comiXology Releases Beta Android App

ComiXology may be most associated with iPhones and iPads, but that isn't stopping the company from growing to include other devices in its digital comic distribution.

This week, the company announced that it had launched a beta version of an app for Android devices.

"It's our No. 1 request," said ComiXology CEO David Steinberger. "Android is the fastest growing device market out there, and it's very important for us to meet the demand of our customer base."

Current ComiXology customers will have access to their account across multiple platforms, whether the comics were purchased on the web, on the Apple OS, or on Android. The one exception is Marvel comics, but Steinberger said that could change soon.

"Anything that you can buy on the web from ComiXology is available on Android, and anything that you buy on the iOS, excepting Marvel, is available on Android," Steinberger explained. "Obviously, we'd love to have Marvel on Android and continue to be the best partner we can for them, so we're talking with them. Stay tuned. "

Over the last year, ComiXology has emerged as the leading digital comics distributor by working with both comics industry giants, Marvel and DC, and more than 30 other publishers via its ComiXology website and the Comics by ComiXology app on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It also maintains a web-based storefront for DC Comics and runs the dedicated iOS apps for Marvel, DC and other publishers.

Steinberger said the expansion to Android devices should greatly increase the reach of ComiXology's distribution network, but how much isn't clear yet.

"It's been said that there are more Android devices out there than there are iPhones, but of course, that doesn't count the iPod Touches and the iPads, so I don't know how to compare those numbers," he said. "But everybody has said there's been this great dearth of apps for Android. So we're really excited to get our high quality guided view and purchasing experience on there."

The new Android app includes ComiXology's guided view technology and its comic book store locator, which appears at the end of every digital comic, encouraging readers to buy print copies. It also has in-app purchasing, although the Android app uses Paypal, which is different from the Apple OS buying experience. "Google doesn't have that at the moment," Steinberger explained.

The company's introduction on Android devices is only "beta" because there are such a wide variety of devices that use the operating system. "Somebody has already tweeted that the app is working well on the Galaxy tablet from Samsung. So that's good news. So it scales really well to the larger devices. That's a 7-inch device. Obviously, there are tons of devices, right?" Steinberger said. "Part of the reason we're only in the 'beta' stage is that we haven't been able to get our hands on every single Android device to make sure it's working."

Steinberger said the company may be adding other operating systems in the future, with the goal of giving current readers access to their account on a variety of devices.

"We want to be anywhere that there is a mix of great devices that can display comic material well, and a reasonable size market, where we feel like there are enough people to make it worthwhile," he said.

What moments are you excited to see?

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