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Google Korea launches paid Android-based smartphone apps

All Headlines 16:20 July 16, 2010

By Lee Youkyung

SEOUL, July 16 (Yonhap) -- Google Korea, the South Korean unit of Internet search giant Google Inc., said Friday it started offering paid applications to local Android-based smartphone users, giving them a wider variety of mobile applications.

South Korea-based users of Android-powered smartphones had so far been barred from purchasing applications on Google's Android market and were only able to download applications that developers distributed for free.

"As Google launches (the market) in different countries, we have been preparing for the launch (in South Korea)," company spokeswoman Park Sun-kyung said by phone.

The Android market allows software developers and smartphone users to trade programs compatible with Google's mobile operating system.

South Korea's wireless market has seen a rising number of new smartphones based on Google's mobile operating system, but consumers have been unsatisfied due to their limited access to the global application market.

Over 70,000 applications are currently available with 7,000 new applications registered every month, according to the official blog post made by Google's Korea unit on Thursday

The expected influx of paid Android applications in South Korea will also bolster manufacturers and telecom carriers that are relying on the Android bandwagon to take on the smash hit iPhone.

The Android market still lags far behind Apple Inc.'s system in terms of the number of mobile applications available. Google's latest move in South Korea will allow more application creators to profit by registering their products on the market.

Apple's App Store, the U.S. company's global application market exclusive to Apple product users, had 225,000 applications as of June 22.

The number of smartphone users in South Korea is projected to reach 4.9 million in December, according to a report from a research center under the KT Corp. The number will more than triple in 2012 to 17 million, it said.


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