Parallel app markets are beginning to spring up all over the Android platform, what with special app packs and stores for carriers and manufacturers, and devices like the Nook Color coming out that specifically limit functionality. But if you’re on a plain ol’ Android phone, you’re generally going to be going to the plain ol’ Android Market for your apps. And although the newly-announced changes to the interface make it more attractive, it’s still not the best for discoverability.
I’ve found AppShopper to be a useful tool on my iPad for seeing a random sample of weird and price-shifted apps, and Appsfire might — might — be the equivalent of that on Android, if they can get their interface under control.
The main screen is a constantly shifting set of app conveyor belts ostensibly showing off what’s new, what’s popular, and so on. But without names or descriptions, the icons are almost meaningless, except for ones whose graphics you recognize, and in that case you probably already know about the app. The Discover tab shows much of the same stuff but in a list format, and is similarly information-rich, with many controls and arrows and instructions. My impression is that the casual Android user will be mystified by the busy UI.
For the seasoned user, though, there is a lot of handy information. Being able to favorite a few apps to wait for a price drop, or bulk install/uninstall a few to try out are great, and quite easy to do.
AppsFire is promising, but at the moment, the interface is too busy to do what it needs to be doing: show off the apps themselves. You should be able to download it on Monday via this link. Recommended for power users who want a more robust app tracking engine than what Google has provided.