Android Market app store opens its doors

Google's Android Market app store is open for business
Google's Android Market app store is open for business

The Android Market went live today, the official on-sale date of T-Mobile's G1 with Google device.

Unlike Apple's App Store, all applications found on Android Market are free to download.

Don't get too excited, though. Unlike Apple's thousands of third party apps, the Market currently has "over 50", although only 28 can be seen on the special showcase website here

These comprise the usual suspects - location-based travel and shopping services, the odd new social networking app and a few games, although no file readers or VOIP so far.

Developers can start to submit their apps for approval from next Monday, subject to a one-time $25 (£15) registration fee, which apparently will ensure that developers are "authenticated and responsible for their apps." Hmmm.

Once registered, apps will be made available to users without further validation or approval.

Download free for all... until 2009

Starting early next year, developers will be able to add paid apps in addition to free apps. Developers will get 70% of the revenue from each purchase (the same as Apple but less than RIM are promising for their BlackBerry Application Centers).

The remaining 30% is split between phone networks and bank handling fees, with Google itself earning nothing at all from software sales.

The T-Mobile G1 with Google went on sale today for $180 (£110) plus a two-year contract costing at least $65 (£40) a month.

Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.