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Google "not happy" with slow Android app sales

post #1 of 79
Thread Starter 
Despite brisk hardware sales to consumers and large numbers of apps sitting in in marketplace, Google's Android platform isn't resulting in healthy app sales, a problem the company is trying to solve.

Speaking to "anxious app developers" at the Inside Social Apps conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Android platform manager Eric Chu said Google is actually "not happy" about the limited number of apps actually being purchased, according to a report by Forbes blogger Oliver Chiang.

The Plan to fix Android app sales

Chiang said Chu outlined a roadmap for Android in 2011 that the company hopes will help it drive new app sales more comparable to the outstanding results of Apple's blockbuster iOS App Store, but noted the plan is short on specifics.

"Chu used the phrase 'stay tuned' enough to make a drinking game out of it," Chiang wrote.

The overall plan includes creating an in-app payments system like the one Apple created last year as part of iOS 4, enabling developers to sell episodic content or related virtual goods.

Google also hopes to negotiate carrier billing agreements with scores of regional mobile providers, allowing users to buy apps and bill them to their mobile account. Apple doesn't need to do this because the iOS App Store in iTunes can bill users directly in most countries, far more than Google's Android Marketplace.

Wanted: app curator

Chu also wants to clean up Android Market, saying there is a team tasked with "weeding out apps that violate Android Markets terms of service," an indication that Google's free-for-all market design is recognized to have serious drawbacks.

Many of the tens of thousands of apps in Android Market are just ringtones, wallpapers or simplistic "apps" designed just to fill space, a situation that drowns out legitimate developer's work under tons of copyright infringing junkware.

Android Market has also distributed distractive malware, a problem Google can't catch in advance because it isn't curating its catalog, and instead waiting for fires to erupt so it can put them out.

Migration toward HTML apps

The company also hopes to create algorithms to help promote the best apps, making it easier for users to discover worthwhile programs. Chu also indicated that Google planned to turn users' Address Books into a "social graph" that third party apps could tap into.

Without elaborating, Chu also commented that Google was "betting on" HTML5 as a way to create apps. Google employees have previously made it clear that the company sees the Java-like core VM of Android as a stepping stone to a future where apps are created in HTML, as soon as web tools can support sophisticated apps.

That's something that undermines rather than builds confidence in Google's commitment to Android in general. Why should Google bother to create an app store if its future is aimed at web pages? In Google's case, either can be monetized with ads, so there's no reason to build the current Android platform to be anything more than a temporary placeholder.

Chu's comments came just days after Apple celebrated its 10 billionth iOS app download and is promoting an iPad-optimized library of over 60,000 apps.
post #2 of 79
Why is it a surprise?? I've always said that Android got as much market share as it did because Google is giving away the OS and thus many people got it by default - people who are not exactly predisposed to spend. iPhone users, just by their virtue of selecting an iPhone, are more to inclined to spend on apps for the phone.
post #3 of 79
Sounds like Google is going to try and emulate Apple's iOS store. I guess Android is too open for its' own good. Without controls chaos is to be expected.

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post #4 of 79
That HTML5 comment was not smart. Way to undermine your (current) developers dude.

People always worry that someone will come along and copy Apple and eat their lunch. But like someone once said (Guy Kawasaki?), the same reason they don't invent the stuff themselves in the first place also means they don't know what to copy. In this case they thought curation was an inessential feature and so did not copy it, but it looks like they were wrong.
post #5 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Wanted: app curator

Chu also wants to clean up Android Market, saying there is a team tasked with "weeding out apps that violate Android Markets terms of service," an indication that Google's free-for-all market design is recognized to have serious drawbacks.

Many of the tens of thousands of apps in Android Market are just ringtones, wallpapers or simplistic "apps" designed just to fill space, a situation that drowns out legitimate developer's work under tons of copyright infringing junkware.

Android Market has also distributed distractive malware, a problem Google can't catch in advance because it isn't curating its catalog, and instead waiting for fires to erupt so it can put them out.

I always considered the cesspool called Marketplace to be the wild-west of apps. It's a place where anarchy rules and no one is watching the store.

With the fragmentation problems Android is having (yes, it is real), the malware issues going on, the lack of any reliable payment system for developers, it is no wonder at all that the real players are not porting their apps here. The hardcore phandroids think it's the perfect model of choice for consumers, when the consumers in general look at it as a mess and something only for nerds. I've used Android. Had Apple never been in the game, it obviously would be the OS to use. However, it's a shame to see how sloppy and poorly implemented this system/ecosystem has become.

Motorola is already making it worse with the locking-down of their handsets to prevent OS upgrades, further causing a rift in OS fragmentations. The handset makers have ZERO incentive to upgrade the OS devices due to their business model. They make money on making handsets and do not want their phones to have the ability to allow users to keep them longer.

I think Google will preach the mantra of Android openness until Larry Page is blue in the face, but in the end the handset makers and the wireless companies that sell the hardware will do what is best for them, and not for Google.

Android will continue to evolve. Unfortunately, it will be considered the Windows of the mobile realm, while Apple's iOS will continue to be regarded as the gold-standard.
post #6 of 79
Quote:
Despite brisk hardware sales to consumers and large numbers of apps sitting in in marketplace, Google's Android platform isn't resulting in health app sales, a problem the company is trying to solve.

I'm suprised Google have that much of a focus on a single category of app... How are the other categories doing?
post #7 of 79
Why would any conscious-thinking person buy a trash and install on a smartphone, especially when most are filled with ads?

I wouldn't. Open source means open door. And when the door is wide open with no guard, anything goes.

Good luck to you Android fans. I wouldn't use one even if it is free.

I love my iPhones since 2007.
post #8 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by OC4Theo View Post

Why would any conscious-thinking person buy a trash and install on a smartphone, especially when most are filled with ads?

I wouldn't. Open source means open door. And when the door is wide open with no guard, anything goes.

Good luck to you Android fans. I wouldn't use one even if it is free.

I love my iPhones since 2007.

This forum you're using is open source. The whole software stack is probably open source. Yet, you're using it.

The problem with android marketpkplace is in implementation. I wanted to buy something on the marketplace the other day but the experience is not conducive to paying for the app. So i didn't.
post #9 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by djsherly View Post

The problem with android marketpkplace is in implementation. I wanted to buy something on the marketplace the other day but the experience is not conducive to paying for the app. So i didn't.

I don't have an android so i'm curious as to how is it not a conducive experience?
post #10 of 79
Gee. Let's see.
Apple has been heavily advertising their App Store and Apps on television for THREE YEARS!

When was the last time you saw an Android Market commercial???
How about, NEVER???? I would wager that a huge % of android phone owners never even
click on the Android Market.

Yet, Google thinks they deserve the same cut that Apple takes for each app sale (30%)
PLUS the fees they charge for using google checkout to process app sales!

We released an app for Android market in December 2010.
A men's magazine "Spicy Magazine Sexy Latinas HD"
The free trial version got over 13,000 downloads in 1 month.
In that time, the paid version only got about 200 downloads.

This tells me the Android users that do use the Market, in large part are not paying for apps. Selling 100 million android phones is worthless to app developers if most of these people aren't shopping for apps.

As this article indicated, I hope google sets up a review team to reject garbage apps. All our content is properly licensed, and we spent time and money to make a quality interface for it. But it's visibility in the Android Market is hindered by the zillion copyright infringing, crappy apps that are just trying to push ads by releasing a new app every day and make the entire Market look like garbage.
Apple App Store had more quality apps 2 months into their launch then Android Market has now.
post #11 of 79
Another problem keeping quality developers away is that every phone has different hardware specs!

Trying to develop an app for 4 different screen resolutions, different memory, cpus, etc. is near impossible.

Who has 20 different phones to test on???

post #12 of 79
"Chu also indicated that Google planned to turn users' Address Books into a "social graph" that third party apps could tap into."

I'd better tell my Android using "friends" to erase me from their address book.
post #13 of 79
People don't spend money on things they aren't committed to....
post #14 of 79
Why would anyone want to go with a Spamdroid phone??

Ringtones, wallpapers, malware and copyright infringing junkware. Good description - and it applies to the OS as well...!

People buy Apps on the iPhone because the ecosystem is so good they know they will stay loyal to it. Simple.
post #15 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by peter02l View Post

"Chu also indicated that Google planned to turn users' Address Books into a "social graph" that third party apps could tap into."

I'd better tell my Android using "friends" to erase me from their address book.

Good line. And I'm telling everyone that if they know what is good for them, DO NOT stay logged into Google when online...
post #16 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by peter02l View Post

"Chu also indicated that Google planned to turn users' Address Books into a "social graph" that third party apps could tap into."

I'd better tell my Android using "friends" to erase me from their address book.

This has to be condemned
post #17 of 79
part of my decision to go iOS route is I want something easy. Easy to spend, easy to consume, easy to use.
Guess the article has proved guy like me rarely go to Android despite its openness, meaning could have a lot more things to spend on.
post #18 of 79
Lack of vetting apps before they are uploaded is the main problem. Rogue software is a huge problem. It's good to see apple take the lead here on an issue everyone else has put in the toohard basket (or worse: sought to monetize like the antivirus approach).
post #19 of 79
There's got to be at least 50 lil Wayne apps in the Android market place. I'm wondering how open is Android if google starts implementing rules on top of giving carriers and OEMs total control over software updates.
post #20 of 79
The problem is that Google has been giving out a lot stuff for free that people have gotten spoiled. Fandroids doesn't like to pay for anything.
post #21 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by HoneyBear View Post

We released an app for Android market in December 2010.
A men's magazine "Spicy Magazine Sexy Latinas HD"
The free trial version got over 13,000 downloads in 1 month.
In that time, the paid version only got about 200 downloads.

This tells me the Android users that do use the Market, in large part are not paying for apps. Selling 100 million android phones is worthless to app developers if most of these people aren't shopping for apps.

Maybe your app sucked. Maybe the magazine's content sucked. Maybe people looking for that sort of content are already aware of plenty of free websites to get the same content.

Honestly, your anecdote says absolutely nothing about Android users.
post #22 of 79
Android apps are effing stolen like crazy. A lot of fandroids pride their a** on being so freaking technical that they eventually steal the devs hard work.
sorry Goggle but you ain't getting to 10 billion app downloads in this life time.
post #23 of 79
I assume a good number of android users expect their apps to be free. Plus isn't android not allowed to sell apps in some markets?
post #24 of 79
Wow, now Google wants nicer apps? They've courted the 'volume' demographic (let's be Windows on the phone) and can't expect it to be as nice. Half of the users are too cheap to get the nicer phone (I'm looking at you, iPhone) and aren't suddenly going to start spending money on apps, the other half think everything should be free anyway and either won't pay or will pirate. Their users don't really care, Google will make money on ads, the hardware makers will have their razor-thin margins... everyone's happy.

For users who don't want to be part of that ecosystem, at least there's a better alternative.
post #25 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

Maybe your app sucked. Maybe the magazine's content sucked. Maybe people looking for that sort of content are already aware of plenty of free websites to get the same content.

Honestly, your anecdote says absolutely nothing about Android users.

No kidding. Why pay for "sexy Latinas" content? Go to Google, turn off safe search, click images and search for "sexy latinas" and I bet you get content that is as good or better for free.

People will pay for apps if there is a compelling reason to do so. I will pay for a GPS app if it is better than the free ones in a way that is meaningful to me. I will not pay for an app that at best duplicates what I already have or is a half backed mess.

If anything, Google has an issue with getting compelling high quality apps in the store and in front of potential customers. It is not a problem with Android customers not willing to spend $0.99 on an app. Many of them paid the same $199 for their Evo or DroidX that iPhone owners paid for their devices. The ones on Verizon are paying more for their monthly services. They will spend money if you give them something to spend it on.
post #26 of 79
Ah, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it easier to install 'non-official' apps onto Android phones?
post #27 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstep View Post

Wow, now Google wants nicer apps? They've courted the 'volume' demographic (let's be Windows on the phone) and can't expect it to be as nice. Half of the users are too cheap to get the nicer phone (I'm looking at you, iPhone) and aren't suddenly going to start spending money on apps, the other half think everything should be free anyway and either won't pay or will pirate. Their users don't really care, Google will make money on ads, the hardware makers will have their razor-thin margins... everyone's happy.

For users who don't want to be part of that ecosystem, at least there's a better alternative.

You seem to think you know a lot about Android customers. Half are too cheap to get a nicer phone? What is that based on? Half wont pay for an app or will pirate them? Again what is your source? There are iPhone owners who are too cheap to upgrade to an iPhone4 and who pirate apps, but I would not take those facts and make up BS stats that say they are half the population.

More than half of Android customers in the US are on Verizon, the most expensive phone carrier. Yet these same peole are too cheap to buy an app? Really? They go for the volume demographic, and these people are also techno geeks who pirate apps? Really?

You are so blinded by bias you make no sense.
post #28 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by smaceslin View Post

Ah, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it easier to install 'non-official' apps onto Android phones?

There is no such thing as non-official apps in the android world since they do not have an app store for offically approved apps. But more to the point, it is not very hard to jailbreak an iOS device and install pirated apps either. A small number of jailbreakers do it, but it is far from the norm on iOS and I doubt it is that widespread on Android either.
post #29 of 79
This is of course just a single example, but a friend of mine with a Droid Incredible regularly busts my chops about the fact that I "pay" for apps for my iPhone, etc. He's quite proud of the fact that he hasn't paid for a single app for his Android phone yet.
post #30 of 79
Maybe those virile 'He Men' that buy Droids can't figure out how to do it?
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post #31 of 79
why is this a surprise Google business model was not to sell apps but to have app developer use advertising as means of making money, they encourage developers to not sell apps but to give them away and generate revenue through stupid ad placements.

When you read most review of the free Android apps people get pissed with all the ad placements. You some time see that with iOS apps as well. This is why Apple was not real keen on doing ad placements.
post #32 of 79
Being an iPhone and android phone user, I admit the fact that I spent a lot on buying iPhone apps while android I spend 0 dollar !! The games on android are either too boring or already sold on iPhone app store.
post #33 of 79
Ha, so much for "the beauty of the Android App Store is in its openness" or words to that effect by Eric Schmidt.

Will the openness fanatics who have been championing Android commit harakiri once word gets out that Google will start, omigod, curating the Android app store?
post #34 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by raymondinperth View Post

The games on android are either too boring or already sold on iPhone app store.

No, that can't possibly be the reason! Are you sure you are not a cheap pirate? I read here on AI that Android users are cheap pirates, it must be true.
post #35 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

Ha, so much for "the beauty of the Android App Store is in its openness" or words to that effect by Eric Schmidt.

Will the openness fanatics who have been championing Android commit harakiri once word gets out that Google will start, omigod, curating the Android app store?

No, they didn't kill themselves when Motorolla locked down the OS, so why would they care if Google locks down the store. Besides, they can still get crappy apps from other stores. Android does not lock yopu into the one and only one store model...yet.
post #36 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by OC4Theo View Post

Why would any conscious-thinking person buy a trash and install on a smartphone, especially when most are filled with ads?

I wouldn't. Open source means open door. And when the door is wide open with no guard, anything goes.

Good luck to you Android fans. I wouldn't use one even if it is free.

I love my iPhones since 2007.

Funny cause I have a NYTimes app on my iPhone that constantly crashes and is full of ads. \
post #37 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

I always considered the cesspool called Marketplace to be the wild-west of apps. It's a place where anarchy rules and no one is watching the store.

With the fragmentation problems Android is having (yes, it is real), the malware issues going on, the lack of any reliable payment system for developers, it is no wonder at all that the real players are not porting their apps here. The hardcore phandroids think it's the perfect model of choice for consumers, when the consumers in general look at it as a mess and something only for nerds. I've used Android. Had Apple never been in the game, it obviously would be the OS to use. However, it's a shame to see how sloppy and poorly implemented this system/ecosystem has become.

Motorola is already making it worse with the locking-down of their handsets to prevent OS upgrades, further causing a rift in OS fragmentations. The handset makers have ZERO incentive to upgrade the OS devices due to their business model. They make money on making handsets and do not want their phones to have the ability to allow users to keep them longer.

I think Google will preach the mantra of Android openness until Larry Page is blue in the face, but in the end the handset makers and the wireless companies that sell the hardware will do what is best for them, and not for Google.

Android will continue to evolve. Unfortunately, it will be considered the Windows of the mobile realm, while Apple's iOS will continue to be regarded as the gold-standard.


Go to the first post. The people who purchase an Android phone don't even know Marketplace exists, let alone any of the other issues you mention.
post #38 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

I assume a good number of android users expect their apps to be free. Plus isn't android not allowed to sell apps in some markets?

You're assumption is correct. I have a Droid and so do many of my friends, I thread the market very carefully and only get apps that come highly recommended from various sites and whenever I show my friends a app I think they should get I always get the "is it free?" reply.

I think Google made a big mistake by allowing the market to be so open. Its going to take much more work to weed out bad apps than if they had the pre-approval process to begin with. A somewhat open OS was a good idea a open and free marketplace was not.
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post #39 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by smaceslin View Post

Ah, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it easier to install 'non-official' apps onto Android phones?

Except for the Android phones on ATT it is very easy to install apps not on the market. ATT disabled that option on their Android phones.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
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post #40 of 79
Here is one simple anecdote:

My brother just got an Android phone on Cricket. He has not set up his GMail account on it yet because he can't figure out how. He called me and asked me how he can get iPhone apps on his phone. He "chose" an Android phone because:

1. It was free.
2. He was told he needed a "smart phone".

The networks are selling Android like crazy to anyone - whether or not they even know what the heck to do with it.

I know this is just one example (I have a few other more tech-savvy friends who use the heck out of their Android phones - but two of them only use free-as-in-beer apps).

However: my wife, sister, daughter, niece, brother-in-law, and nephew all have iOS devices and buy apps regularly (my nephew just topped 500 apps).

Also, my other brother-in-law has a Windows phone 7 - and he can't figure out the windows app store, and we couldn't get app store gift cards for him for Christmas - while every iOS user we know got iTunes gift cards in their stockings...

Anecdote is not equal to fact. But it is something to think about...
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