"Great news, everyone!" Last week, Google launched the new in-app billing capability of the Android Market into private beta testing, promising a public release this week, if all went well. Apparently, all did go well, as the company today opened this most-exciting feature to everyone. To be fair, iOS users have been enjoying in-app billing in the App Store since 2009, so Google's move is quite a bit late (don't make me bring up the whole copy-paste thing to balance the argument!).

Want to buy a new downloadable level or music track in your favorite game? No problem - as long as the developer implemented /in-app billing, you'll be able to charge it straight to your card via the usual Google Checkout procedure.

The first games to utilize in-app billing are:

Theoretically, in-app billing should eliminate the need for the split Lite/Paid application model because in order to sell upgrade keys, Android developers won't have to reinvent the wheel with their own in-app or off-Market purchase systems. I, for one, welcome our new billing overlords.

Source: Android Developers Blog

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • http://lavadip.com HRJ

    "don’t make me bring up the whole copy-paste thing to balance the argument!"


    But seriously, here's something that is not balanced. Apple lets developers from all countries sell their apps. While Google Checkout Merchant account is available in very few countries.

    How does that relate to in-app billing? Well, Android developers who can't have Merchant accounts (because of their country) are constrained to create a PRO version and sell it through alternate channels. Or constrained to use a third-party in-app billing.

    • anyone

      that's why I'm implementing PayPal into my upcoming app

  • geemaan

    yeah, paid apps from android market are not available here. I have to put another sim card from a supported network to be able to buy some apps.

    paid apps are available from apple's appstore.

  • http://androidjet.com Android Jet

    Android finally has in-app billing system...

  • ari-free

    Essential for bringing Disney games like tap revenge. We should expect more devs to go into android now.

  • Rob

    This isn't such great news if you consider that refunds and restoring purchases on a new phone are all the responsibility of the developer, not Google when you use this new in-app purchasing.

    There's no refund window if you purchase a key to unlock the Pro features of an app like there is if you were to buy the key separately from the Android Market.

    As stated here, in the In-app Purchase Policy: https://market.android.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1061913

    I for one hope developers continue to offer Pro keys and versions on the Android Market.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Are you saying that in-app purchases don't transfer over to your new device, so you'll lose them?

      Regarding Pro features, sure a separate app will offer you a 15-min refund, but if you want to purchase a pro key, I don't see a reason why it should be refundable. If you liked the app enough after playing with the free version and now bought a key, it's quite fair to have that key be non-refundable.

      Besides, if in-app purchases were refundable, it would introduce unnecessary complexities into devs' lives - you unlock a new level or weapon, then refund it - does the app have to keep track of all refunds and revoke the level? That you are already playing potentially?

      • Rob

        > Are you saying that in-app purchases don’t transfer over to your new device, so you’ll lose them?

        Well, by the looks of things it's up to the developer to enable you to transfer purchased items over to a new phone. Personally, I'd rather trust Google to do that than put my faith in a developer I only know through a single app.

        > If you liked the app enough after playing with the free version and now bought a key, it’s quite fair to have that key be non-refundable.

        You may find yourself not using the Pro features as much as you'd hoped, or that the Pro features didn't work as well for your particular situation. Having to rely on the developer for a refund in that case would be very troublesome.

        I wouldn't purchase something for my Android phone that didn't go through Google's proper channels, and that includes their refund policy.