Google has just announced that Android apps will soon be able to support a subscription model so that apps developers can charge users on a recurring basis to access in-app services or content. This opens new possibilities for many genres of Android applications and business models. In its announcement, Google mentioned a few types of app and content that could benefit from this: “journals, magazines, bundled products, game levels, music and video content, value-added services, or any other digital content”
Prior to this introduction, few developers were big enough to manage their own subscription infrastructure and it was difficult for startups to jump on-board. Now, developers only need to set the price, and Google takes care of the recurring billing. On the user side, this allows information about subscription payment to be clearly labeled in Google Play store, and Google can even email subscribers about any payment changes.
The subscription billing works with a web-based API that can not only serve the Android apps themselves, but can extend to the websites that support those apps. While this may sound innocuous, this is actually a big deal because this effectively extends the usefulness of this billing system beyond Android, and into “the web”. Developers can check the documentation of this feature, and the subscription model is up and running right now.