AppBrain: Android Market Gets Social

App stores get no breaks from user criticism. Once they get thousands of apps, which keeps users happy due to the selection, then everyone complains that good apps are hard to find. The AppBrain web site is the result of such complaints about the Android (s goog) Market, and it’s a must-visit web destination for Android phone owners. AppBrain lists all of the 70,000+ apps in the Android Market in a layout that makes finding good apps much easier.

Finding apps is easy due to the thoughtful categorization of the apps. These categories contain obvious sections like Multimedia, Communications and Entertainment, along with other useful categories such as Hot Apps, Latest Apps and Recommended for You. All apps are listed with a two-line description and a star rating averaged from all members using the app. Members can submit a review of any app, which is nice to see if you’re trying to determine if a given app will do what you need.

AppBrain doesn’t make finding that perfect app its only goal; it also makes it easier to install. Once you find an app that looks good on your desktop web browser, you can click the Install button to send the app to your phone. With the Fast Web Installer app running on your phone, any Android Market app can be installed wirelessly from the desktop. This is extremely useful for those of us in the habit of trying many apps. There’s also an AppBrain app in the Market to improve shopping on the phone, bypassing the Android Market completely.

There’s a social aspect to AppBrain besides the app rating, as each user’s installed apps are automatically listed in the My Apps section, which can then be shared with the community (by selecting that option). This allows you to see what apps Android phone owners you respect have on their phones. If you see an app you’re missing, just tap Install and it’s loaded. It’s pretty amazing to experience first-hand.

Keeping apps updated to the latest version is usually an obsession for smartphone owners. Android is pretty good at giving owners periodic notifications that apps have new versions available, but AppBrain does it better. It constantly polls the Market for new versions, and checks your installed version to see if you’re up-to-date. The result is a real-time list of all apps installed on your phone that have updates available. Simply clicking the Update All button on AppBrain sends all new versions to your phone.

I am an admitted app-oholic, which is evident in my own Android apps list. If you check out AppBrain my user name is jkendrick. Go ahead and friend me so I can check out your apps.

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