Oct 27, 2011
One of the big issues with the Android Market, compared to iTunes, is the difficulty in giving things away on the store. There’s no kind of promo code or gift card system that Google offers for the apps, books, or movies they offer. This makes it more challenging for developers to distribute copies of their apps for review, and for friends to give gift cards to their Android-owning friends. As well, they enable users without credit cards to download items? For an iOS user, an iTunes gift card is a perfect gift, as it will not go unused. There just isn’t anything similar for Android.
While the issue of gifts on the Android Market specifically has not been solved, a startup named Mobiroo is trying to fill this void in their own way. They sell gift cards for apps for Android and Blackberry. These credits are not good for the Android Market or Blackberry App World specifically. Instead, users shop for apps from Mobiroo’s catalog. There are hundreds of apps available, including various titles from prominent publishers like Namco, EA Mobile, Polarbit, and more. Even apps like Root Explorer are available from Mobiroo’s library. Android users should not lack for interesting titles if they pick up one of these cards.
As far as availability, users in the US can buy them from Radio Shack and Target, and they are available from retailers in Canada, Europe, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand. Sorry, Antarcticans. The cards can be redeemed from Mobiroo’s website, which then allows users to browse through the library on their device to choose the apps they wish to redeem. As well, the cards currently offer $5-$10 additional value on top of the sticker price.
Mobiroo is definitely exploiting a hole that Google has yet to fill; after all, a store like iTunes’ ubiquity is helped when gift cards can be purchased on a whim when at the grocery store. While getting the cards into more retailers and keeping up with the app library (along with the question of whether apps can be updated) is key, this is an intriguing start.