doesn't received a good feedback when it launched its
Marketplace for Windows Mobile Windows phones
two weeks ago because at the moment, Microsoft is providing localized
versions of the Market Place only. This means that an US American customer will
get US-related English software only while a German will get Germany-related
German software only as well. As a matter of fact, developers have to localize
their software offer, otherwise Microsoft won't approve it for the Windows
Marketplace. While - on the first sight - it seemed to be a bad decision, it
seems that Microsoft is closer to the mass-market than power-users thought about
Sure, I still think that power-users should have the choice to switch to
other Windows Marketplaces as well (and this feature is coming
as Microsoft confirmed us) but it seems that some users are overstrained
with unified app stores! Last week, O2 Germany and Telefónica Móviles España
launched the Palm Pre in Germany and Spain. And like all other mobile OS, also
Palm's webOS features an app store Palm calls the App Catalog. To make the Palm
Pre even more attractive for European users, both - O2 and Telefónica worked
closely with local content providers to make sure localized apps will be
available for the Palm Pre launch.
So far so good and I - as a German - was quite happy to find some German apps
in Palm's App Catalog. The more astonished I was when I read through the reviews
of the German (as well as Spanish) apps: A good amount of the comments was about
the language where American users complained that the App Catalog now lists
applications in languages they don't understand. And indeed, it's hard to figure
out - straight from a search - which language or region the application is for.
Not only for Americans which don't speak German or Spanish but also for Germans
or Spanish which don't speak English. Sure, some of these apps even come with
multi-language UIs which depends on the device language but even than, the
content might be pretty regional focused.
Sure it's not a problem of Palm's App Catalog only but also Google's Android
Market mixes all kind of languages; however interesting enough I've never seen
this kind of complains there.
At the end of the day - even if I, as a power-user, am still not a friend of
regional limited app stores - it seems to make sense for the average smartphone
user to have this kind of localization. Not everybody is a power-user, not
everybody speaks foreign languages and even if you do, you might not be
interested in foreign services at all because they are simply useless where you
live. On the other hand, app stores should definitely offer a way for
power-users to get access to the full set of available applications. However,
the how is definitely a tightrope walk between usability and easiness of use.
Cheers ~ Arne