Apr 15, 2011
The Android Market may have recently added in-app purchases for Market applications, so one would think this would mean the end of alternative services, right? Wrong! Paypal wants developers to use their own PayPal payment services in their Android apps, and they’re putting their money where their mouth is – and it’s a lot of money.
The PayPal X Developer Challenge for Android is a contest where developers have to implement secure payments through PayPal in their app, using some method that will impress Paypal’s x.com team – preferably in some innovative or nontraditional way. Interested developers must submit for approval by May 14th, with final changes to the app able to be made to June 3rd (and the app live on some app marketplace by June 7th). Afterwards, the judges will select their Semi-Finalist apps. Then, they will appoint a panel of judges consisting of top PayPal customers to determine the first, second, and third prize winners. Now, here’s why developers may want to consider entering this contest – the prizes for first, second, and third places are $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000 respectively.
However, I am skeptical if this is a good thing – if the Market still didn’t have in-app purchases, I would be behind this or any other effort to implement in-app purchases on Android entirely. However, now that it does, it seems superfluous. And, as I’ve said about the Amazon Appstore, you only foster user confusion and further fragmentation of the Android Market – and really, do we need more of that? The problem seems quite like big shots like Amazon and PayPal see the fact that they can launch products on Android as a reason that they should do so, although there’s very little good that could come out of trying to reach out for people’s wallets. However, much like Amazon, PayPal seems to be willing to put some force behind their efforts – and lucrative contests like this could be an influence on the battle for the wallets of Android users. As well, maybe I’m wrong – maybe competition is a good thing, and a service like this that is independent of any kind of app store is ultimately better policy for developers and app users? Time, and possibly even the results of this contest, will tell.