First Google opened the doors to in-app purchases, then carrier billing. Now the company has announced that developers can integrate in-app subscriptions within their Android apps, paving the way for monthly or yearly subscription models without forcing the user to sign up outside their apps.
"Starting today, developers can use In-app Billing to sell monthly or annual subscriptions from inside of their apps," writes Dirk Dougherty on the Android Developers blog. "All subscriptions are auto-renewing, for every app and game and every type of subscription product. Developers just set the price and billing interval and Google Play manages the purchase transactions for them, just as it does for other in-app products and app purchases."
On the consumer level, Google Play will provide a "familiar and convenient" purchase experience, highlighting subscription details such as price and billing interval before continuing with purchases. Once the transaction is complete, Google Play will manage recurring billing and keep users up to date with an email when it comes time to renew. Users at any time can visit My Apps in the Play Store app to view their subscriptions and cancel any subscription as needed.
"While making it easy for developers to offer a great purchasing experience, our subscriptions are also designed for flexibility," Dougherty says. "Developers can use them to monetize premium dynamic content such as journals and magazines, but they can also use them to sell access to bundled products, game levels, music and video content, value-added services, or any other digital content."
He added that Google is also now introducing an HTTP-based publisher API through which enterprise-scale backend servers can validate or cancel subscriptions. By using this API, developers can extend access from their Android apps to their web properties, based on subscriptions that are purchased on Google Play.
Apps featuring in-app subscriptions will begin to appear in the next few days including Frontline Commando and a few others from Glu Mobile. These games will offer subscriptions through custom VIP currency packages.
For more information about in-app subscriptions, head over to Google's blog here.