Yesterday was a pretty big day for the Google Android mobile platform. For starters Google announced that the very first handsets shipping with Android will have a Beta version of what they call Android Market. This is similar to Apple’s App Store in the sense that developers will be able to share programs from a central location, but Google is stressing the fact that there won’t be someone manually approving downloads:

We chose the term “market” rather than “store” because we feel that developers should have an open and unobstructed environment to make their content available. Similar to YouTube, content can debut in the marketplace after only three simple steps: register as a merchant, upload and describe your content and publish it. We also intend to provide developers with a useful dashboard and analytics to help drive their business and ultimately improve their offerings.

You’re probably wondering how the paid programs are going to work. Google says that when the Android Market first launches at the very least it will be able to handle free apps, but then in the future they’ll add the abilities to upload paid content. They have yet to say anything about what percentage they’ll take from the developers’ revenue.

Here are some screenshots of what the Android Market will look like on the handsets:

(Click to Enlarge)
android market 1.png android market 2.png android market 3.png android market 4.png

Google also announced the winners of the Android Challenge 1 where 10 teams received a prize of $275,000 and another 10 teams received $100,000. Here are the winners:

$275,000 Winners:

  • cab4me – Ever been looking for a cab? cab4me is the answer. Anywhere. Anytime.
  • CompareEverywhere – Shop smarter using your phone. Compare prices, read reviews, and connect with local stores.
  • Ecorio – Ecorio automatically tracks your mobile carbon footprint, suggests transit and carpooling alternatives and lets you stay carbon neutral by offsetting your trips easily.
  • GoCart – Scan a product’s barcode with your phone’s camera and view all the best prices online and at nearby, local stores.
  • Life360 – From major natural disasters to little things like your child wandering away at the mall, there is a lot you might worry about. Life360 can help.
  • Locale – Locale is an advanced settings manager that automatically changes your phone’s settings based on conditions, such as location.
  • PicSay – Easy to use image editor that enables you to quickly personalize your pictures and share them with friends or photo sites.
  • Softrace – Turn your workout into a thrilling race and challenge the world in real time.
  • TuneWiki – TuneWiki Social Media Player, is an advanced player, featuring synchronized lyrics for audio or video, translation, music maps and a social network.
  • Wertago – The mobile application nightlifers have been waiting for. Find the hottest parties in town and connect with friends and others all night long.

$100,000 Winners:

  • BreadCrumbz – BreadCrumbz offers a unique approach to navigation. What sets it apart is its focus on picture-based navigation and user-created navigation content.
  • Cooking Capsules – Inspiration for novices and chefs alike, Cooking Capsules puts a fresh, elegant and portable new way to cook in the palm of your hand.
  • Maverick – Maverick is a multimedia enabled, Google Talk compatible instant messenger and a Google Blogger publishing tool which runs on the Android Platform.
  • PebbleBox – A location-based information exchange and sharing application, allowing people to collect and distribute various geo-related information through mobile phones.
  • PhoneBook 2.0 – PhoneBook 2.0 is a secure, contextual and social address book. Ideally suited for teenagers willing to share their mood and location, it also helps business people to keep their contacts secure and up-to-date.
  • Piggyback – Piggyback is a revolutionary real-time carpooling application for mobile phones that helps you save time and money while reducing your carbon footprint.
  • Pocket Journey – Pocket Journey turns your mobile phone into a personal tour guide by connecting you to location-specific multimedia created by a community of the most professional tour guides and storytellers worldwide.
  • Rayfarla – Have fun with music. Play music based games and make music with your phone using a range of virtual musical instruments.
  • ShareYourBoard – ShareYourBoard is an Android application for capturing, processing and sharing whiteboard data.
  • Teradesk e-Storage – Teradeks is an application for Virtual Storage and Remote File Access allowing companies and individuals to keep their files in the cloud, accessible from anywhere.

So, what do you think? I originally thought that there’d be some better programs because of how much money was up for grabs, but I’m not all that impressed at this point. Guess I’ll have to wait until I actually get my hands on them to see how useful they are.