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OS Watch: Android Lets Developers Go Hungry

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has created a catch-22 of sorts for developers looking to monetize their wares in the Android Market, says Patrick Mork, CMO of independent app store GetJar Networks Inc.

It has been promising a viable in-app billing mechanism for a while, but never delivering. Developers can't make money without it, but they're also not allowed to work with other billing providers outside Android's "open" walls.

"It's like if you have the best pizza in the world and you're starving, but you tell me seven times that it's ready in 30 minutes, and you don't let me out the door to get a burger," Mork said. "If I'm going hungry, why make me wait?"

It's close to lunch time, so excuse the food analogy, but Mork's point is that developers should have a choice on how to monetize and bill for their apps. Both Google and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) restrict this and, on top of that, take a 30 percent cut of the transactions they host. (See App Developer Oppression?)

The good news for wireless operators (most of which have this same 70/30 split), is that developers prefer carrier billing, Mork says. But, as the market stands today, carriers haven't fully embraced this role, and Apple remains the only company to truly pull off in-house billing with iTunes.

  • iOS Goes 4.3: Along with its latest tablet wonder, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) unveiled an update to its iPhone OS, iOS 4.3, this week. The most notable feature of the update turns AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s GSM version into a mobile hot spot for up to five devices, a function that Verizon Wireless 's version already performs. AT&T said that users will have to subscribe to its DataPro 4GB plan for $45, which includes a $20 add-on fee, to use the capability. (See iPad 2: Fast & Skinny But No USB.)

  • Frag Watch: One interesting detail amongst Apple's iOS updates is that the latest version, 4.3, is only available for the GSM model of the phone. AT&T's GSM model looks the same as Verizon's CDMA model, but the phones are purpose-built for their respective networks. Developers already have access to the new OS SDK, but Apple hasn't said when it'll make it available to Big Red too. (See Tablet Prep: AT&T & Verizon Shake Up Pricing.)

  • Apple & Android BBM: Rather than (or in addition to) bringing Android apps to its line of BlackBerry smartphones, BlackBerry may be taking its most popular instant messaging app, BlackBerry Messenger, to Android and iPhones. The Boy Genius Report said Thursday that RIM hasn't finalized timing or pricing, but it may be offered free as a stripped-down version of the BlackBerry service.

  • Qualcomm likes Microsoft: One company that's a fan of Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s tie up with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM). The chipmaker had essentially given up on Symbian Ltd. , but CFO Bill Keitel told investors at Morgan Stanley's tech conference Wednesday that Windows Phone 7 Nokia devices are more promising. Qualcomm is the only chip company qualified for the OS right now, according to Keitel, and it has R&D spending dedicated to it. He did, however, reiterate what a lot of people have been saying about the pair: they'd better move fast. (See RIP Symbian & MeeGo: Nokia Ties Future to WP7.)

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

  • DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 5:11:06 PM
    re: OS Watch: Android Lets Developers Go Hungry

    So... maybe Apple gets so much criticism because it's the only viable marketplace for developers.

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