Google rolls out web app store at Honeycomb intro

By Dow Jones Newswires
Posted Feb. 2 at 3:57 p.m.

Google Inc. on Wednesday unveiled a Android Market web store that lets consumers download applications through their Internet browser, a move that ratchets up the company’s rivalry with Apple Inc.’s popular App Store.

Users previously could access the more than 100,000 apps at Google’s Android Market only from their mobile devices.

Google showed off its Android Market web store at an event to showcase the Android 3.0, the first tablet-friendly version of its mobile operating system, code named Honeycomb.

Honeycomb, which Google is making available to hardware makers for free, is widely seen as the first credible challenger to Apple’s iPad, which has vaulted to an early lead in the worldwide tablet market since its release last year. Reports have suggested Motorola Inc. will release its Honeycomb-based Xoom tablet this month, giving it roughly a month’s head start over rivals.

Google redesigned the Honeycomb user interface, adding interactive notifications and widgets, improving multitasking and optimizing mobile services optimized for tablets.

Shares in Google were up 0.5 percent, at $614, while Apple fell 0.2 percent, to $344.23.

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