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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'm confused as to what you mean here. Purchases on Play are branded "Google Wallet".
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.
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?
The 30% cut they get of each app sale: https://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/bin/...
http://android-developers.blogspot.com/2008/10/android-marke... Paragraph 4