The number of Android smartphone users is rising quickly
, but the number of purchases of paid apps in the Android Market is not growing at a comparable pace. Google is downright "not happy" about the purchases of paid apps, Google's Android platform manager Eric Chu said during a question and answer session at the Inside Social Apps conference in San Francisco, according Forbes
Chu then outlined a vague roadmap for Android apps in 2011:
- In-app payments system: it's coming this quarter, allowing app users to make purchases within an app, in addition to paying for apps themselves.
- Carrier billing: In December, Google launched its first instance of carrier billing with AT&T, where users could directly bill apps to their phone bill rather than using another payment system. More such billing arrangements with carriers around the world are coming, and while working with carriers to set this up is both expensive and time-consuming, Google knows it is very valuable to users.
- Improve user discovery of apps: In addition to the team in charge of weeding out apps that violate Android Market's terms of service, Google will be continuing to tune the ranking algorithm to make it easier for users to discover the best apps.
- Getting social: Google will be promoting the Android address book for developers, so that it aggregates user contacts from multiple sources, not just Google's own address books.
- HTML5: for Android apps, Google is "betting on" HTML5 as a way to create apps.
If you're an Android developer or end-user, what specific improvements do you want to see for paid apps in the Android Market?