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I know that there is probably conflict between Google Wallet/Checkout - but they need to get on this issue like last YEAR -

GIFT CARDS!

It just implies that they don'y know anything about who is using Android phones in the U.S. I only have my gut to back this up (after observing who carries Android for the past 2 1/2 years or so) but Android devs will be able to make so much more money once Google starts selling gift cards in retail stores.

Why? Metro PCS, Boost Mobile, and teenagers. My guess is that they're a large part of the Android user base that is very unlikely to link up a credit card to their account. They would however be great candidates to use gift cards bought for them on birthdays/holidays.

I swear if they don't do this soon, it'll only keep more and more developers from releasing apps on Android. /rant




Exactly that!

My sister (18) certainly has no credit cards. Once she got gift cards for iTunes (to buy music, actually) she also bought a few apps (for her iPod touch) – because it’s convenient and she has credit to spend there anyway. She hasn’t even considered to buy anything for her Android phone, though, mostly because finding a way to pay there is so damn inconvenient.

It’s not like you really need apps – but if the barrier is really low people will be happy to buy (mostly because everything is so cheap). Gift cards would help lower that barrier (if you can get them really everywhere, just like iTunes gift cards).

The biggest problem then might be brand awareness. My sister has a Sony Xperia Play (which I think is a pretty nice phone if you look at the hardware and ignore the software). That’s what she knows about the phone. There is no big Apple or big Google logo on it to show what kind of gift card she has to get. Marketing those gift cards so that people actually know what to get would be nightmare. Naming and branding is a disaster area in the Android space. It’s confusing as hell.


I think most Android users who've downloaded an app recognize the Market. It should be ubiquitous on Google approved Android devices - I'm sure a gift card with an Android on it and the Market (well, Play) logo should be fairly recognizable.


I’m very skeptical of that. The environment on those branded and customized Android phones is an extremely confusing one.


The bag with the Android logo seems like a universal brand even among different manufacturers.


What?! A bag? Do you really think people keep or care about and remember that? Really?!

And even then, Google just opened this Play thing, no Android logo in sight. What the hell is going on there.

I think if you are a nerd and stuck in the middle of it you can’t really see the craziness of it all, but believe me, it’s crazy.


How so?


As someone with a couple apps on the Market, I wish I could also issue promo/gift codes for those apps (iTunes lets you generate promo codes).

I could send someone the APK file, yes, but then they'd need to sideload it. And, they wouldn't get updates from the Market from it, so I'd have to keep sending them new copies of the package. That isn't really a tenable solution.


This was probably the single biggest reason why I didn't participate in the last Humble Bundle. Having to sideload APKs of updated games is a huge timesink that I'd rather not have to deal with.


Really? I was able to open my Humble Bundle download link on my phone, which took me to a mobile-formatted page with direct links to the APKs. I just had to tap on them, open the "finished download" notification, and tap Install.


Yes, but every time they release an update you have to go to that page again and redownload the APK. You can't just open up the market and click "Update all".

And that's even if you hear about the updates. I've never seen any email from them after I've purchased a game telling me about new updates; you have to hear about that stuff through Twitter.


My understanding is that all you need to do is make sure your app is signed by your market key and it's version code is lower than the update you'd release on the market next and those people will get a proper update from the market. This really shouldnt be an issue. Ive done this on my android phones.


No. This doesn't work. At least not for the Humble Bundle games. The market shows an update available for Osmos, but when I click the update button it says it couldn't download the update because I haven't purchased the app.


Or "send as gift". Just yesterday I wanted to give my girlfriend some android game (she doesn't have a credit card) and there is no way to do it (amazon app store only works in USA, or at least not here where I am).


I am not an android user, but I do have several apple products. Now that you mention it, that is surprising and to add to that, I only buy apps/music/books from Apple through a gift card. Our account is somehow messed up so that it will not take our credit card, so we can only use gift cards. I wounder how much of Apples purchases came because of the use of a Gift Card. My guess is a sizable chunk 20% - 30%


I totally agree. I have an Android phone, but I've had an iPod for years. I really don't like iTunes, but at least it does a good job of making it stupid easy to stumble into purchasing content and apps. I have gotten a lot of gift cards over the years and they got me in the habit of "impulse-buying" tracks.

If Google wants to get people in the habit of buying content from this service without asking for those magic digits, they really need this gift card solution.


I know that there is probably conflict between Google Wallet/Checkout

I'm confused as to what you mean here. Purchases on Play are branded "Google Wallet".


Not between Wallet AND Checkout, but in integrating the Wallet "system" with a system of POS-purchased gift cards. I expect that since Google is trying to get its arms around what is left of Checkout, and what is being built with Wallet, that adding in another big implementation of payments (prepaid cards that people will probably work hard to defraud) is not what they're super-excited to tackle.


My wife hasn't ever linked her credit card with the market, mainly because the fact there are even apps is likely news to her.


It is absolutely remarkable that Google isn't on this yet.

Over the holiday season we gave out a number of iTunes gift cards to family. People are far more free with cash when it comes via a gift card than when it comes to their "own" money (or, I suspect, if it was cash). There is little doubt that many transactions occurred that wouldn't have if people didn't have this avenue.


> "It is absolutely remarkable that Google isn't on this yet."

I wonder if it isn't a situation similar to their slow speed in getting the international interfaces for android market off the ground: that is, for-pay "Apps" are simply not aligned with Google's preferences or best-interests.

They would, I'd imagine, very much like the idea of for-pay apps to simply go away. Not only do for-pay apps threaten the money-train that Google's advertising network has built, but they threaten the relevance of search itself, should more and more data disappear behind proprietary interfaces.

So what motivation does Google really have, to throw resources at the problems facing paid-app economics?

(edit: spelling)


> So what motivation does Google really have, to throw resources at the problems facing paid-app economics?

The 30% cut they get of each app sale: https://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/bin/...


That fee goes to the carriers and payment processors. Google doesn't take a cut.

http://android-developers.blogspot.com/2008/10/android-marke... Paragraph 4


And here I was hoping it would be a damn nice RSS/Video downloader/player in the way Google Listen is a fantastic RSS/Audio player...




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