Adding fuel to the ongoing app boom, Google just launched in-app billing for the Android Market. Until now, "One of the biggest gripes Android developers have about the ecosystem has been ... it's taken ages for it to support in-app payments," reports TechCrunch. Calling the move "a big deal," MobileBeat says it facilitates a "free-to-play business model, where users can use an app for free and then pay real money for virtual goods in small transactions."
What's more, "The system basically gives developers equal opportunity to make money, whether they're on Android or Apple's iOS mobile operating system," MobileBeat adds.
Computerworld puts the move in the context of Google's broader efforts to improve the Android Market -- as it has "has been seen by many as the weak point in the Android ecosystem, which has opened the door for competing stores from, for example, Amazon, which launched its Appstore for Android." Going forward, "It should be interesting to see whether Android users are as eager to spend their money on game currency and magazines as their iPhone-toting counterparts," writes The Next Web.
Either way, "It will ... make Android more competitive with Apple and iOS," eMoney assures. "Previously, the only other way to monetize on Android was to sell an application, or to embed advertising." More broadly, "They're sometimes controversial to parents confronted with huge bills, but in-app purchases done correctly offer users a way to unlock premium content within an application and developers a way to make money while still offering free applications," paidContent explains.