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Android Market reaches 10 Billion downloads but it needs to do something else

I’ve just read this news about Google’s Android Market reaching it’s 10 billion download. But I have this crazy idea that this is not enough. They need to do something to really make Android and the Android Market work for the global audience — that is add Prepaid / Gift Card functionality to the Android Market ecosystem.

Global Android user should be the focus

As of today, if you want to buy an Android app from the Android Market, you need to have a credit card to pay for the app. This is not the most ideal situation in most cases, especially now that Android is evolving so fast. If we just follow the 80/20 rule, this would mean that only 20% of the users on Android phones have a credit card.

The superior Android phone that we had a year ago are now the mid range phones available to the masses. This once state of the art Android phones are now trickling down to lower pyramid of users.

For example, our children are now using more capable (hardware-wise) phones and they don’t exactly have credit cards you know. But wouldn’t it be awesome if there was some way for parents to buy their children a fixed amount of prepaid load that they can use to buy apps for their phones. For instance, maybe some ebook that they need to do research for school. Instead of giving them a credit card, give them money (prepaid card) to buy it on their Android mobile phone.

Another use case scenario – there is a portion of the global work force that may not have a credit card. A prepaid card that they can use to buy Android apps for their mobile phones would make sense. If some of them have credit cards, some of them may prefer being able to buy a prepaid card so as not to expose them to a greater financial risk by using their credit card online.

Android Developers

By providing such a feature inside the Android Market ecosystem, Android developers will now have a larger market to sell their apps. They would now also be able to sell them to Android users who would otherwise won’t be able to buy apps simply because they don’t have credit cards.

Having prepaid cards, would probably solve some of the hindrances to allowing Android developers from other countries to be able to sell their apps.

Google’s next money source

I hope Google reads this. If I remember it right, there was at least 200 million android devices being used globally. Let’s just say that 50% of that number doesn’t have a credit card and is willing to spend $5 / month in the Android Market for apps, ebooks or music. At that amount, there would be at least $500 million stored in some Google bank earning interest. And once the amount is used to buy a digital property, the 30% of the amount goes back to Google’s coffers as part of it’s share from the developers.

Google can also scale this feature by allowing global “prepaid ecard” resellers. This will make it a lot easier to make app purchases available worldwide. I could already think of how these resellers, just by using an Android phone would be able to sell these “stored loads” to other Android users around the globe but that can be another article altogether

This is just a very simple scenario. I’m sure someone at Google can do the math and be surprised that there is a global prepaid market that is waiting to be tapped. This can essentially make Google become an online bank where people put money that can be used to buy “digital wares”.

Do good, not evil

All this is swell. One of the reasons I thought of this crazy idea is that because there are healthy prepaid ecosystems around the globe. Something that the first world countries are probably not used to. I only have one request from Google in case they do decide to implement this — DON’T PUT A EXPIRATION DATE ON THE PREPAID AMOUNT. After all the stored load is actually money that shouldn’t be lost because of some expiration – No one deposits money in a bank and have their money expire into oblivion after a certain date!

Gerry Ilagan

Gerry Ilagan is into mobile apps and WordPress development at @speeqs. He loves to write about electronics, the Internet of Things, mobile phones, and #crazyideas.

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