Android Market In-App Billing Opens for Testing: Google

Google is letting developers test in-application billing, which should boost revenue opportunities in its Android Market for smartphones and tablets.

Google March 24 said it will roll out in-application billing for the Android Market next week and has opened its app store to let developers submit and test apps with this method of billing.

To this point, developers who submitted apps to the Android Market would take their 70 percent cut of the app sale and perhaps make money from mobile advertising.

In-application billing lets software developers make more money by selling virtual goods and upgrades in their apps to consumers. For example, gaming app makers can sell consumers additional levels.

Google demonstrated this service at an event at Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters Feb. 2. Disney Mobile, for example, is leveraging in-app billing through its Tap Tap Revenge for Android. This will be launched in stages and should be live before the end of the quarter.

Eric Chu, group manager for Android platform at Google, said in a blog post developers may begin uploading their apps to the developer console to create a catalog of and set prices for in-app products.

Programmers may then set up accounts to test in-app purchases, which will simulate how actual users will experience live transactions.

However, developers won't be able to publish the apps to users until the service officially launches next week. Google offers information about how to set up products lists and begin testing in-app purchasing in its developer documentation.

Adding in-app billing will be a crucial way for Google to boost monetization for the Android Market.

While this app store has roughly 150,000 applications, it has few really successful paid apps to speak of compared to Apple's iTunes App Store, which has helped developers net $3 billion from some of the store's 350,000 apps.

Now makers of apps for iOS who may have steered clear of Android Market for its paucity of payment options may be encouraged to launch on the platform.