Could Google be gearing up to offer paid apps in the Android Market starting next week? It might just happen.
We’ve been expecting Google to start accepting premium, for-pay Android applications into the Android Market sometime in this half of 2009. And, with T-Mobile currently rolling out the Android RC33 update to T-Mobile G1 owners in the US, Google is seemingly poised to finally start peddling premium applications through the Android Market.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
“This week Google will start allowing developers to charge for software sold through the Android Market, according to people familiar with the matter.”
The WSJ article only makes a passing reference to Google’s Android Market as part of an analysis of Microsoft’s mobile strategy, but it was enough to catch the attention of Android-savvy smartphone users around the blogosphere. The unassuming sentence in the WSJ has sparked speculation that Google will unleash premium Android applications later this week. But, there is also the distinct possibility that for-pay Android apps will debut next week, coinciding with the start of Mobile World Congress 2009.
Considering that the Android RC33 update isn’t scheduled to be completely rolled out until Feb. 15th, Google might just hold off on flipping the premium-app switch until the RC33 update penetrates the US fleet of T-Mobile G1’s. Even with the RC33 update floating around and ready to force-update any G1 to the latest Android OS build, there are likely thousands of G1’s roaming T-Mobile network with pre-RC33 firmware. If Google were to wait until T-Mobile finishes rolling out the update, it would push the launch of premium Android apps until at least next week.
This week, next week, next month, whatever the case, all eyes are on the Android Market to deliver on a monetizable distribution model. Just don’t go holding your breath for it to happen…