Google Market for Android Paid Apps Launch = Fail
Android developers have been waiting for the ability to list pay-for applications in Googles Market, but now most of them wish it had never arrived because the experience it’s giving users may just turn them off Android forever.
The first joy is the “copy protection” offered by Google. Developers can turn this on for their apps but doing so can stop a the application running at all regardless of if it’s been copied. If a developers application does run, then, well it’s not really all that well protected because it took less than 12 hours to break it using tools which have been available for months. So for starters the anti-piracy measures included are worthless even if they let your application run when it should.
But hey, developers can switch it off and trust users to be honest, well, that’s true, but don’t worry, that’s screwed as well, because even if you turn off copy protection there’s no guarantee that your users will be able to download the applications, and because Google offer a 24 hour no questions asked refund customers who encounter this problem can get a refund and write the developer off as useless when there isn’t a problem with anything the developer has done.
But you’d think developers can see their feedback and see whats going on, well, some can, but not if they’ve bought a development ‘phone from Google, or they’ve bought a G1 in the UK, because the only people who can see Googles comments are those who can buy apps, and, for some reason, Google decided to roll out the pay-for feature to US G1’s without running any form of wide beta test using the army of ADP owners out there.
And if you’re a UK developer, well, then you’re going to be handicapped at the outset. UK developers can list pay-for apps, but, because of the limitations of Google Checkout, they can only list them in British pounds (despite the only customers being in the US and used to US Dollars), and they can’t see any of the comments because, as I pointed out before, only US G1s can see paid for apps.
So there we have it, Googles take on a revenue generating mobile application store; If you enable the copy protection you run the risk your app won’t run and even if it does run it’s not really protected, if the users buy an app there’s no guarantee they can download it, if you bought a development phone you can’t see your app or the comments users are making about it, and if you have a UK G1 you’re not only in the same position as someone who bough a development ‘phone, but you have the added bonus that you can’t list apps in the currency that your customers use.
As was suggested on the mailing list, Steve Jobs must be laughing his ass off at this.