Feb. 2, 2011 at 1:53 PM ET
For the first time, users of Android-based phones can buy their apps online through the Android Market, and not just through the market app on their phones.
The change, announced Wednesday by Google, which helped create Android, will give users another way to get apps onto their devices. Once an app purchase is made online, it can be sent to the phone.
The Android Market is the shopping place for programs, just as the App Store is for the iPhone and other Apple mobile devices. The market now has more than 130,000 apps available, compared to more than 300,000 apps in the App Store.
When searching for Android apps on the website, you can sort by relevance, popularity, free or paid and even by device compatibility, which is helpful, as there are many different "flavors" of Android operating systems on phones, and not all work with all programs.
"The website makes it easy to discover great new apps with a bigger, brighter interface," Google said on its blog. "You can also send apps directly to your Android device with just a few clicks — no wires needed. We’ve built in new social features, too. You can share apps with your friends through Twitter. And you can read and post app reviews directly to Android Market from the web or from your device.
"And what about all those apps you’ve already purchased and downloaded? Sign in to the website with your Google account and click 'My Market Account' to see all the apps you’ve purchased or downloaded. It makes managing all your apps quite easy."