At Google on Wednesday, the company demonstrated its upcoming Honeycomb Android OS again and launched a web-based store for Android applications.
Chris Yerna, Engineering director, Android Cloud Services: "The Android Market Web Store is basically the new way that users can get applications on their devices. Up until now, the way you would browse applications and install them is by using the Android Market client on your phone. But now, with today's release of the Android Market Web Store, users can go to their browser, discover and browse through the entire catalog of Android applications on Android Market, as well as install and purchase directly to their device from the Web."
For each app purchase, visitors to the Web store can choose among their stored credit-card numbers and pick the Android device where they would like to have the app installed.
Also on Wednesday, Google announced a software development kit for in-app purchasing, which will allow consumers to buy additional features and services from within their own apps. While this may add convenience for users, it also offers a new revenue stream for developers.
"We've gotten a fair amount of consistent feedback from developers that they would like to have additional ways to monetize their applications on Android Market. So I'm very pleased to announce that support for in-app purchases is coming to Android Market applications. And what this means is that developers who integrate with our in-app purchasing SDK will be able to sell a variety of virtual goods directly from within their applications."
Google is releasing the SDK now and expects in-app purchases to be available by the end of March. Bart Decrem [DECK-rum] of Disney Mobile demonstrated a purchase from within the company's Tap Tap Revenge music game.
Bart Decrem, SVP & GM, Disney Mobile: "So we'll tap on the icon and it'll take you to our store that's inside the app, and then all you do is you tap to purchase the track pack. And this is the new in-app purchasing UI from Android. You see the price, which we specify as a developer, and then the user has the credit cards that they've entered, or carrier billing that's available for that device. And now I'm going to tap on the button, and here goes the in-app purchase transaction. And there it is."
The Honeycomb OS, first demonstrated at CES last month, is a version of Android designed for tablets. At Wednesday's event, Google demonstrated the OS on the Motorola Xoom tablet.
Fred Chung, Developer advocate: "With Honeycomb, the idea is to leverage the bigger tablet screen size by packing in richer content."
The Xoom, which was also unveiled at CES, is expected to ship from Verizon Wireless by the end of March.