Android Market Plagued With Download Failures

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Reports are emerging that Google’s Android Market is having major problems letting Android smartphone users download and install apps

Google’s Android Market is reportedly having major problems letting Android smartphone users download and install apps, which threatens to take the shine off the arrival of Android 2.3 (allegedly this week).

Users of Android phones all over the world are unable to install or uninstall applications from the Android Market to their handsets.

This is obviously a huge problem for devices whose value can be measured by the applications people run on them. The Android Market currently hosts more than 100,000 free and paid applications.

Updates And New Apps Failure

There have been more than 200 posts about this problem in this thread that began 25 October on the Android Market Help Forum. Owners of devices ranging from the Motorola Droid X to the HTC Desire and HTC myTouch handsets have made their gripes known.

T-Mobile myTouch owner ClaurenM wrote 4 November: “I get this in the notification and in the list of downloads (Market -> Downloads button). It hangs on ‘Starting download. . .’ no progress, then I get ‘Download unsuccessful.’ This is happening for updates and new app installations.”

HTC Desire owner Deggers in the UK wrote 4 November: “I had an iPhone for 2 years and never experienced anything such as this. No announcements to customers on the marketplace website, no response on here. It’s shameful! I have apps which now do, download. I also have apps which download but are still failing to move into install mode!”

Google Aware?

Google isn’t saying anything officially and has kept quiet on the forum despite pleas from users for help. However, a source familiar with Android Market operations said Google is aware of the issue and “working rapidly on a resolution.”

Some believe the issue is related to Android software upgrades, claiming it is fixable by reverting to the factory version of the device, or the settings with which the handset was built and sent to market.

Users may try this by going on their phone to  “settings,” “applications,” “manage applications,” “market,” then “uninstall updates.” The device will revert to the factory version and users should be able to download or uninstall apps.

Factory resets didn’t help Motorola Droid X owner and IT manager Don Rennard, who told eWEEK he tried installing apps on two different Droid X phones using three different memory cards.

“All got stuck on Install for new apps or updates for existing apps. Had worked fine for months, then suddenly not. Factory resets didn’t help. Realised I had formatted all 3 cards in my Droid X. Reformatted card on my PC, reinserted in phone, works perfectly. Must be an issue with Froyo or Motorola formatting firmware.”

Android Market problems are nothing new.

Market Woes

Users have complained of issues ranging from applications that infringe copyright to limited availability of paid apps. Developers have complained about not being able to sell apps via the Market in various countries. Google has taken steps to address the issues.

The inability to install or uninstall apps comes as Google is set to unveil its next OS build, Android 2.3, code-named Gingerbread.

Kron0x, a member of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), tweeted 7 November that Nexus One owners should get ready for an over-the-air update “in the next few days.”

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