Despite posting profits of $2.54 billion for the final quarter of 2010, Google just ain’t happy with the amount of paid-for apps being sold in the Android Market and so have set about making sure it can squeeze more money from mobile phone (and tablet) users in 2011.
The news that paid-for app download levels were less than expected came from Google's Android group manager, Eric Chu, speaking at a social games conference in San Francisco. Chu said Google were less than pleased with the sales figures from the Market and had now put in train a plan, which will help make it more profitable. Paid-for apps were introduced for the Android Market in February 2009 and has seen the app store grow rapidly to now offer over 100,000 apps.
Chu said that Google had planned on introducing in-app payments by the end of 2010 but with the busy Christmas period it had been unable to get sufficient developer feedback. In-app payments are something Apple’s iOS has allow for some time now and is widely used in social games like Smurfs’ Village to buy items or credits. The system also allows for the purchase of individual editions of magazines or newspapers.
BlackBerry and even Nokia have both beaten Google to the punch in relation to bringing this functionality to their operating systems however all three are playing catch up with Apple. The in-app feature will be available in most Android phone and won't be only compatible with a one particular version of the platform.
In related news Google is looking to allow users to have app purchases appear on their mobile bill and is talking to carriers to try and implement this, a service which AT&T already provides in the US. Finally Google also announced it will be trying to prevent apps appearing that violate the company’s terms of service. Hopefully this won’t mean the end of apps which add greatly to the functionality of Android devices but could be termed “malicious” by Google.
In related news Amazon has finally announced the availability of an Android version of its app – which appeared in Apple’s App Store as far back as 2008. The free app includes a barcode scanner for quick price comparisons while you’re out shopping. It will let you freely browse Amazon’s listings and even place and track orders direct from your phone and is available now.