It has been three months since I released Critters to the Android Market. Since that time, I have come across a number of serious market problems that Google needs to address:
- Inability to respond to user comments and ratings. This month, Critters received its first one star rating. This came as quite a shock as all ratings up to this point were either four or five stars. The user complained about a problem that didn’t really exist. If they would have read the FAQ or sent an e-mail, the problem would have been resolved immediately (this information was supplied as part of the application description). The market does not provide a mechanism for developers to respond to users and their problems. This makes the development community appear disconnected and unresponsive to their users needs. The only way I can try to help is by posting a comment on my own application. This procedure is very kludgey and hardly optimal. Google, simply allow us to respond directly to the user to help them out. This should be simple to implement and protect the user’s privacy if they wish.
- Inability to track phone models of application users. It would be very helpful to track which phones your application is running on. I think this should go beyond just tracking the phone model when the application is downloaded and installed. There should also be a way to see this same information for uninstalls as well.
- Inability to track Android version of application users. This should be handled in the same manner as #2 above.
Starting with Android 2.2, Google has added the ability for users to supply exception information to the developer. The information, while helpful, is still inadequate. You are provided with a stack trace, application version and type of phone, but you do not know on what version of Android the application was running. The ability to contact the user reporting the exception would help with tracking down what caused it (the stack trace may not provide all the information needed).
Hopefully, Google will address these items in the immediate future to provide both users and developers with a better Android Market experience. I am not holding out much hope as I have seen next to no response from Google on the Android Market forums regarding these issues.