Google has introduced a new feature that allows Android app developers to offer in-app purchases and micro-transactions to users.
The update allows developers and publishers to offer a wide range of content, such as media files, photos or other serialised content. It also allows developers to offer extra app or game-specific content, like extra levels or virtual goods.
As well as allowing in-app purchases, the feature — which launched on Tuesday — also brings with it the ability to offer users a try-before-you-buy service where the handset owner can download the app on a trial basis before deciding whether or not to buy the full version.
Instead of needing to download the 'unlocked' app again, the full version is downloaded first time around and activated if the user decides to purchase it after testing. Currently, developers offer 'lite' versions of their paid apps with a restricted feature set in a bid to encourage purchases of the full version.
However, an explanatory page on the Android Developers website notes that in-app purchases can only be implemented on applications published through the Android Market and that it cannot be used to sell "physical goods, personal services, or anything that requires physical delivery".
On 22 March, Amazon launched its Appstore for Android which integrates features common to the Amazon website, such as personalised recommendations and customer reviews, as well as new ones like Test Drive which allow customers to preview an app using an on-screen virtual Android device.