By September 16, 2011

Premium Samsung Apps Store for Android quick look

samsung appsNearly every manufacturer with Android smartphones in their stable have their own cultivated application store, or at least their own section of the official App Market. While Samsung’s application store isn’t new (Samsung Apps comes preinstalled on many Galaxy and Wave devices) it now offers paid apps as well as the free ones it used to offer. The UK is one of the first countries to gain access to this new store, with the main attractions being that there’s no pesky sign up process and, in the future, the ability to pay with credit cards or through your phone bill.

So, with Google’s own App Market already dominant offering thousands of apps, is there any reason to use Samsung Apps? Read on for an overview and some first impressions.

 

 

If you’re lucky enough to own a recent Android or Bada running smartphone, you should find the Samsung Apps application already preinstalled on your device. If not, you can download it here. With any luck, you should be presented with an update notification and after a few seconds of downloading and installing, you’ll be away, ready to blow your hard earned cash in “just two clicks”.

After a quick ‘loading’ splashscreen, you’re presented with a pretty simple interface (probably familiar to Android users), with four tabs along the top – Featured, Top, Category, Search. Under Featured, you’ll find a long list of applications that Samsung consider are ‘hot’ or new (that’s pretty self-explanatory). These views are pretty useless for most people – the ‘hot’ apps never really look hot to me, and looking at the New list is a nice way to see all the garbage.

Where it gets more interesting is in the Top tab; you’ll find the familiar options to sort by paid or free applications. The paid section have apps which are quite reasonably priced for a niche app store – typically app stores with a smaller audience (think WP7) have higher prices. Most apps seem to be around a reasonable £1 to £2, except for that ridiculous Collins Dictionary which asks for £18 for something you could use Google free instead. One niggle you can see in the screenshot below is that the paid apps either aren’t sorted properly, or not one paid app has been rated. Don’t let this phase you though; whatever is causing it will be sorted in due time I’m sure.

The category tab, unsurprisingly, lets you browse apps by category which is useful when you’re looking for an app to do a particular job, but don’t know the name of one you want. There 16 different categories to choose from, ranging from entertainment to productivity. Some of them, such as Games, presents you with more categories to narrow your search, and then you can further refine by viewing paid only, free only, or both.

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Is Samsung Apps something you should take time to browse? In short, yes, because it’s actually pretty good. While it is expectedly a bit scarce on app count, we all know it takes time to build a healthy selection of apps. Also, with Google’s new-look App Market, that offers better refining options than Samsung Apps as it features options such as trending applications. Samsung Apps is more like a dumbed-down app store – there’s no sign up process, there’s nowhere where you can check app permissions, and eventually you’ll be able to be billed through your network phone bill, making payment an idiot-proof concept. All apps featured here have been given Samsung’s blessing, so it should be free of malicious software (hence the lack of permissions) and it should all work swimmingly. Unless of course it specifies in the description that it’s only for a certain model, which, annoyingly, happened on many big studio apps such as The Sims 3 (Galaxy S1 only). Another plus for Samsung Apps is the ability to push device specific updates to somewhere where Samsung hopes you’ll see it – there’s a camera upgrade currently available for Galaxy S2 owners.

All in all, Samsung Apps works well and, more importantly, gives users the option to see applications and games that they know will work and do as advertised. While the no-rules mantra of Google’s App Market lets anyone in on the game, it also opens the door to frankly rubbish apps that dilute the quality. Are you missing out if you have an Android from another brand? Certainly not, (nearly all apps here can also be found on the App Market or online somewhere) but if you do have a Samsung Android (or Bada for that matter) it’s definitely worth checking out Samsung Apps, and browsing it in conjunction with the App Market to get the best of both the cultivated farmland of Samsung, and the wilderness of the Market.

 

Post by: Vince

Posted in: Reviews

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