Google took steps to alleviate a major pain point of its Android Market by expanding support for paid applications sales and purchases to additional countries.
The search engine is now letting developers sell apps built for the Android operating system in 29 countries, up from just nine through Sept. 30. Android Market accepts credit and debit card payments through Google Checkout.
Until the change, developers could sell apps in the U.S., U.K., Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands and Spain.
With the expansion, developers may now also sell apps in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, and Taiwan.
To this point, users have been able to buy paid apps from the Market in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and Switzerland.
Google is expanding that number to 32 countries over the next two weeks, said Google’s Android platform manager Eric Chu.
The Android Market is adding Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, and Taiwan as countries where users may buy apps.
While it would be nice if Google synced the countries where developers can sell and Android phone owners can buy paid apps, Google’s extension will greatly boost the opportunity for Android developers seeking to sell their applications and for buyers who want to purchase apps.
But it’s still a far cry behind the 90-plus countries where developers for Apple’s iOS iPhone and iPad platform can sell their apps.
In August, Royal Pingdom found that about 70 percent of the 250,000 apps in Apple’s App Store are paid apps, while the Android Market free-to-paid app ratio is practically a perfect inverse: 64 percent of the 95,000 apps in the Android Market are free.
Fortunately for Android developers, Google isn’t done expanding paid app support.
“Among other initiatives, we look forward to bringing the Android Market paid apps ecosystem to even more countries in the coming months,” Chu said.