Android News

Android may offer in-app purchases and subscriptions

July 1, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka

Android, Android OS


The only way for Android developers to directly make money is to sell an app or put ads in one. Comments from Google VP of Engineering Andy Rubin suggest that Android could offer another option of accepting subscriptions or in-app purchases.

In an interview with BusinessWeek, Rubin said that Google is considering incentives to increase Android adoption in Asia. The Android founder cited accepting new payment forms as a possible means of doing that, though he did not offer any specifics. This would open the door for purchasing virtual goods with real money or subscribing to a magazine or news service.

A developer who has been working on the next Farmville or World of Warcraft could then take advantage of that system and earn money by selling unlock codes, new game levels, or special tools/weapons. Wired Magazine could then develop an Android app geared for tablets, and charge users based on subscriptions rather than selling each issue as an app like it does on the iPad.

The rationale behind this is clear: if developers make money, they keep developing and creating new apps for consumers, and everybody wins. Few developers have managed to make substantial sums from Android since users don’t spend as much as iPhone owners. However, this could be a money maker. PayPal and Ringz have similar programs employed through workarounds, so it makes sense for Google to offer this service directly to developers.