Google to Android devs: Support more form factors, get a higher sales cut


Enlarge / Google: “Just look at all these form factors!” (credit: Google)

There are 3 billion active Android devices in circulation now, and that means developers are eager to support Android. The vast majority of those devices are phones, so for app developers not particularly interested in the wider Android ecosystem, that means pump out a phone app and you’re done. But a vibrant ecosystem of nonphone Android hardware is also out there, though—Wear OS, Android tablets, Android Auto, Android TV, and Google Cast. Google would like more developers to support those devices, and its new scheme for this has a real shot at working since it relies on the universal language: money.

Google’s master plan is called the “Play Media Experience Program,” and it offers a compelling proposition to developers: support more Android form factors, and Google will take a lower cut of your Play Store sales. Media apps focusing on video, audio, or books now have special support targets they can hit that will result in Google cutting Play Store fees to 15 percent. Google’s normal Play Store cut is 30 percent, but it only charges 15 percent on the first $1 million in revenue. So this is a play aimed specifically at multimillion-dollar media apps.

Google lays out the following requirements for various app types:

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