Use AppBrain To Manage Android Apps

Earlier this week I wrote about Android Tapp, which provides a desktop web front-end to the Android Market that makes it easier to find and install new applications on Android phones. Android Tapp provides QR codes in their listings that you can simply snap a picture of with your phone to access the application in the Android Market and install it.

Today I discovered another desktop front-end to the Android Market called AppBrain that takes a different approach by providing an Android app that works with the AppBrain web site. First, go to the web site and set up an account. The web site is built using Google’s App engine, so you will use your Google login credentials, but you do have to set up an account so AppBrain can track your information. During the sign-up process you will see a QR code to install the Android Application.

When you first start the AppBrain Android app, you will tell it to sign-in and it then synchronizes the current app list on the phone to their web server, which provides a nice way for you to see what apps are on your phone from a desktop computer. You can then share the list of apps on your Phone via a link, such as mine here, or via a number of social networks, and you can designate whether your app list can be public or private. The app list page provides a nice summary of the apps on your phone. I guess I am a typical Android owner, with 93% of my apps being free. I’ve actually bought more apps than is shown on the list, but since I moved to the Nexus One from the myTouch 3G I have not yet installed all the apps I purchased.

Installation of applications is a two step process. Browse the catalog and click the name of the app you want to install. The app detail page provides some very good information including a list of the changes that have been made to the app, and download stats. You will see comments from users and a list of related applications. To install the app, click the Install button at the top of the page. The second step is to start AppBrain on your phone and tap Resync With Server and the application you selected will appear at the top of the list. To install tap Perform All Changes. The Android Market will load with the application you selected listed, where you can perform the normal installation process.

It is worth noting that AppBrain and Android Tapp provide front ends to the Android Market and because you actually install apps from the Market, app purchases follow the normal process. I am very impressed with AppBrain, and I personally feel that Google should just buy these guys and turn AppBrain into the official Android Market on the web. The functions of the AppBrain Android application should be easily incorporated in to the Android Market. Frankly, this is the type of functionality that Google should be providing to make it easier to discover apps and to market Android.