It's taken a while, but owners of most Android-based devices can now purchase physical gift cards that can be used to add credits for buying apps and other content for their smartphones and tablets.
The Google Play website has announced that the cards, in amounts of $10, $25 and $50, can now be purchased at retail stores such as Target, GameStop and Radio Shack. In addition to buying things like Android apps, movies, TV shows, music and books, the gift cards can also be used to buy virtual currency for use in Android-based games, along with downloadable extras for games and other software.
There are some restrictions. The Google Play cards cannot be used for buying magazine subscriptions, even though Google added support for buying magazines in the store earlier this summer. It also can't be used to buy subscriptions for apps. Finally, the cards also can't be used to buy any physical hardware and accessories such as the Google Nexus 7 tablet.
It's a bit odd that Google hasn't offered a gift card option for Google Play users until now. Apple has had iTunes cards for years and Microsoft has sold Microsoft Points cards for use in their Xbox 360, Zune and Windows Phone products. Even Valve's Steam service has gift cards that can be used for buying PC games.
So far, the Google Play cards can only be bought in the US; there's no word yet on when they might become available in other countries.
Source: Google Play website | Image via Google