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Android Gets In-App Purchasing, and Finally Draws Even With Apple's App Store

Google (GOOG) is finally adding in-app purchases to its Android apps, which means consumers can spend additional money while within an app. In-app purchases have already been very successful for Apple's (APPL) app publishers. Google's move will bring over new developers who, traditionally, have had a hard time making money with Android.

Paves way for freemium titles
Publishers making a serious profit in the mobile space aren't charging premium prices. Instead, they're making the app free and charging for the microtransactions. Capcom's iPhone hit game Smurfs' Villiage is free to play and sells items in-game that unlock new levels and experiences. So-called freemium apps are quickly turning into the lifeblood of the Apple App Store, and now they can finally come to the Android Market.

Android app creators actually may make a profit
The in-app purchases also show that Google actually cares about whether developers can make a living in its ecosystem. The Android Market has long been plagued with issues that have discouraged sales. The Android Market search results make it hard for consumers to find apps. Worse, the Android app purchase setup has been so bad that major publishers, including Rovio of Angry Birds fame, have resorted to creating their own marketplace outside of Google.

The addition of in-app purchasing represents a shift in Google's attitude and may be a first big step toward fixing the Android Market.

Photo courtesy of Cristiano Betta // CC 2.0
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