If you were to ask many 'casual users' why they love smartphones and tablets they would likely tell you several different things such as portability, but likely at the top of the list would be, “Because of all the apps”.
This is a somewhat curious statement if you are a power user, something that makes you want to scratch your head a little.
Why is that?
Namely because Windows (regardless of the version) has literally millions and millions of free/low-cost apps easily available on the Internet. So really many similar apps could be had on the PC as well.
So what makes the tablet/smartphone so special?
The answer is a controlled environment in the form of a “marketplace”. Something that is now starting to make its way over to desktop PCs as well, such as OSX and Windows 8.
So what makes a controlled environment so much better for users than a free, open environment where the sky is the limit as long as you know where to search and where to avoid?
Well, my last statement pretty much says it all. Users don't want to search a million places for several reasons. The biggest of these are convenience and security.
Blindly searching and downloading PC applications through the net is an easy way to get a virus/malware if you don't know what you are doing.
The various markets out there offer a net of protection, for the most part, from these outside malware/virus problems.
Still, market systems are not perfect and are subject to human error.
Recently tons of negative publicity surrounded Google's Android when it was discovered that many apps on the store in fact contained malware that could charge you premium text charges that could rack up $100+ on a phone bill.
This was a huge oversight on Google Market's part, but it does happen. What is most important is how quickly they catch the mistakes and react to them.
Without quick reaction to any problems that arise with apps revolving viruses and malware, Markets become no more safe than blindly searching the net.
Android isn't the only market to have such problems, though their mistake was certainly the most severe.
It seems that an app calling itself “Spotify” was approved on the Windows Phone Marketplace. This app had nothing to do with Spotify music, instead offering a collection of music-related news feeds and YouTube videos for $.99.
While a clear scam of about a dollar it is clearly nowhere near the issues that Google's market has.
Still you have many Android fans calling out the comparison and stating that Microsoft should have caught this mistake too.
Unfortunately, humans make mistakes. Likely someone in the approval process didn't realize Spotify was a real streaming service and collections like this when undetected.
At least it didn't steal information or do anything truly awful to your phone.
What we need to take away from this is that regardless of your platform: iOS, Android, and WP7, it is still important to take caution when downloading apps.
Markets may offer convenience but it doesn't guarantee complete security (though safer with WP Marketplace than I would with Google's Market).
What do you think? Should Microsoft have caught this mistake or should occasional human error be expected as long as it is quickly taken care of? Share your thoughts below.