Tis the season, Android shoppers. Today there's a cavalcade of games from a variety of developers on sale in the Google Play Store, as well as some of Loud Crow's interactive books for children. We haven't seen any word of when this sale will end, so if you want any of the games or apps listed above, get 'em while they're hot. First, to the game shelf!
It seems like we can't go more than a week or two without hearing that one of Google's content services has rolled out to a new country. Today, Russia is getting in on the action with Play Books and Movies now available throughout the country. You can purchase books like normal, and movies are available both for rental and purchase.
Prices for movie rentals start at around 49 rubles (USD$1.60) and purchases start at 99 rubles (USD$3.22).
After the successful launches of Play Music in Europe, Magazines in Canada, and Movies in a handful of countries, Google has made another step in its international Play crusade, today bringing Movies and Books to Brazil.
Android users in South America's largest country will now have access to thousands of Brazilian titles from Google's collection, along with movies and TV shows. Interestingly, Google's own international availability page hasn't been updated at the time of writing to reflect the expansion to Brazil, but just the same, users can access the store and look for their favorite titles.
When Ron tore down the most recent Play Store APK, he discovered references to pre-orders hiding within. It wasn't clear at the time just what this option would apply to, but now we know! It's books! According to a new help page, if an item on Play Books is not yet available, you may find a pre-order option that you can use to place a reservation. Neat!
The page also states that when you place a pre-order, your credit card will not be charged until the book is available.
One of the most common questions users have regarding Google's various content offerings is "Why isn't it available in [insert any number of countries here]?" Google has been working to change that, offering more and more of the Play Store's non-app content abroad. In that spirit, today it announced that Google Play Movies is now available in Korea (where we saw Eric Schmidt having some Gangnam style fun earlier this week).
Last month, Google announced that it would be ending all legal disputes with French authors and publishers in an effort to bring books to a wider audience. The announcement came following the French Publishers and Author's Associations withdrawal of their suits against Google, and marked a "win-win solution" which opened "the possibility for out-of-print books to reach a wide audience," while maintaining commercial rights for authors.
Following up on that announcement, Google added a post to its European Public Policy Blog today indicating that Google Play Books has officially arrived in France.
Not a bad week for German Android fans. First on the map in Europe with the recently-reviewed LG Optimus 4X HD, and now the release of books for sale in the Google Play store. The soccer team's not doing too badly, either.
Posted today on its Google+ account, Google Play announced the availability of book purchases effective immediately in Germany, including plenty of German-language bestsellers.
Two weeks ago, Google announced a series of expansions to carrier billing options for Play Store Apps, Movies, Books, and Music on various carriers. While some changes went into effect immediately, Sprint, which already allowed direct billing for apps, was one carrier that was listed as "coming soon."
As of today, all three additional options are available to Sprint customers: books, music, and movies. Not surprisingly, carrier billing is the default option since it's by far the cheapest to carriers and Google as they get to bypass credit card fees.
If you prefer not to give Google your credit card info, and would rather consolidate all your Play Store payments into one big carrier bill, then we've got some good news for you. Google just announced an expansion to the carrier billing system that now includes the ability to charge books, movies, and music to your carrier bill, in addition to apps.
The full list of carriers that support the new billing is above.
Google unleashed a small round of updates today, bringing new features to both the Play Books and Street View apps. Play Books has been updated with a brand new UI for devices running Android 2.2/2.3, including the nifty 3D page-turning animation users of Books' tablet interface have come to know and love.
Users can also add home screen shortcuts for individual books, allowing you to jump straight into your favorite book without actually opening the app.