Since my foray into Android development and taking a much more keen interest in the various app markets that exist and how they function and perform from a developers perspective. This post aims to vent my frustration’s and hopefully incite some conversation into the future of the “app store”.
Paid vs Free apps
Free apps on the Android Market seem to be the way to go with the vast majority of Android users unwilling to pay for an app, there have been many studies recently stating the huge increase in price of apps on Android compared with iTunes which the top 100 apps will cost you 2.5x more than the top 100 on iOs. The increase in price seen may well be because developers hike the prices up on paid apps to make up for the drop in downloads they will receive so they effectively try to level the playing field but in the long run this is damaging the market. Another Study recently stated that Android developers will make more money from the Amazon Store than the Android Market, this is no reflection on Android users as I believe most will pay for quality apps the same way iOs users do but the fact is it’s just not as easy as proven by Amazon Market success, having a credit card associated with your account lowers the barrier of entry significantly making it much more attractive for users to click and go. On the other hand most Android users never have a need to associate a credit card with their Android account so they effort required to enter card details for a $1 purchase seems like too much work. This has to change Ad Revenue is low for a developer users will slate apps with many ad’s or intrusive ad’s rightly so but developers have little choice and what keeps top developers in a Market when there’s another one that’s making developers more money (apart for Objective c of course)
Next Steps – In my opinion
Card Details – When you buy an Android phone it requires you to create a gmail account so why when creating this account can the user not be prompted to supply credit card details it doesn’t have to be forced it can be optional but state that it will improve user experience and that way improve Market revenue and developer revenue in one fell swoop which I believe it would.This may become a reality once Google Wallet takes off and they fix the issues, I haven’t bought a Android device since the Galaxy S so don’t know if this has already been implemented but would love to hear peoples thoughts on this.
Donations – From talking to a lot of developers I know that most only charge for their software to make a living if they couldn’t they wouldn’t but after spending a lot of time on a project it’s nice to be rewarded for that. I know that you can implement donations within your app but I believe they aren’t viewed in a good light may be due to security of payment I don’t know but if only Google could provide a section similar to free or paid but where developers could post their apps for a donation. Just an idea that could maybe work would love to get some developers views and user’s views on this.
XXX – Many have probably noticed that many apps on the market are Adult/Sex related and that they soon shoot to the top of pages quickly leaving many useful apps in the shadows as clearly sex does sell now all I ask is for some kind of filter that will section these apps in there own section. As a Market we are still a bit behind iTunes who faced a similar issue with Fart apps and they had to do something about this so I believe Android would gain from doing something similar.
In conclusion the Android Market is still young and got a lot of maturing to do, but there are still a few things that could be better. We really have to keep the focus on keeping developers happy on the Android platform and securing their backing as its the software that will drive the future of the platform.