A new Google Play Store v3.8.15 apk started rolling out to Android devices today, but upon running through its UI, I was unable to uncover anything different from the versions before that. Yet the apk size gained a few pounds kilobytes, and not knowing what the 300KB of code and resources added was killing me. Not to worry, a few minutes later, I decoded both 3.7.15 and 3.8.15 and compared their contents.

Play Store Gift Cards

What I found inarguably points to Google gearing up to finally release redeemable Play Store gift cards - something we've been anxiously waiting for since the Android Market started supporting paid apps. Earlier this year, Google renewed our hopes by adding the ability to have a Play Store balance for those who purchase a Nexus 7. This put us one step closer to gift cards, but there was still nothing concrete. What I have here today is more than concrete - it's solid evidence.

One additional interesting detail regarding gift cards popped up in the code - the Play Store is now set to intercept links to play.google.com/redeem, which currently returns a "404 page not found" error.

Update #1: Mathias Tillman was able to get a screenshot of the Redeem Activity by compiling a hacked apk.

Update #2: Shen Ye used Mathias' apk to get a few more showing the wishlist and the new menu. Check them all out below.

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In addition to adding the ability to redeem Play Store gift cards, Google is going to add a wishlist where you can add apps, books, TV shows, movies, music, and magazines. I'm not sure what exactly the point of this wishlist would be (maybe later it can turn into a cart), but presumably you'll be able to add the aforementioned types of content into a list and then buy later, perhaps after redeeming a gift card (this would explain why the two features are being added together).


The Evidence

Here's a long list of assets and strings that were all added in Play Store 3.8.15 that was released today. I'm just going to release the kraken and let those of you who understand code (or if you don't, just read the English-looking bits) soak it all in.

New Icons





ic_apps_added.png, ic_books_added.png, ic_magazines_added.png, ic_movies_tv_added.png,

image image image image

These are in addition to ic_tv_added.png and ic_music_added.png that were already present in 3.7.15:

image image

And last but not least, there seems to be a new Play Store icon (the file gplay_graphic.png is new), though I'm not sure if it's actually new to the Internet. I don't recall ever seeing it in the wild, but I may be wrong.


Layout Resources

These were added in 3.8.15:

These were changed:

  • details_section_music.xml, generic_creator_details.xml: now with added <include layout="@layout/details_wishlist" />.
  • details_wishlist.xml: now with added <ProgressBar android:id="@id/details_wishlist_progressbar" />. Presumably, this will keep track of your progress adding or buying things in your wishlist.
  • menu/base.xml: now with added <item android:icon="@drawable/ic_menu_market_redeem" android:id="@id/redeem_item" android:title="@string/redeem_gift_card" />. Looks like a new menu item is coming next to Accounts, Settings, Help, etc.

String Resources

These were added in 3.8.15:

  • <string name="redeem_gift_card">Redeem</string>
  • <string name="balance_label">Google Play balance</string>
  • <string name="no_balance">0.00</string>
  • <string name="gift_card_code_hint">Gift card code</string>
  • <string name="invalid_gift_card_code">Invalid gift card code.</string>
  • <string name="gift_cards_not_supported">Google Play gift cards are not valid in your country.</string>
  • <string name="menu_my_wishlist">My Wishlist</string>
  • <string name="keep_shopping">Keep shopping</string>

Android Manifest

These lines were added in AndroidManifest.xml, the main file that describes how the Play Store application works:

  • <data android:scheme="http" android:host="play.google.com" android:pathPrefix="/redeem" />
  • <data android:scheme="https" android:host="play.google.com" android:pathPrefix="/redeem" />


If you, like me, have been waiting for gift cards for a long time, rest assured that they're coming. I don't know when, but we're likely close if Google decided to unleash the hounds and release the Play Store apk in the wild. My guess is that they will either wait for an event or announce it after the latest Play Store has trickled through to everyone (days? weeks?).

As someone who runs a lot of giveaways, I've also wanted an ability to gift individual apps rather than gift cards, but I don't see any indication that this ability is coming at all.

Finally, we're getting a wishlist, in case you were dreaming about being able to add apps, movies, etc. to a collection to buy later. I'm not sure anyone will care - the main news here is definitely gift card support.

Exciting stuff, isn't it?