T-Mobile remains in the news this week, but this time it isn’t because of an outage. Instead, the company has reported that it will be easier for its customers to pay for apps—for Android users that is.
As of November 17, users will be able to download apps and have the payment charged to their monthly bills—the carrier will then pay the app developer accordingly. This one-click purchase method, which is a contrast to other app payment methods, including those from the Apple App Store, does not require that customers provide a credit-card number or other payment information. To date, Android users have had to use Google Checkout to pay for the apps, so this new payment method should streamline the process. What will be interesting to follow is whether app sales increase.
Likely consumers will download more apps, but then feel a slight sting when the bill comes, but this could cause sales to dip at least slightly in subsequent months until users adapt to the new payment scheme.
In other Android app news, Verizon has announced that it plans to roll out its own channel in the Android Market for the release of its Android phone, the Motorola Droid, which went on sale this week. Sprint Nextel had previously announced that it would launch its own app retail service in the coming months.
There are 100,000 Apps for That
Well, Apple isn’t lying when the company proudly says “there is an app for that.” This week, the maker of the iPhone announced that it has broken the 100,000 barrier, with apps divided into 20 categories including business, games, news, sports, health, reference and travel among others. Apple has also announced that the App Store has seen downloads surpass 2 billion!
However, industry experts have noted that business apps still trail behind those for entertainment and other social activities. How this changes will also be worth watching in the coming months as other app stores get up and running. To date, Google has seen its own mini-app boom in recent months, with a major boom possibly beginning later this year. Flurry, a San Francisco-based mobile metrics company, has noted that the company reported a 94 percent increase in projects under development for the Android in the last two months.
Also, with the release of Windows Mobile 6.5, and new app offers from Research in Motion for the BlackBerry, and Palm’s new app store, this could be the beginning of boom times for mobile app development. Let’s just hope this trend doesn’t follow other recent booms where the bubble burst badly!
Harvard Rolls Out Swine Flu App
Cold and flu season is unfortunately here, and if you watch the nightly news regularly—or cable news at all—you probably know that flu shots are in short supply. And unfortunately there is no app substitute for that, but there is an app that will help you track the H1N1 flu movements, including outbreaks around the country. The new HMSMobile Swing Flu Center Application from Harvard Medical School is now available for the iPhone and iPod Touch from the Apple App Store for $1.99 and gives users access to information about outbreaks with a GPS overview. It further provides information on how users can protect themselves, as well as the latest information on the virus from the HMS.
After Hours App of the Week
Bird Brain – Do you have the brain of a bird? We don’t mean this as an insult either, as this new app for the iPhone and iPod Touch will let you test your knowledge of trivia as players try to become the “King of the Coop.” The game gives players 20 seconds or less to answer various questions from Science to Literature to Pop Culture, and in the time allotted players must put a group of unruly chickens with the answers in the proper “pecking order.” With 10 rapid-fire questions you might feel like you might crack like an egg under pressure. Bird Brain is available from Legacy Interactive at the Apple App Store for $.99.
Check back every Friday for the latest from the world of mobile apps.