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Google lets programmers sell Android apps

Previously developers only could offer free applications for the T-Mobile G1 on Google's Android Market. Now there's a more direct profit motive.

The Android Market, Google's online repository of applications for the T-Mobile G1 and succeeding devices using the search giant's mobile-phone operating system, now lets organizations charge money for their software.

The T-Mobile G1 updating to firmware 1.1.
The T-Mobile G1 updating to firmware 1.1. Stephen Shankland/CNET News

"I'm pleased to announce that Android Market is now accepting priced applications from US and UK developers," said Eric Chu in a blog post Friday. "Initially, priced applications will be available to end users in the US starting mid next week."

Google gives programmers 70 percent of Android app revenue, with the remainder going to wireless service carriers, minus billing settlement fees. Buyers and sellers must use Google Checkout to make their purchases.

Apple has had strong success with its App Store for selling iPhone and iPod Touch applications. Google is taking a different approach with its market, though, relying on users to rate applications rather than screening each one before it's published.

Until now, Android Market had only offered free applications. But Google has been working to improve it from its initial incarnation. "Android Market is able to distinguish among different Android devices. As devices are released, Android Market will ensure that users only see applications that will work correctly on their devices," Google said.

Support in other countries will follow. "We will also enable developers in Germany, Austria, Netherlands, France, and Spain to offer priced applications later this quarter. By the end of Q1 2009, we will announce support for developers in additional countries," Chu said.

Chu also said free applications would be available through Android Market in Australia beginning Sunday and in Singapore "in coming weeks."