Android Gets an Online Market

Google offers developers an iTunes-like Web store for app downloads, and institutes in-app purchases as it tries to monetize its Market

Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms

February 2, 2011

2 Min Read
Android Gets an Online Market

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) opened up an online version of Android Market Wednesday and announced support for in-app purchases. The Android Market Web Store gives Android device users another outlet to purchase and download apps, and it offers developers more ways to promote and monetize their apps.

To date, Android phone owners have only been able to download apps directly on their devices and pay for them through Google checkout or, in some cases, carrier billing. The new online store will download apps directly to the phone, no syncing required. (See Carrier Billing Coming to Android.)

The online version also gives developers the option to include YouTube Inc. videos to promote their apps, as well as high-resolution banners and icons to aid discoverability.

Google has been working with several developers to integrate in-app purchases. One example is Disney Mobile, which -- like many -- has been waiting for in-app billing to bring a popular app (the game Tap Tap Revenge, in this case) to Android.

Why this matters
Establishing an online store will definitely up Google's credibility with both developers and consumers. Android Market has been nowhere near as successful as Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s App Store when it comes to monetization, in large part because Google lacked a Web store like iTunes and a seamless way to pay. Google has been adding support for carrier billing, but that has proven to be only an incremental step. (See Angry Birds Like Carrier Billing and Apple Breaks 10B Apps Threshold.)

Going online does cut out Google's wireless operator partners, since the transaction is completed via a credit card, but it will likely encourage consumers to buy more data-driving apps in general.

For More
No market or billing mechanism has been able to match Apple's success with iTunes yet. Check out these stories for more on billing in app stores.

  • OS Watch (Out): Here Comes V Cast Apps

  • OS Watch: Android Earns Its Reputation

  • SK Telecom, Google Team Up

  • App Insights: Nokia Ovi Store Professes Relevance

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

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