app isn't optimized for my device. Sideloading an app that is available in the store just seems dumb (ie: Amazon VOD for Google TV on my Asus Cube. Store said it wasn't available for my device but it worked fine on a sideload)

The only things missive for me are apps that the developer couldn't be bothered to port. I'm looking at YOU Chair Entertainment....

No, after switching from iOS, I noticed a lot of the apps and games I played were not in the store and I was a little disappointed.

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As others have mentioned there are a few games missing. Whilst I'm not a huge gamer I have to say Street Fighter, where is the love?

Also when will TV launch on the Play Store in the UK? Everything else is there apart from that.

As a designer (and Android user), I've found that a majority of the Apps on Android are REALLY REALLY ugly when comparing to apps available on the Apple App Store. In my experience developers tend to lean more towards Android development while designers tend to lead more towards Apple iOS development.

This leads to really ugly apps with poor UX/UI design on Android.

I don't know why more designers don't want to work with Android developers. It probably has something to do with the ridiculous Google vs Apple patent war going on. It's ridiculous.

A few apps that I would love to see on Android:

Things (syncs with their OSX app)
Calendars +
Billings (syncs with their OSX app)

Off topic, but fits somewhat into what I'm talking about: Why are Google's apps designed for iOS more elegant and clean than the same apps they've built for Android? Why do their iOS apps look better? This could be said to be an opinion of mine, but if you ask any designer, you'd be hard pressed to find one that disagrees with me.

The apps designed for iOS use whitespace very well, they all have simple color palettes. Google's iOS apps all use simple fonts, etc. Google's iOS app icons are all congruous and look like they all belong together.

Conversely, the GAPPS icons are all different and share practically no design cues. It just doesn't make any sense to me.

Kind of. Coming from PalmOS, I still miss some apps for which I can't find good options for Android. Despite looking nicer, they lack functionality.

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