While most of South Africa was voting or enjoying the mid-week break yesterday, Google’s annual I/O developer conference began in earnest, with the tech giant revealing both new hardware and software alike.

Regarding the latter there have been a number of announcements, and one of the more interesting ones is for Google Play, and has potential significance for Android users in developing countries, or ones that are still heavily dependent on cash payments.

To that end there is a new tool for Google Play users to make cash payments for paid apps or in-app purchases. The tool is called pending transactions, with the company terming it as a new delayed form of payment, much like bank transfers or direct debit.

For now pending transactions is only available in two countries – Japan and Mexico. The former was chosen as it’s still a cash-based society, in spite of its technological advancements, and the former is viewed as a key developing market for Google.

As for using the service, Google Play’s team explained that it can be accessed by making cash payments at participating convenience stores, which is another big reason why Japan was chosen given its konbibi culture.

Users would need to show a transaction code for their desired purchase to the person behind the till at the store, and then make the required payment. From there Google will process the order, with it taking anywhere from 10 minutes to 48 hours to do so.

What is interesting to note though, is that transactions made via this method cannot be refunded.

For now there’s no mention of when the firm plans to expand pending transactions on Google Play, but they have noted that emerging markets will be a key target for this offering.

You can hear Google explain it in more detail in the video below, from around the seven minute mark onwards.

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.