Aug 17, 2012
Reports are starting to surface that Google is looking to add two key features to Google Play: wish lists and gift card redemption. The former is a nifty feature, one that will help users keep track of the apps they want. The latter is something that could have a big impact on Android going forward for two key reasons:
1. Access to apps and other Google Play content became a whole lot wider.
Go to a store sometime. Doesn’t matter if it’s Best Buy, a grocery store, or a convenience store. There’s usually iTunes gift cards for sale. Now, these aren’t always given away as gifts, but can be used by kids (or anyone else without access to a credit card) who just have cash on them to buy what they want off of iTunes, including apps. Google Play may be missing out on a lot of sales due to this. Anything that makes it easier to purchase content is a win for those selling content. The starving indie developer won’t immediately go away, but it could help those trying ot make money off of Android.2. It’s the harbinger of a promo code system, which Android desperately needs.
Android should make it easy to distribute apps. After all, with easy sideloading, a developer that wants to send an app to the press should just be able to send an APK. However, due to piracy concerns and the hurdles caused by the Google Play DRM licensing that some developers use, distribution is not always that easy. Promo codes would be a secure way to get apps to people who want to cover them. Over time, it could help shape the Android press from being so hardware-focused, and to allow app-focused sites like those that exist on iOS (such as the mothership 148Apps and a site like Touch Arcade) to take root on Android, because trying out apps to cover them will be so much easier.
Of course, this is all still somewhat unknown as to just when it will happen, as it is somethign uncovered by enterprising hackers. But the hints given by the Google Play balance given to Nexus 7 owners were smoke that appear to be fire.