Zong and other Android app payments

Jun 8, 2010
Tech

Mobile payments are the wave of the future; they make spending money far too easy, requiring you to remember only your phone number.  While payment platforms such as Boku and Zong have made strides in online goods and virtual games such as popular Facebook titles, in-app mobile payments are the next frontier. Already, the Android […]

Mobile payments are the wave of the future; they make spending money far too easy, requiring you to remember only your phone number.  While payment platforms such as Boku and Zong have made strides in online goods and virtual games such as popular Facebook titles, in-app mobile payments are the next frontier.

Already, the Android platform has become a battleground for Boku and Zong, with both companies releasing Android-specific tools for developers.  The tools enable in-app payment options, which are far more integrated and less controlled than what’s available for iPhone apps.  The result is seamless payment for users, with just one click and no redirects for leaving the current app.

Here are some apps and services that continue to heat up the mobile payment space:

Zong’s battleground

Zong announced its new Android tools last week, which allow for in-app payments, and which could be used for game apps, services or app upgrades. With several game partners and a wide reach across Facebook and iPhone apps, Zong is already off to a great start. Zong Snake, its demo app for mobile payments, is not available in the Android Market.

Boku has released a similar payment platform for Android, called Paymo, inviting developers to partake in the beta testing. With an existing presence on the iPhone, it was no surprise that Kronos’ Sheep Launcher partnered for the release. Buy more creatures to launch into the stratosphere with one click. The only drawback? Sheep Launcher is not yet available in the Android Market.

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Google Checkout is one of Zong’s biggest competitors, as Android is a Google platform. Most app purchases can already be run through Google Checkout, though developer integration options do not yet enable in-app payments with one-click capabilities, such as Zong or Boku.

PayPal has also gotten in on mobile payment platforms, with its X developer tools designed for integrated mobile payments on Android.  PayPal launched this service over a month before Zong or Boku’s Paymo, with several Web-based and mobile tools already involving similar PayPal support. PayPal also has multiple Android apps, providing free tools for sending money and viewing accounts.

Gaming potential

While you’re waiting for more apps to integrate Zong’s new in-app payments, bide your time with games. Moblyng, a partner of Playdom (a client of Zong), could be incorporating the new tools for its several titles, including m:Zombies, m:Mafia and m:Racing.  These Android games are free, but have room for in-game upgrades for, say, buying more weapons.

As EA Games has acquired Playdom, also a client of Boku, we could see some in-app payment integration for its titles as well.  Existing Android games such as The Sims 3 or Spore, both $4.99, have a willing market for paid upgrades and enhancements.

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