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Google to release in-app billing to Android Market next week

Kevin McGuire's picture

After being delayed at the end of 2010 Google plans to introduce in-app billing on the Android Market next week according to a recent blog post on the Android Developers website.

"Back in January we announced our plan to introduce Android Market In-app Billing this quarter," writes Eric Chu of the Android Developer Ecosystem. "We're pleased to let you know that we will be launching In-app Billing next week."

Google demonstrated how in-app billing would work in the Android Market earlier this year and developers have been running final tests this week in order to have everything ready to go at some point next week. A specific date has not been announced for when in-app billing will become active. The end of the first quarter is on Thursday, March 31 so if Google stands by their word then the latest it would be available is Thursday.

The inability for developers to benefit from in-app purchases has been seen as a flaw in the Android Market and has deterred developers from working on apps for the Android line of phones. Today developers often design their apps with flexibility to add features down the line and charge a small upgrade fee to users. On Android phones customers would either have to buy a completely new version of an app or deal with an outdated version no matter how small a tweak was made. This is an area where Apple's App Store excels, especially for gaming apps such as Angry Birds. With in-app billing now enabled on Android phones it may sway developers to focus more on Android apps either in place of or alongside development for iPhones and iPads.

Google's Android Market has recorded at least 200,000 available mobile apps according to reports at the end of 2010, and many apps are available for free, which has helped boost the popularity of Android devices and apps in the mobile market. Apple's App Store still leads the way in the market with over 400,000 apps available to its customers and over 10 billion app downloads processed by users of the iPhone and iPad. The Android Market though is has the highest percentage of free apps, with over 57% available for free download.

With the release of the Apple iPhone to the Verizon network the urgency for Google to adapt the Android Market became even more necessary. Though sales of the iPhone to Verizon customers may not have met some industry expectations it still figures to take a chunk of potential Android users away from Google. Allowing more flexibility on the Android system allows Google to compete more with Apple in terms of features and benefits to consumers with mobile phones running the Android software. Android has already established a solid user base across multiple network carriers but being able to match Apple's iPhone features is still important in the market.

HULIQ will monitor the progress in the Android Market and report on its developments as they become available.

Image source: Wikipedia

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