Dec 10th, 2008

It’s amazing what a little poking around can do. After extracting and unzipping Market.APK from the T-Mobile G1, a little browsing reveals that Google has placeholder icons for Ringtones and Wallpapers. Found in res > drawable > the answer lies in two files called ringtones.png and wallpapers.png, seen below:

If you’re thinking what we’re thinking, it won’t be long before the Android Market has those little Ringtone and Wallpaper Icons for your perusal and purchasing. And speaking of purchasing, Google Checkout icons were also seen in the Market.APK. We suppose that Google Checkout will be the preferred purchase method at the good ‘ol Android market before long.

So if you’re not down with using Ringdroid, want a ringtone from a song you don’t yet have or perhpas want some type of sound-effect-style ringtone, you’ll probably soon be able to puchase them directly from the Android Market. As for Wallpapers… do you think they’ll all be free or do you suppose companies will have the option of selling wallpapers for trademarked images like NFL teams, movies, logos, etc…?

The Google Checkout implementation is an interesting one to ponder. Could this be one of Google’s monetization strategies? Currently, Google Checkout is shown on Google Adwords advertisement during search results and it gives web searchers confidence in purchasing from the website in question. But Google also charges merchants to use the service.

Here is the current pricing system for Google Checkout as listed on the Google Checkout Merchant Page:

Will this formula hold true for Android Market purchases for Applications, Games, Ringtones and Wallpapers as well? Apple’s competing iPhone App Store takes 30% of the developer’s revenue, making this Google Checkout model comparably attractive. Even 99 cent items would only take 22% of the total sale from developers, 8% less than the iPhone App Store. And as the pricetag goes up, that percentage would drop significantly.

But lets remember that the only  REAL proof we have is that these icons DO exist in the Market APK. We no nothing about how they will be used or if they will be used at all. For that matter, there is a rather homely looking “vending” icon that looks like a leftover idea after they dubbed the Android Market the official name:

But who knows… we could be mistaken. Perhaps the vending application will allow unlimited amounts of Skittles, Snickers and Combos to come popping out of your USB port.

I’m awaiting word from some Google folks about how these finds might play into the Android picture and I’ll update everyone with anything I learn. But the Android team has been notoriously tight-lipped about future developments, so unless an official announcement is forthcoming, its snooping around like this that will reveal the most telling information.

PS: Notice our new logo, too? That wasn’t in the Market.APK, we admit, but it WILL be on the new, redesigned site coming later this month!

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