Google's Android App Market will begin selling applications early this year. Google had promised a way for developers to earn cash for their applications.
Apple's App Store lets developers keep 70 percent of the revenue generated from application sales. RIM's Blackberry Application Store promises to give developers 80 percent of the revenue when its store launches in March.
Google has been promising to add paid applications since its App Market debuted in October. Plans are to give developers 70 percent of the revenues. Google, however, will not keep the remaining 30 percent for itself. Rather, the company will use what's left over to cover carriers and billing-settlement fees.
Google's Official Statement
Mobile-application developer Martin Drashkov is one of many who reported receiving an e-mail from the Android Market on Tuesday. The e-mail from Eric Chu says:
"Android Market will support priced applications starting early Q1 2009, as we'd originally stated last fall. Given the country-by-country work required to set up payment support for developers in different countries, we will enable priced app support in Q1 for developers operating in these countries, in the following order: (1) United States and UK; (2) Germany, Austria and Netherlands; (3) France, Italy and Spain."
Google said it will announce support for developers operating in additional countries by the end of the first quarter and urged developers in the supported countries to finish their applications, including determining the appropriate pricing strategy.
The Impact of Paid Apps
Michael Gartenberg, vice president of mobile strategy for Jupitermedia, is eager to see what types of apps show up at the Android Market now that there is an incentive for developers. "Up until now, there was no way to be compensated for your work," he noted. "That's fine for some folks, but not for many."
It's possible that the incentive could trigger a wave of Android applications. Developers have been flocking to Apple's App Store and preparing to launch applications on the Blackberry Application Store to earn cash and perhaps some notoriety.
"If you believe you have a real hit application on your hands, there is a possibility that you might not be thrilled about giving it away," Gartenberg said. "This is an important milestone. You really have to provide the revenue opportunities for developers if you are going to jump-start the marketplace."
Drashkov reflected the general sentiment in the mobile-application space: The Android market is somewhat outclassed by Apple's App store, both in terms of the number and quality of the applications available. He expects that could change, though, with Google's latest announcement.
"With the arrival of priced applications and the profit motivator," he agreed, "we should finally see a competitive answer to Apple's App Store as developers start releasing apps they've been working on but were unable to easily sell."
Image credit: Product shots by Google.