Friday, December 11, 2009

Carrier Billing Launches on T-Mobile

Apparently T-Mobile has begun soft launching the ability for users to charge paid apps directly to their monthly bill, rather than entering a credit card through Google Checkout. Users will begin seeing the option when they click the Buy button for apps, and the rollout will be staggered across their user base through Dec. 30, so by then everyone with an Android phone on T-Mobile should have the functionality.

I'm not sure why they did it in such a stealthy way. Users that may want to bill apps directly to their T-Mobile bill might not even be aware they have that capability now, unless they try to buy an app. And if they previously had a credit card rejected, they may not even try. And I just posted a question in the T-Mobile developer forums about how devs will be affected. I don't know if such transactions will also show up in our Google Checkout sales interface. If so, that's great. If not, where are we supposed to track such sales? In Google Checkout we had to manually set up sales tax for valid states. Is T-Mobile handling that now? Is there some transparent interface between T-Mobile and Google Checkout? It would be nice to know such things. It would also be nice to be able to track how many sales are a result of carrier billing vs. credit card.

Anyway, revenue so far in December has fluctuated between $120/day and $150/day, which is great. I wondered if revenue would continue to climb, but it seems to have settled somewhat in that range for now.

Dominoes is holding tight at #2 and Golf Solitaire has traded the #7 and #8 slots with Euchre all week, but is currently sitting at #8. InfusionCalc is sliding down the ranks for paid Health apps, but it continues to sell about the same amount. I released an update for Dominoes to be compatible with QVGA devices, such as the HTC Tattoo. I have no idea whether it's actually showing up on the market for folks with a Tattoo...if you have one or know somebody with one, let me know if you can see Dominoes in the market, please.

It would be great to have a tool that allows you to get a live preview of the market from the perspective of a particular hardware/carrier configuration, but I'll just add that to the list of nice-to-haves. I could embed analytics into Dominoes to see what devices people are running it on, but that would require adding internet permissions, which might adversely affect sales for an app that has no obvious need to connect to the internet.

Anyway, the European version of the Droid, the Milestone, apparently is selling incredibly well. One online retailer reports completely selling out of stock in less than 24 hours. And Time magazine just named the Droid as the gadget of the year, so hopefully they'll continue to see strong sales through the holiday season and into 2010. I'm certainly not complaining, but I sure wouldn't mind if the numbers kept rising.

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