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T-Mobile Plans On-bill Android Purchases Nov. 17

T-Mobile will let its subscribers pay for Android applications on their monthly mobile bills starting Nov. 17, also introducing its own section of the Android Marketplace that day.

Users of the carrier's three Android handsets will have the option of picking out applications from among the roughly 12,000 in the Android Market and having the purchase charge show up on their T-Mobile bills. The carrier will then pay the app developers their share of the charge on the back end, said Cole Brodman, chief technology officer and senior vice president for technology, at the Open Mobile Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Apple spearheaded mobile-application shopping with its App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch, which goes through a consumer's stored value or credit-card account on Apple's iTunes. With the App Store now boasting more than 100,000 applications, Android backers such as T-Mobile are trying to create a purchase experience that consumers will flock to as much as they have to Apple's platform.

Brodman characterized T-Mobile's billing system as a simple, "one-click" purchase method that doesn't require the user to give credit-card information or personal credentials. So far, Android users generally have had to use Google Checkout to pay for applications, but Google has said it wants a variety of payment choices for the market.

Also on Nov. 17, T-Mobile will introduce its own channel within the Android Market. It will allow T-Mobile to highlight its own applications and those of specific developer partners, Brodman said. Mobile developers have expressed concern about how they can get consumers' attention with their applications in increasingly crowded mobile marketplaces. Verizon plans to have its own channel in the Android Market when its first Android phone, the Motorola Droid, goes on sale Thursday. Last week, Sprint Nextel told developers it would launch its own application store with marketing opportunities for partner companies.

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