Have an Android Smart Phone on AT&T? Carrier Billing is Finally Here for Apps

Carrier billing on Android Market is now available for both T-Mobile and AT&T.

Google’s Android Market might have passed the 100,000 app mark but it has been plagued by a lack of viable payment options. That’s all changing for AT&T customers however. This week, Google has unveiled carrier billing for apps through the second largest carrier in the U.S.

Carrier billing through AT&T joins Google’s announcement earlier this month of the same feature through T-Mobile. T-Mobile being Google’s carrier for the Nexus One and the Nexus S, it made sense that it got this first. The addition of AT&T should help out its app store.

The way the carrier billing works is by linking an Android Market account to an AT&T account. After that, it is app purchases to your heart’s content. Until your phone bill comes that is…

Besides just direct carrier billing for both T-Mobile and AT&T subscribers now, a number of new features are hitting the Android Market with the update. Users can now enjoy a 15 minute app refund window in case whatever you just bought isn’t what you thought it would be. Dynamic wallpaper and widget categories are being added to the app store along with ones for popular games and other apps. Oh, and  the whole Android Market experience is getting a thorough makeover in the user interface department to make finding what apps you want a much easier process.

One disappointment however is that the maximum .apk (app size) has only been boosted to 50 megabytes. While it’s definitely an improvement, hardcore smart phone gamers should note that Infinity Blade on iOS comes in as a 331 MB download. Sorry but don’t expect games using large amounts of 3D textures anytime on Android soon. Bummer, I know. Especially when you consider that the next batch of high-end Android phones and tablets will have dual-core processors with integrated 3D accelerator chipsets from NIVIDA… oh what mobile games you could make for that hardware.

If your Android smartphone is running on Verizon Wireless or Sprint, you are still out of luck. Good news though. “We strongly believe carrier billing is a great way to make it easy for users to purchase and pay for applications. In addition to the availability of AT&T and T-Mobile US carrier billing, we’ll continue to partner with more carriers to offer carrier billing options for their subscribers,” according to Google’s blog posting. Better late than never right?

Let me know if carrier billing support on AT&T will make you more apt to purchase apps through Android Market.

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