Okay now. Don't expect me to bring some new reasoning here. This is probably known to a lot of us (if not all). Even I have heard about it before many times. But only a few days back, I sort of got it (Eureka! Eureka!).
A friend of mine had bought an iPad 2 just few weeks back. He intended to buy an Android tablet (Asus Transformer) but somehow things worked out differently (that is another story and does not have a place here) and an iPad 2 landed on his lap. He has been using it for sometime now. A point to keep in mind is that he owns a Android Motorola Defy for quite some time and uses it a lot and likes it a lot (already rooted and flashed).
We were talking about apps on iPad (since I have been using one for sometime, I am considered a locally available subject matter expert - I suppose in the country of blind, the one eyed man is the king) for reading PDFs. Good Reader came up as a possible choice and we talked about the fact that its costs a few dollars and is not free. Then it happened...
My friend said: "I need a good app for reading PDFs and since I have already put in the credit card information into the iPad 2, I might as well buy a good app".
I heard that but it did not register first. And then it hit me! My friend has owned an Android phone for a very long time and has never bought an app in the Google Play store. He has never entered his credit card information in his Android phone till date. And he probably will never do it.
When an iPad 2 is registered with an Apple id for using the app store, one is mandated to enter credit card information. Google Android phones on the other hand allow the user to skip that part. That means that as a user, my friend never entered his credit card data in the Android phone but he entered it first thing in the iPad 2. I am sure he must have felt forced and wronged when he had to put the CC information in the iPad 2 and would have liked not to do it. But over a period of time, this just became a matter of fact for him.
Eventually what matters is that Apple has his credit card information within just a couple of days of him having a Apple product and that has opened the door for his spending in the App Store within weeks. Where as Google still does not have his credit card information and he has not spent a dime in the Google Play store for close to a year.
Like I said, what I am saying is nothing new. I have heard it many times. But when you experience things first hand, it has a way of making things very clear in one's head. That is what happened with me and I had tell it everybody.
What should Google do? Should it force the consumer to enter her/his credit card information upfront? Will that push the consumers to spend on the Play store? Will that make Android a better platform for developers to develop apps? What do you think?.