The Android Market has formally launched today, coinciding with the arrival of the first Android phone, the T-Mobile G1. The store is currently limited to about 50 applications, but that number should go up considerably next week when Google opens the Android Market to developers... or not. For now, applications can only be offered for free, so the real wave of games and other premium-level apps will probably arrive sometime in the first quarter of 2009, when developers are allowed to charge for them.

The search giant is taking a much more hands-off approach than Apple has taken with its iTunes App Store for iPhone / iPod touch software, seeing as there will be no quality control in the Android Market other than the community, which will be able to rate and review the apps.

Terms for developers are fairly decent, too. They need only to register and pay a onetime $25 application fee, after which they will be able to sell their applications and get 70 percent of the revenue from each purchase. This is similar to Apple's revenue model, though it should be noted that it is the carriers, not Google, who will be taking the remainder.