Android Market Launches In-App Billing Feature
The killer app for Android developers isn't "Angry Birds" — it's the ability to charge for things inside "Angry Birds." Google has just granted developers their wish by announcing the in-app billing feature for apps in the Android Market.
The Android Market relies less on the purchase price of apps (many are free when their iPhone counterparts are 99 cents or more) and more on in-app advertising. However, that usually doesn't lead to big revenue streams. Microtransactions, on the other hand, offer far more opportunity.
Marketers in many electronics industries have found that there can be more overall revenue in offering a service cheaply (or even free) and then offering premium content inside the service for small fees, or microtransactions. The possibilities are endless — everything from unlocking extra features to buying a cool shirt for a player avatar are things people will pay money for.
“In-app billing gives you more ways to monetize your apps with try-and-buy, virtual goods, upgrades and other billing models,” writes Google.
In-app billing for Android apps makes the purchase process much easier for developers and customers alike. Instead of going through a portal on a computer, users will be able to pay for items right inside the app with a valid credit or debit card. It remains to be seen just how many ways developers can implement in-app purchases, but several apps — including popular apps such as "Tap Tap Revenge" and "WSOP3" — already use it. It also remains to be seen how in-app billing will affect the market, but if it works well, it could ultimately lead to falling app prices and even more free apps.