Distributing Your Application via Android Play (formerly the Android Market)
In Chapter: Packaging, deploying and selling
Author: Zigurd Mednieks ('zigurd')
You want to give away or sell your application via the Android Market.
After you're satisfied that your application runs as expected on real Android devices, you're ready to upload to Android Market, Google's service for publishing and downloading Android applications. The procedure is pretty straightforward:
- Sign up as an Android Developer (if you're not already signed up).
- Upload your signed application.
Signing Up As an Android Developer
Go to Google's signup page at , and fill out the forms provided. You will be asked to:
- Use your Google account to log in (if you don't have a Google account, you can get one for free by following the Create Account link on the login page).
- Agree to the Android Market Terms of Service.
- Pay a one-time fee of $25 (payable by credit card via Google Checkout; again, if you don't have an account set up, you can do so quickly).
- If the program is being charged for, specify your payment processor (again, you can easily sign up for a Google Payments account).
The forms ask for a minimal amount of information--your name, phone number, etc.--and you are signed up.
Uploading Your Application
Now you can go to  to upload your application. To identify and categorize your application, you will be asked for the following:
- Application apk file Name and Location: The apk file of your application, signed with your private signature certificate.
- Title and Description: These are very important, because they are the core of your marketing message to potential users. Try to make the title descriptive and catchy at the same time, and describe the application in a way that will make your target market want to download it.
- Application Type: There are currently two choices: Applications or Games.
- Category: The allowable list of categories varies depending on Application Type. The currently available categories for Applications are: Communications, Demo, Entertainment, Finance, Lifestyle, Multimedia, News & Weather, Productivity, Reference, Shopping, Social, Software Libraries, Tools, and Travel. For Games, the currently available categories include: Arcade & Action, Brain & Puzzle, Cards & Casino, and Casual.
- Price: This may be "Free" or a fixed price.
Refer to the agreement you agreed to above to see what percentage you
actually get to keep.
- Geography: You can limit where your application is available, or choose to make it available everywhere.
Finally, you are asked to confirm that your application meets the Android Content Guidelines and that it does not knowingly violate any export laws. After that, you can upload your apk file, and within a few days your application will appear on the Android Market online catalog, accessible from any connected Android device. You can view the apps either on your device or via the public-facing Market site  (append search terms to that URL!). Use the search box in the market, or, load in the browser a file with a link of the form URL of market://details?id=com.yourorg.yourprog, but with your application's actual package name.
Then, sit back and watch the fame or money - and the support emails - roll in.
Be patient with end users, for they do not think as we do.