Developers to charge for Google Android apps

Google adds detail to plans to woo more developers, meaning all applications will no longer be free, as has been the case since the launch of its mobile apps store.

Google outlined plans to support priced applications through its Android apps store late last week.

The software firm had previously said it would allow developers to charge for applications sometime early in 2009, having offered only free applications since its launch in October last year.

But Eric Chu, programme manager for Google's Android mobile operating system (OS) platform, revealed in a blog posting last Friday that the days of all applications being free through its Android apps store were finally over.

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UK and US developers can access consumer pricing and details of how to upload their applications from the Android market publisher website.

And, after paying a $25 (17.59) registration fee, UK publishers can go onto to charge between 50 pence and 100 for their applications without the approvals needed for the iPhone's App Store, for example. Although, applications already offered for free through the store cannot be charged for.

Chu said all transactions would go through the Google Checkout payment system and that US paid-for applications would available from the middle of this week.

The UK, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, France, and Spain will be able to offer priced applications later this quarter.

He added: "By the end of Q1 2009, we will announce support for developers in additional countries."

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Bob Tarzey, service director at analyst Quocirca told IT PRO that developers would welcome the chance to try out a new channel to market for their applications.

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"Application providers will look for a number of channels," he said. "Google may be a leviathan in terms of search and it's not nearly as big in the mobile arena, but developers like to cover all their bases."

Apple's equivalent iPhone store currently has over 15,000 applications available and the software firm has claimed consumers have downloaded over 500 million applications.

The Android Market currently offers more than 1,000 applications and Goole said thousands of developers had signed up to it. "Anybody that thinks Google is not a threat in this space should think again," added Tarzey.

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