updated 03:00 pm EST, Fri February 13, 2009
Android Market Paid Apps
Google this afternoon revealed that Android Market has the infrastructure in place for developers to charge money for apps downloaded through the mobile store. The implementation uses Google Checkout for the backing infrastructure and will let developers set their own prices through the same system used to publish the apps themselves. A limited rollout is planned and will start first with the US in the middle of next week, while Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain coming before the end of March.
Other countries will also get paid apps for the Market and will be announced sometime in the same period.
The launch is a crucial step for Android. Paid apps have been available for the platform but have had to go outside of Android Market to work, where the apps are less likely to be visible. An absence of commercial software has also skewed more of Android's third-party app base towards small utilities and other software that can be developed for free.
Most apps at Apple's App Store for the iPhone, whose OS is the most direct competitor to Android, are still free but have been supplemented by games and professional apps that until now have been impractical on Android.