While PC gamers like yours truly were ecstatic when Valve finally released its official Steam app on the Android Market, the software itself left a little to be desired in its initial version. Of course that’s to be expected in a beta release, but the combination of closed access and slow, protracted animations even on high-end phones made for a frustrating experience at times. Valve solved one problem when it opened the beta app up to everyone, then another today, with the application of its latest update.
The 1.0.3 version of Steam includes better support for Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich’s native graphical acceleration, which should make for some speed improvements on the applicable devices. Stability enhancements should make it run better on older phones as well, especially 2.1 phones, where store browsing is now enabled. A few UI tweaks like automatic links in chat make for smoother use all around. Based on a few minutes of tinkering with my own Steam account the overall app seems very much improved, and more like the ubiquitous desktop version – kudos, Valve.
You can download the app for free in the Android Market for just about any Android phone or tablet. Of course, your choices in Steam access are significantly curtailed after dozens of third-party Steam apps disappeared from the Market without notice. Valve still hasn’t commented on the removal, but a few have come back under different names: the unofficial ”Steam for Android” app that we previously covered is now “Vapor for Android ” (nice), and can be downloaded in the Market for free once again. This solidifies the idea that Valve objected to other Steam apps on copyright grounds.