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Google will finally allow Android developers to charge for their applications distributed via Android Market. That was a great move from Google; the ability to charge for applications will not only allow current Android developers to get compensated for their hard work, but also make Android more attractive to new developers. As a result, end users, who own Android-based devices, can expect to see an increase in the number of applications offered by Android Market in the near future.

Priced applications will be available to end users in US starting next week. If you live in Germany, Austria, France, or Spain, priced applications will be available later in the quarter. And for other countries, an announcement will be made by the end of the first quarter of 2009.

Now, the most important part… how will Android developers get paid? According to Google, consumers and developers will have to use Google Checkout for all transactions processed via Android Market. So, if you are an Android developer and don’t have a Google Checkout merchant account, you’ll need to sign up for one before you’re able to sell your applications. 

If you’re wondering how much you’ll be able to charge for your applications, here’s the answer from Google: the cost of Android applications for end users must be in the following price range: $0.99 – $200 (USD) and 0.50 GBP – 100 GBP.

Two important notes if you already have a free application available to users on Android Market. First, if you are planning on charging for your application once it has already been offered for free, you’ll have to re-upload it as a priced application. And second, take a look at the following quote obtained from the section 3.3 of the Developer Distribution Agreement about a free upgrade requirement to end users:

“3.3 You may also choose to distribute Products for free. If the Product is free, you will not be charged a Transaction Fee. You may not collect future charges from yours for copies of the Products that those users were initially allowed to download for free…”

In other words, even if you decide to convert your free applicatin to a priced application, you’ll still be obligated to provide free upgrades to end users who have installed the free version of your application prior to the switch.

After this initiative, I can wait to see how far Android will take Google. What about you?