Android Market changes cause headaches for users

A trio of changes to the Android Market have again brought the issue of platform fragmentation to the fore and left some users with a sour taste in their mouth.

Android and Me has reported that many users who downloaded a number of EA Mobile and Gameloft games found themselves stuck with useless purchases, thanks to an unfortunate combination of platform fragmentation and Android Market rules.

As Neowin reported earlier this month, the Android Market app received a facelift along with a few under-the-hood tweaks, key among them a change to the market's refund policy which meant users had just 15 minutes, rather than 24 hours, to get their money back for an unwanted or incompatible app. The maximum app size allowed on the Market was also doubled to 50MB and developers were given the ability to target Android devices based on screen sizes and densities.

What developers remained unable to do is target individual handset models, which is where last week's trouble began. Many users who downloaded a number of games including Need for Speed: Shift, The Sims 3, Tetris and Fifa 10 were only informed their devices were incompatible with the apps after downloading.

To make matters worse, EA Games and Gameloft are among a number of developers who, unable to fit their games within Google's 50MB limit, have devised systems that download the remainder of a game's content - often hundreds of megabytes in size - after the initial purchase is completed.

Users were frustrated to discover that the second ''extra'' download often took more than 15 minutes, putting them outside the Android Market's 15-minute refund window. Whether or not the app will work at all can only be determined after both the Android Market and the ''extra'' download have finished. It remains to be seen if Google will eventually provide developers with a way to ensure users cannot even begin to download an app which is incompatible with their handset.

Image Credit: Android and Me

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