This will probably come as a surprise to you, as it did to us, but Google is going to start charging for Android use. According to information we have received from an executive-level source at Google, the company is going to start charging for Android starting from the next ICS 4.04 update. And so it goes with the days of free, no strings attached Android use.
Here's what we know:
Google will be implementing a freemium plan, giving users a choice between an ad and an ad-free option
The Paid Ad-Free Option:
Will cost $49.99 a year, but users will get a $25 credit for the Play Market (formerly known as the Android Market)
Users will also have to pay for any major future updates
The Ad Option:
Will be free and integrated with Admob, Google's mobile ad platform
Banner ads will appear in a widget like space on the home screen and will be irremovable, but hey, it won't cost anything
We even managed to snag a quick snapshot of the free version!
Snapshot of the free option with Admob banner
Many of you still haven't even received the first ICS update and are now learning that you're going to have to pay for it. Yet, in reality it could be worse. Google is being very helpful in trying to make the transition smooth and pain free for users. After all, Google is still leaving users with the option of free Android use and is even giving credit for the Play Market to users who choose the ad-free option.
Here at Drippler we realize that this information is probably coming as a surprise and we'd like to hear what you think about these changes. Which option are you going to go choose - the free version (with ads), or ad-free with Play Market credit?