In the past year the Android platform has exploded with a number of new smartphones and tablets launching as well as significant growth in the number of apps available in the Android Market. Despite its success, Google is "not happy" with lacklustre sales of paid apps in the Market, says Eric Chu, Android's platform manager. Speaking from the Inside Social Apps conference held in San Francisco earlier this week, Chu went on to give a very broad outline of Google's plan for the Android Market in 2011.
First and foremost for Android in the new year is the in-app payment system. This system will allow developers to sell products and services from within the app as well as allowing users to pay for the apps themselves. According to Chu, the new payment platform will work on the majority of Android devices currently available in the market. He added that, "helping developers monetize" was an important goal for Android and this new payment system would be a significant step towards that goal. However, the launch of the in-app payment system was delayed because Google was unable to obtain the feedback of developers as they were too preoccupied with their Christmas applications.
Nevertheless, the in-app payment will launch soon and to assist users in making payments, Chu said that Google would be instituting billing arrangements with carriers, similar to the arrangement it already has with AT&T. Carrier billing would be the "lowest-friction models", however other methods of payment would also be utilised in the future.
In spite of Android's openness and general acceptance of apps of all colours and creeds, Chu said that there is actually a team at Android who deal with removing apps that violate the Market's terms of service. Additionally, he added that steps were being taken to implement better security measures that would ensure that malware could not infect your Android phone.
It is great to see that after Android's rapid growth, Google has decided to calm down and focus on the issues that have really been troubling consumers for quite some time. I am looking forward to 2011 and the improvements it will bring to the Android Market. I just hope that these improvements are global!