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Android subscription plan faces FTC investigation

by Kristen Nicole

Mobile platforms are encouraging for new business models, with a beacon of hope for the publishing industry in particular. Google’s (GOOG) Android is becoming an attractive distribution channel for magazines and newspapers, and its new subscription options are less expensive than Apple’s (AAPL) for publishers looking to digital content delivery. But making money in this manner has raised questions around its validity and transparency, spurring an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.

“Let me assure you we will look closely at the current industry practice with respect to the marketing and delivering of these types of applications,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz wrote to Rep. Edward Markey in a letter this week. After Markey and Sen. Amy Klobuchar requested that the FTC look into Google and Apple for their in-app purchase features, the agency set its inquiry into motion.

Graphic novels come to Android

While Google prepares to defend its platform monetization, some digital publishers remain anxious to launch mobile apps on Android. brings a vast library of comics and graphic novels to the Market, with thousands of titles to download and sync. The popular comics distributor has remained relevant with its technological adoptions, tapping into emerging markets and appeal to its existing user base.

Google finalizes Honeycomb 3.0 SDK

Beyond the publishing industry, developers can find new ways to leverage Android’s expansion. Google has finalized the Honeycomb 3.0 software, making its full SDK available. Nearly a month after a rough preview version was given to developers, the revised APIs have been tweaked to completion. Improvements include UI Builder improvements in the ADT Plugin, a new app palette with categories and rendering previews, more accurate layout rendering, selection-sensitive action bars and zoom improvements, to name a few.