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Android, Apple OS wars can only help the market

by Kristen Nicole

The promise of apps

Google’s (GOOG) getting serious about its Android OS, building up the mobile platform as a massive foundation for its many goals around search, social applications and advertising. It’s brewing some big battles between Google and Apple (AAPL), which is promoting its own iOS for similar purposes, focusing much of its efforts on its promising software distribution channels -- mobile apps.

Apps are becoming an integral part of the mobile industry, acting as new portals for directly accessing consumers. They’re two-way streets, equally empowering consumers to do more with their smartphones. In-app payments have become the latest point of interest for these warring OS owners, with Google announcing its subscription plans just one day after Apple. Called One Pass, Google’s subscription plans offer users a single payment option for multiple app subscriptions, cheaper than Apple’s, and more favorable to publishers.

Google’s also pouring some resources into its music services, which have been cause for rumors for over a year now. After getting a sneak peek last May at Google I/O, the latest reports tell of new partnerships with labels, ensuring an Android-based music service is fluid enough to lure customers away from iTunes. An update to Google Reader also brings RSS widgets to your Android home screen.

Third-party app perks

Third-party app developers are caught in the middle of Google and Apple’s OS wars, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Current patterns around these respective app marketplaces highlight Android’s rapid growth, but Apple’s sustained developer interest. These  patterns are reiterated with apps like Springpad, which updated its mobile apps this week, and Bizzy, which applied lessons learned from their iPhone app to their Android launch yesterday.