Google announces Android App Market paid application details, revenue share model

With the first 21 days of October behind us, the G1’s “Official” launch day is finally upon us. With the first Android-powered handset now in the hands of giddy customers around the country, Google has provided long-awaited details about the Android App Market.

As made apparent by those G1 pre-order handsets which arrived a day or two early, the Market is live at launch. Though there was a bit of a temporary dip in the number of available apps over the weekend, the count should now be back up over 50. That number will probably explode in just a few days: starting October 27th, developers can upload their own applications.

As we’ve known for some time, only free applications will be allowed on the App Market initially. According to today’s announcement, developers will be able to distribute paid applications beginning in Q1 of 2009. In the past, Google has said that they would not take a cut of the revenue, which many took to mean that 100% of each sale went to the developer. While it is still true that Google is not taking even a single percent for themselves, 30% will go to carriers and the folks who handle billing. This leaves 70% for the developer, matching Apple’s App Store revenue share model.

The decision to push for-pay applications back to Q1 of 2009 intrigues me. While it may be true that the infrastructure for taking payments just might not be ready yet, it really works out in Google’s favor to have a few months of free. They’ve ensured that the initial onslaught of users will gobble up applications without regard. This stress tests the market itself, puts a positive experience into the user’s mind (free = happy) and, of course, sends download numbers skyward.

This is where things get interesting, folks. With Apple and Google both having their own application stores, you’ve got two entirely different approaches to the concept: one closely moderate, the other relatively unrestricted. Will the latter prove to be the mobile paradise many are hoping for?