WorldMate, the mobile itinerary management service, is bringing its WorldMate Gold service to Android through Google Checkout in a bid to avoid the ineffeciencies of its dual-app approach to the iPhone.
With WorldMate Gold for Android, which is slated to be available for $9.90 starting July 27 at 9 a.m. (PST), users can download the existing free WorldMate Android app, tap "Go Gold" from within the app, and then upgrade to WorldMate Gold when they see a Google Checkout pop-up window.
Existing users of the free Android app obviously can do likewise.
WorldMate Gold for Android provides pushed Android notifications of flight delays, cancellations and gate changes, and claims this is the first time a travel app is using Android notifications for contextual alerts and updates.
Users of the free WorldMate app for Android will also get some updated services, including pushed notifications that their emailed itineraries or edited itineraries have been imported.
The WorldMate Gold for Android strategy differs from how the company handled its premium service on the iPhone.
Instead WorldMate had decided to release two separate iPhone apps, the free WorldMate app and WorldMate Gold at $3.99 per download.
"The disadvantages of this approach have been fragmentation, loss of recurring subscription-based revenue and user confusion," says Ze'ev Rosenstein, WorldMate's director of product marketing.
But, Rosenstein adds that the options are not black and white ones.
"The two-app approach has advantages and disadvantages: Competition in the paid travel category is significantly weaker right now," Rosenstein says. "The top ten free travel apps are almost all major online or travel brands -- Yelp, TripAdvisor, Kayak, United, Priceline, Delta, etc."
"On the paid side, however, the only big brands of note in the current top 10 are Zagat and Disney," Rosenstein says. "Selling apps also leads to greater sales than in-app upgrades as shown by many developers in the iOS ecosystem."
On the Android front, Rosenstein says the latest release of WorldMate for Android, including the option to upgrade to WorldMate Gold through Google Checkout, will be a featured application in the Android Market.