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Google preps in-app billing, holds-off on releasing Honeycomb source code

by Kristen Nicole

Google (GOOG) is taking the next steps towards in-app payment integration, with support for in-app billing set to begin next week. To prep for this, Google’s now allowing developers to upload and test apps that include this capability. "You can now upload your apps to the Developer Console, create a catalog of in-app products, and set prices for them," Eric Chu with the Android developer ecosystem said in a blog post. "You can then set up accounts to test in-app purchases. During these test transactions, the In-app Billing service interacts with your app exactly as it will for actual users and live transactions."

Google holds onto Android 3.0 source code. For how long?

The plans were first made public earlier this year at January’s Inside Mobile conference in San Francisco. This week’s announcement came at the CTIA Conference, often a precursor to Google's IO landmark event for Android developers in May. Google also revealed that it will delay the publication of Android 3.0 source code. It’s a blow for the developer community, and falls short of Google’s promises made at IO last year, where VP of engineering Vic Gundotra enthused about Android’s open system and delivering mobile software freedom to the masses.

As Google’s mobile platform has inevitably turned into a large-scale business operation, Android’s open nature is a question of corporate responsibility and developer affirmation. Striking a balance between these two ends of the spectrum is an important goal for Google, as driving Android’s many points of commercial differentiation.

Nook Color gets apps, Flash support

While Google still has a few kinks to work out, more Android tablets are emerging with improvements and new features. The Barnes & Nobile (BKS) Nook Color e-reader is getting a software update in April, making it more price-conscious and functional for multimedia consumption. According to a Home Shopping Network listing, the Nook will feature Android apps, as well as Flash support. The move will make B&N more competitive with Amazon (AMZN), which has a Kindle Android app and recently launched its Android Appstore to extend its marketplace offerings.