Since last week, publishers and other app developers can sell subscriptions with recurring payments through their Android apps. For the past year Android developers could conduct one-time transactions, such as single-issue sales, through in-app purchases. But only now can Android users authorize automatic monthly or annual payments for a subscription.
Apple has offered in-app subscriptions on iOS devices since February 2011. Just like Apple, Google will process subscription payments and take a 30 percent cut.
The change could improve the profitability of developing for Android, which has more users than iOS but has generated less sales revenue. Google says 23 of the 24 top-grossing apps in its market already use in-app billing, and the revenue from in-app purchases exceeds revenue from paid app downloads.
Other challenges for Android development remain, however, including a varying spectrum of devices, software versions and screen sizes.