Google introduces in-app subscriptions for Android

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Google has announced that Google Play now supports in-app subscriptions for Android devices, meaning developers can charge users monthly or yearly through their apps.

In-app billing had been available on Play since March last year – when it was still known as the Android Market – however this new move to subscriptions will be more convenient for developers, who only need to set the billing interval and price while Play does the rest.

Google also hopes the new system will be more convenient and flexible for app users, with Play sending emails to users after each renewal, alongside highlighting subscription details.

Ibrahim Elbouchikhi, Google Play product manager, told the Android Developers blog: “While making it easy for developers to offer a great purchasing experience, our subscriptions are also designed for flexibility.

“Developers can use them to monetise premium dynamic content such as journals and magazines, but they can also use them to sell access to bundled products, game levels, music and video content, value-added services, or any other digital content,” he added.

Elbouchikhi also noted that “several developers” were preparing their latest apps with the in-app subscription technology, including Glu Mobile, creators of Frontline Commando, which is rolling out their Android subscription service alongside a VIP currency package.

With Android lagging behind iOS in terms of revenue generation, will this open up more potential revenue streams for both Google and developers? How much easier will this make things for developers?

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