Google's Android App Market will begin selling applications in early 2009, according to blogger and app developer Martin Drashkov. Drashkov and other developers have been receiving e-mail from Google alerting them of upcoming plans for the Android Mobile OS and the system's App Market. In a blog post, Drashkov says that the paid Market will first hit the U.S. and the U.K with roll-outs to Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, France, Italy, and Spain shortly thereafter. Not all of these countries have an Android-based phone available to them yet, and Google also has to set up payment systems for many of these countries. Unlike Apple's iTunes Store, Google does not have the ability to collect money from retail sales across the globe.
The move comes as no surprise and ends a trial period for the App Market since it first opened in October. Google had promised right from the beginning that it would allow paid applications in early 2009 with 70 percent of market revenue going straight to developers. However, unlike Apple (which also feeds 70 percent of App Store revenue to developers) Google will not take a cut with the remaining 30 percent covering "carriers and billing settlement fees."
With developers now able to charge for their work, we should see a host of new applications added to the hundreds already available on the Android Market. It will be interesting to see if Google's open submission policy will drive innovation, as opposed to the many complaints from iPhone developers about Apple's secretive approval process for the iPhone App Store.
Another problem could be the multitude of different phones expected to use the Android OS. Unlike the iPhone, a one-size fits all mentality won't work as certain phones may have greater abilities than others. Currently, only T-mobile offers an Android-based phone; however, Motorola plans to release an Android phone in 2009 and rumors of an Android-based handset from Lenovo Mobile emerged just a few weeks ago. There was also some speculation that Nokia could join the Android fray, but those rumors were quashed when the company announced its Symbian mobile OS would go open source to challenge Android.
Thinking about getting an Android phone? While most Android Apps are available only through an Android mobile phone, you can see a selection of Android apps here and check out our review of the HTC's G1, the Android-based phone from T-Mobile.