Android platform group manager Eric Chu, speaking Tuesday at the Inside Social Apps conference in San Francisco, said that Google is "not happy" with the number of paid applications being downloaded through the Android Market, especially given that 300,000 devices are being activated every day. He also today that in-app payments were coming to the Android Maket and that developers should "stay tuned" for more information. It seems that Google will be giving developers several different payment options including carrier billing and the standard Google Checkout. He also mentioned that other payment services were being looked into, so don't be surprised if PayPal gets support as well. 

Chu also assured the fears of users on older versions of Android by saying that majority of current devices would be compatible. About 85 percent of devices are on Android 2.x right now, so it seems likely that any user with Android 2.1 Eclair or above will be good to go. Google had originally wanted to get in-app payments deployed last year, but developers were too "busy with their Christmas applications" to give Google enough feedback.

In-app payments offer an alternative for developers looking to make money from their apps rather than having to charge for the initial download or rely on ad revenue. This should help attract more developers to the Android platform and ensure that we see even more high-quality apps -- especially games -- land in the Market. [SF Gate, TechCrunch

 

Reader comments

Google 'not happy' with app sales; in-app payments, other billing coming

70 Comments

Yeah. It is getting crowrtded with a bunch of junk apps. There are a couple of apps that have 5 to 10 of the exact same thing from the same dev.

Cuz they know Google is one step away from world domination. Why do you think they have that green R2D2 logo? :P hence SkyNET? When GoogleWARE goes online who you think will come back and tell us that "It went online at 9:10AM Eastern Time on January 26th, 2011"?

Get Summer Glau to tag along with me to "protect" me and I'll be happy to lead the resistance. I'll even let Brian Austin Green pretend to be my uncle as long as he brings his wife. Come with me if you want to live.

They should change the ugliness that is the market. I really do not like the new update, I think Google could have done much better. Cheers to a new user interface

Ugly is a minor issue.

Since the market update it has gotten so friggin slow that I hate going in there.

I've spent close to $50 on apps and games for my DroidX. I'd spend a lot more if I had more than 15 minutes to try an app before the refund window closes.

Hear that Google? 15 minutes is nowhere near enough time!

I agree completely, some of the new apps (Dungeon Defenders) take more then 15 minutes to download (even on wifi), then you might find that it doesn't work on your phone. It's pretty frustrating to not be able to return something that doesn't work the first day on your device.

I spent a lot on apps when I wasn't concerned with getting burned by one that sucked. I haven't purchased a single app since they changed their return policy to 15 min... Switching to a different payment method isn't going to solve their issue with me.

I must be missing something but I can already have my T-Mobile account charged for apps that I purchase. I purchase an app, have it charged to my T-Mobile account and get a confirmation email via Gmail. Works well for me!

I would gladly buy all my necessary root apps (overclock cpu, titanium backup premium, etc) but i cannot stand running up my families sprint bill(divided equally between seven phones, i dont like to throw the #'s off). Im confused about payment options ... how else can i pay? So far i wouldnt pay for any of the games after seeing the iphone games. Android games are way behind.

I've paid for tons of apps on the market. Unfortunately, they are pretty much all utilities. All my game app purchases tend to go to my iPad (which will hopefully soon be replaced by a Xoom). I have the occasional Gameloft game, but those were purchased outside the Android Market which is a problem. If all the best games are not even in the market, something is wrong.

If you are like me and you buy and app when you need it then you quickly realize that the process is "fragmented". One app tells you to go to a website and pay for a key, then next apps says use PayPal, then next app let's you use Google Checkout so no need to "go" anywhere. The next app tells you to download the free version first...ugh.

Yeah, and the 15 minute window prevents me from buy a ton of apps only because it takes 3 to 4 times that long to get into an app and start using it. Podcast apps are the worst.

And since I'm on a rant Google better fix the problem with Gmail/Apps from Domain accounts not working with apps..cough...Reader...cough.

That is one concern that I have now with the market. I have a Google Apps account that I use for email/contacts/calendar and had to, at the time, get a Google account to use checkout/reader/voice/picasa/etc...

Now, the transition is going to be mandatory and I don't know how the transfer, if possible at all, will go for my paid apps in my Google checkout account to my Google Apps checkout account.

I just don't see how Google effed this up. I have to use a regular Gmail account and my App account to get the most out of my Captivate.

And how does Google expect app developers to get it right when they can't figure it out for their own apps.

Google already fixed Apps domains. Have the domain admin look at the migration option. Domains can be migrated per-user so you can even volunteer to test it. It makes your apps domain account a valid account for just about any Google service. I've had no trouble using it for Reader, MyMaps, and the Market.

Before I migrated my account, I had my Apps domain as the primary account, and added a gmail account on the phone (Menu -> Settings -> Accounts & Sync). The market recognized my primary account (the Apps domain account that I first signed into the phone with) but intelligently used the gmail account just for the checkout. So the license of the paid app is associated with the Apps domain account but the receipt was emailed to the gmail account.

Now with my domain migrated it's all seamless.

I wish I could get more apps. I have a Nexus One and I find the amount of internal memory limiting. App to SD helped, but not enough. Many apps don't provide the option to move to SD card, or the amount of storage still required to be internal adds up with all the others. I've tried forcing apps to SD, but experienced some badness after doing so -- maybe some had dependencies I wasn't aware of for running all the time.

Post by NegativeCreep:
I've spent close to $50 on apps and games for my DroidX. I'd spend a lot more if I had more than 15 minutes to try an app before the refund window closes.

Hear that Google? 15 minutes is nowhere near enough time!
------
+1+1+1

Bring back 24hr review. I would definitely be willing to buy more apps, but I must have at least 45min to read the reviews, decide, & QUICKLY test the app.

This. I read the headline and my first thought was "well what did they expect when the essentially eliminated the trial period?".

Appbrain says I've bought $33 worth of apps. Know how much of that was since the 24 hour trial period went away? Zip. $0. Nada. Nil.

It's not like I'm boycotting, but the bar's a lot higher to get me to download if I'm not going to have a chance to try it out and decide if it works for me.

GIVE US MORE THAN 15 MINUTES TO TRY PAID APPS. my bank wont do foriegn currency and neither does any of my friends banks. GOOGLE WANTS THE MONEY THEN THEY DO THE US TO FORIEGN MONEY CHANGE.

Totally agree with you. Coming from an iPhone I actually liked the setup/integration with iTunes. For those of you that don't like the idea perhaps Google should make it an "option" to use this type of set up.

Apple did one thing right, iTunes. Google is going to have to do something similar to get people using it enough to be their go-to market place. Everyone can put their Credit Card/Gift Card in just like what is done with iTunes. I have not yet found anything that is as seamless and easy as iTunes. Right now I have to use Android Market, Amazon, & a podcast app to do what iTunes does. I want to store music, downloads, apps, podcast, and everything else in one spot, and be able to access it from computer or mobile device. I am playing with Double Twist right now, it is ok... but not the level of iTunes. Take the Android market put in on my computer, add a place to download music, pod casts, etc... to get more people using it.

Wow I feel the complete opposite of you, the thing I dislike the most about Apple is iTunes. In this digital age I love Android's ability to add content from different sources from different computers to my device. I use my home computer, a personal laptop, a work computer, and a work laptop. With my Android device I can add content to my device from anywhere and from anyone of these sources. If I had an Apple product with iTunes I would be limited to one computer. Another example my Bro. and Sis-in-law both have iPhones and 1 home computer that they share, they had to make separate user accounts to be able to easily have individual content on their iPhones

In a perfect world there would be software like iTunes, that I could install on my home computer, that would have media management, but that would also allow me the ability to side load content if I so chose. Kind of like what Creative did with their software when they had the Zen Vision M.

If Google could get more people using the market, the number of sales for apps would go up. It's like a gas station, bring people in for gas, but they make their profits from selling food and other stuff. Google I think has to get the average user to use the market for "every-day" things, then they will be more likely to purchase from the market.

With that being said, I do like the ability to shop around and find what I want were I want it. A desktop version might not be a good idea for a family where multiple people use one comp; maybe they integrate it into iGoogle or something. They just have to get it in-front of users more and get them using it for other stuff than just the apps. If they build the trust through other avenues, their sales will increase overall.

I agree completely, the market definitely needs an overhaul to make it more user friendly. To continue with your gas station analogy. Right now the Apple market is like the super gas station, with nice clean restrooms, a couple of fast food restaurants, good coffee, and snacks. While the current Android market is like that gas station that you only go to when your running low on gas while traveling. Scary looking guy behind the counter, dirty outside bathroom that you opened with a key attached to a board, florescent lights flickering in the front of the drink coolers, limited snack options. You just want to get in grab what you need and get out of there as fast as you can.

Mega Diddos to thumbs down on 15 minutes. I was reading about a new todo.txt by a female application as I have tried a lot of different notes or todo apps and not totally happy with any. Using the EVO, it found it difficult to understand there galactic discussion and todo functions. I would like to see at least a week to try it out before purchasing. My biggest purchace was the Docs to Go. I like the idea to have a lot of payment options to select a single one from.

Hey Developers, put the pressure on Google to change the current setup. 15 minutes is OK to check out a battery or bluetooth toggle widget, but be real on more complex apps. So make it 15 minutes or 15 days.

they should find a way to not allow 3rd part apps that could be bought from the market. unlike the iPhone it is so easy to pirate apps on android. that is a HUGE turnoff to devs. i remember when i bought ESPN radio it said checking for purchase or something like that. all apps should do that so pirating will be stopped. and yes, the 15 minute rule should be changed to AT LEAST 2 hrs

Adding PayPal would help me out a ton! My bank wont let me make purchases in another currency so I can't buy some really good apps :(

Yea,

I'll be using Google checkout until it's no longer an option. Not interested in carrier checkout or in app check out. And dude isn't comfy with Android Market app sales? Find developers who create more compelling apps if you're not happy with these.

Boycott the Market!!!

Modify the 15 minute policy.
Make is something reasonable such as one hour.

I have mixed feelings on the complaints about the 15-minute policy. Sure, I've come across an app that I thought 15 minutes would simply not be enough time to test. However, there are two problems here:

1. The 15-minute policy is new. The problem with app purchases have existed long before this policy change. I suspect moving from a 24-hour to 15-minute policy had something to do with the low app purchases in the first place.

2. How is Apple doing it with a 0-minute return policy?

I think there is something more going on here.

You make good points there. I do think, however, that it was a bad decision to change it from 24 hours to 15 minutes, both because I think it sent a bad message that is negative to customers and because I think it removed that wonderful freedom to be able to try out apps without risk.

For myself, I tried out LOTS of apps when I knew I had 24 hours! ...and I kept many of those apps because I was able to experience the value and be sure I wanted them. It was a selling point for me in my recent switch from iPhone to an Android phone. I thought it was SO COOL and so customer friendly! I was really irritated and turned off by the change, and I actually have not tried a single pay app since the change. 15 minutes just isn't enough for me to take the risk if it's not a truly need-driven app.

I purchased (and kept) more apps from the Android market with the safety of the 24-hour period than I did in 2 years from the iPhone App Store (though you could supposedly contact the app owner for a refund within a certain period). And I know for the most part I just won't bother for 15 minutes, so I will simply purchase far fewer apps and just stick to the ones I know I need or maybe that a trusted source has used and recommended.

I just really wish they'd change it back. Can't seem to let go of that. There are probably lots of apps I'd love and would be happy to spend the money on, but won't. And I don't think I'm alone in that.

All of the minor problems: 15 minutes to review an app and get a refund, current payment options (gift cards like apple), lack of computer based store (like itunes), hard to find some great apps (update the market, get rid of junk)

All of my major problems, probably similar to anyone without a top notch device (I am running a rooted hero): 1) I have no memory to install bigger memory apps (such as games), google needs to mandate at least 2 - 4 GB of ROM in each phone... apps to SD helps but still does not solve all problems. 2) Fragmentation - some of the apps that work for 2.1+ do not work on all phones running 2.1+ or are laggy as hell on slower processors (processors at 800 MHz should be the minimum). It is hard for developers to update their apps because each update seems to break use for one phone or another. Whenever I go to buy an app and the comments say "it does not work on phone X or extremely laggy on phone X", without a top tier phone, I'm not risking money to not be able to return the app when it doesn't work with my phone.

Was just thinking to myself that I hadn't actually downloaded/paid for a Google app in a long time.

Surprised not more people have brought up the fact that AppBrain stopped functioning in an awesome way thanks to the market update, which for me really cut down on the number of apps I would get.

Where is the browser based market that Google showed off last year for buying and installing apps and music??

If I read about a paid app, say on Android Central, I should be able to view a google page about the app and send it to my phone to install and have Google send me a bill later.

But yeah as a Nexus One owner it seems like any app I download gives me the 'running out of space' icon and I usually end up uninstalling something or that app.

Perhaps the cell carriers should include some Android App Store credits each month with these bloated bills they send to smartphone users each month?

Several things are needed from my view to impact ove the market.
1. Paypal and carrier billing would make it easier for more people to buy apps.
2. Opening up as many countries as possible to purchase apps because again its about making it possible for more peoplecto buy apps.
3. Google please just buy app brain it would save you all the trouble of designing something the market really needs, a way to search apps from the desktop.
I personally can't support getting rid of apps with bad ratings because if you read the reviews often the 1 or 2 stars are from morons who don't read the instructions and then complain it doesn't do this or that. At the same time defective and melicious software needs to be reported, investigated and pulled very quickly in order to protect users, developers and the reputation of the market.

Come the fuck on. Proofread before hitting publish, amateur.

"He also today that in-app payments were coming to the Android Maket"

The market is a mess. The new market is so slow. 15 min window is not long enough.

Searching for apps doesn't make sense anymore. I searched for Twitter yesterday and couldn't find the official app. I had to search for Twitter, Inc and even then it was buried. I have seen this for other apps as well.

The process of purchasing is fragmented. The versions for different OS is confusing sometimes. Make sure you read the details ...

I buy apps and have spent a good bit on them but expect an improved market.

I agree. I searched for the app "Profiles" and it was a few scrolls down. WTF? I search for "profiles" and a dozen apps were above the app called "Profiles".

And how about Google provide a better way to back up your device.

Maybe Google can help out with this.

I would like a desktop app like RIM puts out for Blackberrys. I love the "Device Switch Wizard" and the ability to back up locally just in case.

Google may not be happy with the number of people paying for apps, but I'm sure they're happy with the ad revenue.

It was noted a while back that developers were making more money from ad-supported apps than from paid apps, and Google makes a bigger cut than the developers, so....

I don't care what Google does to the market. I'm still not gonna buy apps. How can I buy an app from the Google market when all I have to do is search for the apk file on Google and get that same app for free.

Ya think maybe it has something to do with the changed refund policy to 15 minutes? I removed my CC info because of it, I haven't bought a thing since the change.

Ron87, just a forewarning, if you download and instlal apk's outside the market, you're risking a chance of installing injected apps (that track your info, can make phone calls, etc). Also if there's an app you actually like and use, the dev deserves that lousy $1 or whatever the price is on the market.

Maybe Google should try to get some big name businesses like Apple does. Starbucks, Netflix, Wegmans, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, etc. Personally, I think the games are the weakest part. I prefer my iPod Touch over my phone everytime, when it comes to games.

I also don't think it is fair to have just a 15 minute time frame to ask for a refund. I think 48 hour time frame is fair. I posted my opinion on this as well. We pay a lot of money to our carriers.
If there is a decent app to try and we find though it isn't working properly on our device, we need to be able to get a refund. But 15 minutes? As if you can make a decision in 15 minutes. WRONG

48 hours seems like to long to me. That's way passed checking features and functionality and into "hey I beat the whole game already so I should get a refund" We all have a hard time agreeing on a number that's fair to developers and users, and obviously so does Google
They went to far in the opposite way with 15 minutes in my opinion. They could easily go to a couple of hours. That allows people to download the app and check that it runs on their device. Those are the two most important aspects of the refund policy to me and with 2 hours you get long enough check at least the basic features of an app to see if it does what you need.

Most apps have a demo version so why do you need more than 15 minutes? The problem is the vast majority of the apps suck especially games. The good games we do get are ported from ios 6 months to a year later and usually never work right, have 1/3 of the content and cost 3 times as much. Mega Jump was coming soon forever and when it released it was buggy as hell and they still haven't fixed it, cut the rope has been coming soon since October, and Scorecenter has been out since June and still doesn't have alerts. Android upgrades and games are always advertised/teased months and months before we can get our hands on them and it gets old. Google needs to take control of the market and kill all this open crap and force these devs to make quality apps like ios gets and put quality over quantity.

More payment options would be nice if it opens the market to the world but they really just need to clean up the dirt, make search work properly, reduce the size of the featured carousel so it doesn't take half the screen, and speed up the market app as a whole.

As I look through the Android Market, I'm disappointed often and don't buy apps. I've bought a handful, but jeez, I had 58 apps on my Palm Pre, I've bought maybe a total of 10. The EVO memory limitation doesn't help and apps that won't run on SD doesn't help This limits what I can do more than I thought it would.

So, I see two reasons behind this.

1.) Why not give an incentive for those big name apps to port to Android. iOS gets more love in that dept.

2.) 15 mins. Really?

With the availability of other markets out there (appbrain, gameloft and soon to be amazon), I for one would not be opposed to google taking a more restrictive approach to their market in the same vein as apple. I hate wading through all the crap apps in there trying to find stuff that actually works. What would be so bad about devs having to submit their apps and let google make ssure that they work before releasing them into the wild. As an open platform, users would still be able to get any app they want from other sources but there really needs to be a standard of excellence. Obviously, the hardware fragmentation poses setbacks to this, but they're smart people, they'll figure it out. It might just come down to entering your device info and only being shown apps that have been tested on your hardware. Either way, I'm tired of having to sift through the reviews to find another user with an incredible just to find out if an app is going to run on my phone. Google needs to up the quality control on their end or this great os is going to become prohibitively difficult to use purely because it's too hard to find the app you want and when you finally do, it might not work. Oh yeah, fifteen minutes is BS!

Google- first you try to force everyone to use "Google Checkout" which some of us want nothing to do with. Then you slow down the market app to a crawl with the major update. Then you lower the refund period to 15 minutes. And the market still doesn't have enough search options to wade through the junk.

And now you complain about not enough paid apps being purchased?

Maybe you should listen to your customers.....

I got half way down the list seen like 20 complaints about 15 minute policy... Do people not realize that root allows you to have access to the paid apps, so all you have to do is download the paid app, copy it to your SD card, then refund it... Free paid apps. That's why the policy is so short. Most developers have a free version to download first, that way their apps aren't ripped off like this.

I have looked at several apps recently but I keep bumping my head against the memory limits on my Nexus One. Yes, I could root, but Google could also create a system that allows all apps to move to the SD card. They create a self-limiting app storage system and now they wonder why folks have stopped buying apps? C'mon, Google, think a bit.

If it's tricky to move apps to the SD card, at the very least how about app caches and data? Man, those can eat through internal memory like a hog in a corn trough.

I would actually LOVE for PayPal to be supported, as my bank blocks all payments to euro addresses... so a lot of apps that I would like to have, I can't pay for through my registered card, unless I unblock ALL payments to euro accounts. (Was done by the bank due to large ammounts of fraud coming from that area)

+5 on the 15 minute review window causing a lack of sales (we have 5 Droid X's in the family).

I dAon't use credit cards so if you want me to buy apps and I would, make it possible for my phone to be billed or make gift cards available for the android market.