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Slow Growth in Android App Sales Triggers Major Changes, Paypal VP Heads to Google

Google’s Android platform manager Eric Chu had a chance to chat with the folks at the Inside Social Apps conference on Tuesday and made it very clear that they are not satisfied right now with the performance of the paid app market on Android.  In fact, he even rattled off a list of changes that will take place over the next few months to help developers succeed on this platform.  While they are activating hundreds of thousands of phones each day, they want this platform to succeed in other key areas, most importantly, through a market.

  • The list topper and one that we’ll likely see very soon is an in-app payment system which means that developers will be able to include add-ons to their apps that users  can purchase.  Not only will this help increase revenues for the devs, but it’s also a way to bring additional features to users who need some new spice in their applications.
  • The second step will be to offer carrier billing to more than just AT&T.  The plan is to give users the opportunity to add application charges straight to their bill, which in theory, increases app purchases.  This method is apparently very expensive and time consuming, but Chu made it clear that they are working on it.
  • There is a team at Google dedicated to making apps easier to find.  They are also in charge of weeding out the bad apps, but moving the best stuff forward will likely help out the entire market.  We all know how difficult it can be to find new and useful apps, so this is great news for everyone.

Here’s to hoping that these changes are almost ready to go.  We’ve seen a nice spike in quality apps over the last couple of months, but we also want the developers behind these apps to feel welcomed and to be rewarded for their outstanding work.

And on a now-related note, a VP of mobile at Paypal has decided to brings his talents to the Google side of the world.  His role with Paypal was to help bring them up to speed on all things mobile, so he seems like a great choice to help lead a new payment system for our favorite mobile OS.  This could mean that an option to buy apps using Paypal is out, but we’d rather have a native Google option anyway, right?

Via:  Forbes, GigaOM

Cheers Andrew!

  • I’m all for developers of USEFUL apps to make more money on their apps. But an in app payment system? No thanks. I’m not going to buy my apps piecemeal and I’m sure many others aren’t either.

  • Sam

    How is Google going to “not be evil” with Paypal management coming in?

  • Anonymous

    Also like the other guy said..google make an app store online or downloadable! come on….apple…….link it with your book store and a music store or amazon mp3….and lets role….cmon…. lol

  • Anonymous

    FINALLY GOOGLE, YAY…..TAKE OUT THOSE CRAPPY APPS….I MEAN YOU KNOW HOW MANY PUZZLES THERE ARE? MAKE THE APP RULES A LITTLE BIT STRICTER… i mean you can’t allow all the crappy apps in and expect to have sales especially since most are free…thank god…lol….but you do have good apps….just go after them and their dev’s. Bring paypal pls…

  • Jawshua

    Paid add-ons!? Well goodbye updates! Now every time you want an update you’ll have to pay more money…..oh boy!!!!

    This news is almost as awesome as when Google decided to change the refund window time to 15 minutes! I wonder if people are buying less now because they don’t have time to evaluate an paid app to see if it’s quality material and it works on their phone. I don’t know…. COULD EFFING BE THE PROBLEM!?

    Thanks Google for shoving it even farther down are collective orifices. Great customer service!

    • Flyinion

      Uh, reading comprehension fail? It doesn’t say paid updates, likely the Dev would have to put a new standalone upload on the market for that. It’s talking about addons for the app. For instance, I use Lightning Bug for an alarm clock/sleep machine. A couple months ago the Dev introduced paid addons for it that have more sleep machine sounds/themes/etc. You can browse them in the app, but to purchase it takes you to the Market app. The proposed change would let you in this case buy the addon sound/theme package from within the app itself saving you time.

  • Anonymous

    No word on an itunes card styled program? You enter the code and get credited on your gmail account? I cannot believe the only way a kid can buy an app on android is with credit card or visa gift card. This is a glaring hole in the app market and paid apps. Unbelievable if this is not being talked about. Fortunately my nephews and such have ipods and ipads, though I did get visa gift cards this year (at $4 off the top charge plus .09 cents off every month card isn’t used, or whatever.) Still, parents hear visa gift card and they get ears up… itunes card? How thoughtful!!! Meh. Come on. App sales down blah blah blah. Clear remedy in my opinion: app market card.

  • SuperRay

    I want to manage my apps and purchases on my pc!

  • EC8CH

    All the apps I’ve paid for are related to rooting in one form or another…

    Here’s an idea then, make it easier to root our phones to increase paid app sales!

    • Flyinion

      Lol no kidding, I think the only non-root related app I’ve paid for is Beautiful Widgets. I’m seriously thinking of paying for Launcher Pro but I don’t have a huge desire for any of the widgets so I haven’t yet.

      They DEFINITELY need to make it easier to find stuff in the market. I decided I wanted to try out ADW for a bit the other day on my Sapphire setup since it came on a couple ROMs I was checking out. It took me about 20 minutes to find it in the market because no matter how I searched it came back with 100’s of ADW themes and I couldn’t find the app itself. I finally got lucky and got it to appear.

  • Towel73

    The in-app payment system is the worst change for the consumer. It is ruining Apple’s App Store games. If you pay for an app, they should not allow in app purchases. Free updates only.

  • Anonymous

    As a rough estimate, I’ve spent close to $200 in the Android Market. When I show one of my Android-toting friends a paid app, they almost always think it’s cool, but almost never buy it. I think one of the problems is that companies like VZW constantly market Android as having tons of “free” apps. Therefore, users expect all apps to be free. In any case, below is a list of Paid apps that I recommend. I also think Google should buy AppBrain.

    WeatherBug Elite
    Wunder Radio
    X-Plane 9
    Root Explorer

    For the outdoorsy/nature type:
    Orvis Fly Fishing
    iBird Explorer Pro
    Sibley Birds of North America
    Audubon Birds (I recommend all of the Green Mountain Digital apps)

    • DroidLady

      Please add the following to the recommended paid apps list:

      Beautiful Widgets

      I could not live with out the aforementioned apps. I believe the most expensive one was $7, not a lot for the convenience, ease of use and functionality of a quality app.

      I recently rooted, so I plan on buying the Pro versions of Rom Manager, Titanium Backup to make the process easier when I update my rom/theme again.

  • Anonymous

    How’s that whole 15-minute refund period working for you Google?

    Oh, app purchase numbers suck? Imagine that!

  • EGX

    I won’t purchase anything that I’m not 100% sure about until the 15 min window is lifted. Next up is to clean the market up. I have all but given up looking for apps as the market is so convoluted.

    Google should think about protecting the customers interests as well. So many of the apps are just plain junk and devs keep them on the top of “just added” list by changing nothing but the build number.

  • Legion

    I hate to admit it, but we need an approval process for market. Leaving the market open is a failed experiment, when we have a handful of people uploading hundreds of useless apps, and other peoples apps as their own, and noone has any way to do anything about it, we have failed.

    Thread on XDA about people taking free apps and uploading it as their own.

  • jboy06

    The market…even with the new Market app, is still a stinking mess. You wanna know who does App stores right? Apple. Apple combined with iTunes has created the best app marketplace ever. As Android goes down in flames, the Verizon iPhone will pickup the pieces and bring all ex Droid owners to a new golden age of app/smartphone awareness.

    • scrizzo

      Compared to the other markets out there, Android isn’t as bad as you make it seem. Apple did do a decent job with their app store but lets not forget how much control they have over it. They filter their apps, Android doesn’t so the loss of quality control was eventually going to happen.

      And Android is far from “going down in flames” , my friend but from the looks of your postings thats something you can’t accept. iOS has lots of catching up to do compared to Android’s offerings. Even ATT recognized that with the addition of the Atrix in their line-up.

  • Djyosnow

    Give me a raise…gas prices are jumping & I thought we were in a recreation? Yes 15 min to try an app is to short….

  • I source all of my good app purchases off of blogs (like this), forums and Twitter. Without those sources of app release news, I’d be totally lost on what decent apps had been released for me to buy.

    Improvements are most welcomed. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    While there are loads of great apps, you’d never be able to find many of them because of the mess that the market is in. In this aspect android could really learn something from apple

  • Kdkinc

    Boycott the market until they loosen the 15 minute time period