Developers for the Google Play app marketplace now have the choice to give potential buyers of subscription-based apps to try it out for free before you make a purchase. It’s a nice addition to the fairly new in-app subscription feature launched back in May and users are sure to be happy about it.
Previously if you wanted to subscribe to an app’s content on Android, you had to buy the subscription before you were able to get a taste of what you were paying for.
There’s somewhat of a catch with the format for the free trial. Google describes how it works: “To take advantage of a free trial, a user must “purchase” the full subscription through the standard In-app Billing flow, providing a valid form of payment to use for billing and completing the normal purchase transaction. However, the user is not charged any money, since the initial period corresponds to the free trial.” In a separate paragraph, Google adds, “When the trial period ends, Google Play automatically initiates billing against the credit card that the user provided during the initial purchase, at the amount set for the full subscription, and continuing at the subscription interval.”
Users should be aware that because of this, subscribing isn’t really presented as a choice once you download the app unless of course you get out of the free trial and delete the app. Otherwise, you’ll automatically start receiving bills for a subscription when the free trial ends.
Still, a free trial option sure beats paying for a subscription and hoping for the best. Expect developers to get on board with the try-before-you-buy option quickly. Now if only we can get Google (and Apple) to consider free trial options for non-subscription-based apps…