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How to Purchase and Install Android Apps

You can easily install Android apps (software applications) on your mobile device, whether they are free apps or “paid” apps that charge a fee. You’ll find most apps at the Android Market (an app itself). You need a Google account to access apps in the Android Market.

Installing Android apps

If you come across a free app that you want to install on your Android device, tap the Install button that appears at the top of the app’s description page. A new page appears, which lists your device’s services that the app can access.

The image on the right in the following figure shows that the Facebook app can access a device’s system tools, Internet access, stored personal information, and account information. If you’re okay with all this, tap the OK button and the app will install. If not, tap the back button and go find another app.

The user comments page for the Evernote app (left); the parts of your device that the Facebook app
The user comments page for the Evernote app (left); the parts of your device that the Facebook app can access (right).

Before you can access the Android Market, you first have to link your device to a Google account — even if all you want to do is install only free apps. If your device isn’t already linked to a Google account and you try to launch the Android Market app, a page appears that will walk you through linking your device or creating a new Google account. To create a Google account, you need to provide your first and last names and pick a username and password.

Purchasing Android apps

If you want to purchase a paid app, tap the Buy button that appears at the top of the app’s description page . If the app accesses any services on your device, you’ll next see a page informing you what the app will have access to (refer to the preceding figure). Tap OK on this page and the next page you see is the Google Checkout page, as shown in the following figure.

Google Checkout (left). Purchase an app a second time (after a refund) and no more refunds are allo
Google Checkout (left). Purchase an app a second time (after a refund) and no more refunds are allowed (right).

In the U.S., Google Checkout links your Google account to an American Express, Discover, MasterCard, or Visa account. (If you are a T-Mobile customer, you can also link your Google Checkout account to bill you through T-Mobile.) Outside the U.S., you can link Google Checkout to Solo and Visa Electron accounts. It’s just a matter of time before additional payment options, such as PayPal, get added to the Android Market.

If your payment information isn’t already in Google Checkout, enter it from this page. If your payment info is already in Google Checkout, then as soon as you tap the Buy Now button, you authorize the purchase and the app will be downloaded and installed to your device.

If the app is priced using a currency other than your native currency (see the image on the left in the following figure), you see the actual price here — be it in U.S. dollars, pound sterling, or euros (see the image on the right in the following figure).

The estimated price for the PicSay Pro app listed in U.S. dollars (left); app prices show in their
The estimated price for the PicSay Pro app listed in U.S. dollars (left); app prices show in their native currency (right) at time of purchase.

One nifty feature of the Android market is that you can choose to return an app for a full refund. Google recently reduced this grace period from 24 hours to 15 minutes, however, so you better decide quickly if you want to keep that app you just purchased.

If your return a paid app for a refund and then later decide that you want to install it again, you no longer are eligible for the grace period. If you buy an app for a second time, it’s going to be a keeper.

If you keep an app for longer than the grace period, it’s yours forever. You can uninstall it and choose to reinstall it months later — even if your device gets completely reset or replaced by a new device. To do this, however, the device must be linked to the same Google account that you used to initially purchase the app.

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