New branding options in the Google Play Store let developers show off their apps

google play may be back in china soon
Google’s annual I/O conference has already been an eventful one. Today, the company announced improvements to Play Store customization for developers, including custom storefront pages and A/B testing for apps.

Developers now have a far greater degree of control over the appearance of catalogs, the pages that show all the apps they’ve published to the Play Store. They can now embellish them with banner graphics, icons that represent their brand, and/or featured apps. Google says its working on bringing catalog pages to the forefront in a future Play Store update.

Updated by Kyle Wiggers 02-05-2015: Added information about catalog customization.

But what’s A/B testing, you ask? A very reasonable question. Also known as split testing in some circles, it’s often employed as a Web development tool to determine which of two pages performs better: You show one version to a set of visitors, another version to a similar visitors, and see which results in superior traffic. A/B testing is a bit different in the context of mobile apps, but the principle is the same: Developers create multiple unique, independent app listings and see which one manages to accrue more downloads or purchases.

Google will offer a fair degree of A/B customizability when it goes live in the Play Store. App makers will be able to create listings with alternate descriptions, icons, images, videos, and even pricing.  The feature’s use, at least at launch, will seemingly be limited to the simplest forms of optimization — i.e., funneling random groups of users to distinct pages. Given the potential analytics goldmine, though, Google will undoubtedly expand A/B testing capabilities in the future.

A/B testing isn’t an end-all solution for Android’s app profitability woes — according to DAU-UP, a gaming marketing company, average revenue per user is far lower on Android than iOS — but it could help incentivize equal or Android-first release strategies. Kongregate saw conversion rates by up to 50 percent, and sources claim Apple currently has no answer to Google’s system in the works.


Popular Android navigation apps are just Google Maps with ads, researcher says

A malware researcher found that 19 free Android navigation apps on the Google Play Store were nothing more than Google Maps, but with ads. One of the apps asked for a payment to remove the ads, while some of them presented security risks.

Android vs. iOS: Which smartphone platform is the best?

If you’re trying to choose a new phone and you’re not sure about the merits and pitfalls of the leading smartphone operating systems, then come on in for a detailed breakdown as we pit Android vs. iOS in various categories.

Join the Apple club with our complete guide to switching from Android to iOS

If Android simply isn’t cutting it for you anymore, then you might be considering Apple’s warm embrace. Here’s how to make the switch from Android to iOS without losing your contacts, sleep, or hair!

Yes, Android apps can run on your PC, and it's easier than you think

Wish you knew how to run Android apps in Windows? It's easier than you might think and there are a number of different ways to do it. In this guide, we break down the steps so you can follow along with ease.

Here’s how to download podcasts and listen to them on Android or iOS

Podcasts have become a cultural staple. Here's how to download podcasts and listen to them on your Android or iOS device, and which apps to use if you're looking to get the most out of the format.

Apple banned from distributing some iPhone models in Germany

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Windows 10 Mobile is dead: Switch to iOS or Android, Microsoft says

A Microsoft support page detailed the company's plans to end support for Windows 10 Mobile in less than a year. Users with devices powered by the platform are suggested to switch to iOS or Android devices.

How to use iOS 12’s Passwords and Accounts tool to autofill passwords

Keeping track of all your passwords and accounts can be a real chore. If you use an iPhone with iOS 12, then you don't have to. Here's how to use iOS 12's own password manager to autofill passwords.

What is fixed wireless 5G? Here’s everything you need to know

Here's fixed wireless 5G explained! Learn what you need to know about this effective new wireless technology, when it's available, how much it costs, and more. If you're thinking about 5G, this guide can help!

Razer’s Wireless Charger will turn your desk into gamer heaven

The Razer Wireless Charger adds colorful flair to your desk or bedside table. It works with any phone that supports Qi wireless charging -- with some quirks -- but is it worth the high price tag? We take a look.

Xbox app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.

The best Apple Watch bands and straps to stylize your timepiece

If you have an Apple Watch, you know how easy it is to take off the strap it came with, so why not buy yourself another one? Here, we've gathered the best Apple Watch bands we've seen so far. There's something for everyone.

How to choose an iPad in 2019: A practical guide to Apple’s tablets

Selecting an iPad from Apple's lineup can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Our comprehensive guide should put the numbers and specs in practical, easy-to-understand terms. Find your ideal iPad with the help of our guide.