Google launches new subscription capabilities for Android developers

At the Google I/O developer conference, the company introduced new subscription capabilities and a new Console UI for Android developers. 

The company said they can now configure multiple base plans and offers for each subscription, allowing Android developers to sell subscriptions in multiple ways and reduce operating costs by eliminating the need to create and manage an ever-increasing number of SKUs.

Google has already taken existing subscription SKUs and divided them into subscriptions, base plans, and offers. Each base plan in a subscription defines a different billing period and renewal type, Google explains. For example, you can create a subscription with a monthly auto-renewing plan, an annual auto-renewing plan, and a 1-month prepaid plan.

The new option, called prepaid plans, allows users to access the benefits of an app for a fixed period of time. It is ideal for users who are not ready to purchase an auto-renewing subscription. Users can extend this access by purchasing top-ups in apps or Google Play. Prepaid plans allows Android developers to access users in pay-as-you-go regions, including India and Southeast Asia. 

The base plan includes the price available to all users, while offers provide alternative pricing to eligible users. Developers can submit offers that are available wherever their base plans are available, or create offers for specific regions. For example:

+ Acquisition offers allow users to try your subscription for free or at a discounted price

+ Upgrade and crossgrade offers incentivize users to benefit from longer billing periods or higher tiers of service

+ Upgrade offers can also help you move subscribers from a prepaid plan to an auto-renewing plan

Google also announced that the company expanded pricing options with ultra-low price points, where developers can price their products as low as the equivalent of 5 US cents in any market. The company says this will allow developers to adjust their prices to better reflect local purchasing power, run locally relevant sales and promotions, and support micro-transactions such as tipping.

Google also introduces in-app messaging support for declined payments, by using the In-App Messaging API. If the user’s payment has been declined, a message will remind them to update their payment information.

These features are all available with the latest version of Play Billing Library 5.0.

Written by Jordan Bevan

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