Android Apps Finally Get Medical

December 30, 2010

When it comes to medical apps, Apple is still the market leader. But Google, armed with a new medical apps category in its Android Marketplace, solid technology partners, and sights set on the burgeoning tablet market, could narrow the gap in 2011.

Thanks to cutting-edge products like the iPad and iPhone 4, 2010 could go down as the “the year of the Apple.”

And where Apple goes, Google now follows, most recently with its Android operating system.

Though Apple’s lineup of wireless devices this year stole the spotlight away from category leaders like BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, Google and its mobile partners (Verizon Wireless, Motorola, HTC, and others) kept up, releasing one Android product after another, each one better than the last. And now, a number of mobile-industry analysts predict Android-laced gadgets could eclipse those made by Apple as soon as 2012.

And Google seems to be betting some of its new customers will be doctors.

The Internet search giant last week unveiled a new “medical” applications category in its Android Marketplace, iMedicalApps.com reported. Though the Android Marketplace categories pull-down menu on the Android Web site hasn’t been updated to include the new “medical” category, a Google spokesman confirmed to us that the new category is viewable on mobile devices carrying the most recent version of the technology.

For physicians on Team Android, the new addition will be a welcome one.

In early November, iMedicalApps.com published an open letter - “Dear Google: please make a medical category for apps in the Android Marketplace” - calling on Mountain View, Calif.-based Google to offer more than simple consumer-health applications.

The letter, penned by iMedicalApps blogger and medical student Iltifat Husain, noted that when Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple launched its iPhone, it quickly added a medical category for healthcare professionals to its app store. Husain said Google should do the same with its two-year-old Android Marketplace “to help the increasing number of healthcare professionals who are purchasing Android devices find strictly medical applications.”

Does a new Android Marketplace category mean doctors can expect 2011 to bring an influx of helpful apps tailored to Android phones and/or the forthcoming, much-buzzed-about Android 3.0 tablet? If Google’s offerings manage to distract some of the docs salivating over the tablet du jour - which is still Apple’s iPad - we think the answer is definitely “yes.”

For a list of good mobile apps for iPhones and other wireless handheld devices, check out the article “7 Smartphone Apps for Doctors.”

Which mobile apps did you love this year? Which ones weren't worth the download? Tell us below!