Google’s policies around pricing in the Google Play store make it impossible to offer an app for free for a limited time and then change it back to a paid app later. Once the developer makes an app free, their only option to make it paid again is to pull the app and re-publish to the store. Thanks to the keen eye of one Redditor, though, it seems that Google may now be offering a promotion similar to that from Apple’s App Store in which one paid app each week is made available for free.
As you can see in the screenshots above, there’s a new full-bleed column in the Family section of the Play Store promoting a “Free App of the Week” by the developer PBS KIDS. Tapping it shows the free app on offer from PBS KIDS as well as the regular price, which is $2.99. Visiting the app currently on offer through any other method – from Google Play on the web, searching for it through the Android app – won’t display the promotion and will instead just display the regular price. We were able to find the promotion ourselves through the Play store on a Nexus 5.
We’ve reached out to Google for comment on this promotion as we’ve never seen a weekly free app from Google Play, and also asked for clarification on whether or not this promotion will expand beyond the Family section of the store to other more general categories like Games or Productivity. We’ll let you know if they respond.