You buy a new fancy smartphone from the shops, take it home, and then after you get all your data on there you start looking for applications to make your shiny toy unique to your individual needs. If said smartphone was an iPhone, then all you need to purchase apps is your iTunes username and password. If you picked up an Android device … then you’re going to be put through the hell of having to enter your 16 digit credit card number, expiration date, security code, and more, just to be able to get your Angry Birds fix. Now there’s a way to get around this called operator building, which is exactly what it sounds like, your apps are put on the same bill as the one that comes in the post every month from your operator. It’s been available in America since November 2009 via T-Mobile, and with time it’s expanded to the other American operators, but what about Europe?
Vodafone just became the first operator on the continent across the pond to offer their customers operator billing in the Android Market, but it’s currently limited to the UK and Germany. Considering those are practically the two largest mobile markets in Europe, that’s not a bad start. The bigger question here is are Android owners willing to spend money on applications when the studies show that you’re better off trying to milk iPhone owners of their nickels and dimes? That’s something you as a developer have to ask yourself, because what’s the point in wasting all that time writing “Java” (read: Dalvik) code if it isn’t going to put food on your table?
Anyway, there are some restrictions on this so your 14 year old doesn’t force you to file bankruptcy. The most expensive app you’ll be able to buy will be capped at £30, which we doubt you’ll ever see in the Android Market, and you’ll also be limited to £250 per month. That should stop a lot of toddlers from going crazy in whatever game Disney comes out with that has far too many in-app purchases to be considered anything other than a scam attached to a cute and lovable brand.


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