Google Android 12 Would Make Third-Party App Stores Easier To Use
Google is outlining new improvements to its developer policy and promising to make it easy on Android 12 to use third-party app stores. The announcement addresses recent complaints about the growth of Android applications, including a dispute over alternative in-app payment mechanisms and difficulties due to COVID-19 for companies moving online.
Via third-party stores like Samsung’s Galaxy Store, Android users can already install games. Google says it is introducing features to next year’s Android 12 release in response to developer feedback that will “make it much easier for individuals to use other app stores on their devices while being cautious not to weaken the security measures Android has in place.” In the future, it will release further information about these improvements.
By comparison, Google does not loosen its grasp on in-app purchases for applications from the Play Store.
The company states that “all developers selling digital products in their apps are expected to use the billing system of Google Play,” and in its payment policy it is tweaking language to make it clear. By September 30, 2021, any app that does not already use the framework for digital goods will be needed to add it.
This was a stumbling point for Epic Games, whose Fortnite title was released in August after Epic introduced support for an alternative billing system to the Play Store. Fortnite is still only available via third-party retailers and Epic’s website, and Google does not seem to be backing down, explicitly referring to Fortnite as an example of how the developer can still sell on the Android platform even though a developer and Google do not agree on business terms.
There is one especially complex group of in-app purchases: companies that began during the coronavirus pandemic to let users sell “virtual” versions of their usual non-digital offerings.
These businesses have protested about being asked to pay a new service charge on iOS, including Airbnb and ClassPass.
Today’s announcements are a direct response to Epic’s war with Apple and Google over the 30 percent reduction of any iOS App Store and Google Play Store purchase made by businesses. Epic modified Fortnite for Android and iOS on August 13 to use its billing service, resulting in Fortnite being removed from its app stores by Apple and Google. But Epic turned around, suing both tech companies. The litigation might determine how apps are distributed on the world’s duopoly of mobile operating systems by all developers, from individuals to large corporations.
In certain cases, Apple has started to waive these fees, and Google says these companies will not have to use Google Play billing for Android in the immediate future. We understand that the global pandemic has led many companies to have to navigate the complexities of transitioning their physical company to digital and engaging consumers with audiences in a different way, such as moving online in-person interactions and classes, “it says.” “These organizations will not need to comply with our payments policy for the next 12 months and we will continue to reassess the situation over the next year.”
Android 12 App Stores
Google likes to say that Android is free and that developers can choose how their applications on the platform are distributed. Although indeed, Google Play is not the only Android app store, Google allows smartphone manufacturers to include Google Play on their devices and discourages them from adding third-party app stores, unlike Apple’s App Store is the only iOS app store. Android also warns you when you install Android apps not from Google Play in the name of security.
Google has made sure that Android “always” allows users to select “whatever applications they use, be it their keyboard, messaging app, phone dialer, or app store.” The message is clear: Android gives users more control over applications than iOS, leaving aside that this is not strictly true.