Every person with a smartphone or tablet has experienced the frustration of a free (but not so free) app; you download it, you install it, you go to run it… and find that it’s so bogged down with ads and purchase options that it’s nearly impossible to use. In North America, many classify these apps as being Freemium. Beginning in September, Google has reached an agreement with the European Union that indicates no title offering in-app purchases (IAP) can be labeled as free.
The approach Google will take involves a change to the way app pricing is listed. Once implemented, a title will not be designated as free unless it also carries no IAP.
While it is easy to understand the motivation behind these changes, the main catalyst appears to be parents whose children have unwittingly racked up serious charges by downloading game add-ons. What isn’t being considered is that no price listing is a replacement for supervision and education: any child capable of entering payment information (even by way of just knowing the password) will download any app they want, regardless of the way a price is listed.
Apple has also been tapped to make these changes, but the company has yet to commit to anything specific, indicating they have no “concrete and immediate solutions”.