Nothing stops the impulse purchase of a mobile application faster than being asked to whip out your credit card and enter the long strong of text that appears on that chunk of plastic into a tiny textbox using a virtual keyboard. Apple solved this problem with iTunes, and it’s why people can sometimes be surprised to get a monthly statement from them that’s measured in the hundred of dollars. Google, realizing that they’ve got an issue on their hands, has been partnering with operators all around the world so that users of their Android operating system can buy applications and have said charge appear on their monthly phone bill. T-Mobile has long had the ability to do this, and now AT&T is getting it too according to a recent blog post on the Android Developers Blog.
This is one thing Nokia got right with their Ovi Store, probably the only thing, but I’ll refrain from saying more since our commenters will find out where I live and wash my mouth out with soap. Nokia leveraged their already fantastic relationship with operators to make sure that customers looking to buy anything from Angry Birds to a new wallpaper can do so with the stroke of a single key. It’s something more vendors need to work on. Apple sells iTunes gift cards, but what about RIM, Microsoft, and others?
Telefonica recently introduced a developer/payment platform called BlueVia that actually solves this issue and it not only works on any platform, but it can also be plugged into your mobile website. All you’ve got to do is code your application or web page and incorporate the right APIs and now you’ve all of a sudden got access to over 80 million customers, just waiting to buy your fart noise generator!
I kid, I kid.