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Paid apps find success much easier on Apple's iPhone than on Google Android

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
A new analysis of mobile applications has found that while paid software in the iPhone App Store routinely finds success, selling software on the Android platform is a much more difficult proposition.

Analytics firm Distimo on Friday issued a new report offering an "in-depth view on download volumes in the Google Android Market." The results show that reaching sales of more than a half-million for paid applications on Android is extremely difficult.

Distimo found that only two paid applications in the Android market have been downloaded more than 500,000 times worldwide in the history of the digital storefront. For comparison, six paid applications available on the App Store reached 500,000 in the U.S. alone in just a two month span.

Even when the numbers are reduced to 250,000, it still shows Apple with a clear advantage. Looking at just games, Distimo found that there are five paid games in the Android market with more than a quarter-million sales worldwide. For the iPhone, ten paid games reached 250,000 downloads in the U.S. alone in two months.

The study also found that the "refresh rate" of paid software in the top 10 is much higher on the iPhone App Store than it is in the Android market. During the month of April, 94 distinct paid applications appeared in the top 10 total downloads, while only 26 distinct paid applications reached the overall top 10 in the Android market.

The data further confirms comments made earlier this year by an Android platform manager at Google. Eric Chu told developers in January that Google is "not happy" about the limited number of mobile applications actually being purchased from the Android Market.



The new numbers show that sales of mobile applications on Apple's iOS platform remain well ahead of the competition, even though the collective sum of Android devices has been outpacing Apple's limited number of hardware options for some time now. In April, the NPD Group revealed that Android devices accounted for 50 percent of U.S. smartphone sales, while the iPhone and iOS accounted for 28 percent of smartphones sold domestically.
post #2 of 46
Of course it is. People who use Android (in general) usually want things free. Plus the paid android market isn't available worldwide. Only some countries offer a paid market. I do think the drawback of the app store is the race to the bottom in sales price. I think some apps are more deserving than 99 cents, but since that's stuck in buyers heads a great price, it's a bit unfortunate.

I'll give angry birds as an example. That game has a huge following, gets regular updates that add many levels. I think it should cost more than 99 cents. More like 4 bucks.
post #3 of 46
Perhaps Google's strategy for unseating iOS was to enter the market at the bottom, sell a lot more cheaper devices, become the dominant platform by sheer numbers, forcing devs to shift to them.

Looks good on paper.

But what if people at the low end of the market buy hardly any apps? Will devs still shift? Lol. Strategy fail.
post #4 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Perhaps Google's strategy for unseating iOS was to enter the market at the bottom, sell a lot more cheaper devices, become the dominant platform by sheer numbers, forcing devs to shift to them.

Looks good on paper.

But what if people at the low end of the market buy hardly any apps? Will devs still shift? Lol. Strategy fail.

Google used the MS strategy. Flood the market with a lot of junk. Whore out the OS to anyone and everyone.

It'll create big share numbers, along with headaches, user frustration, and an inconsistent experience.

as far as I'm concerned, they can have the market share crown in that case. Keep it.

Anyone who respects their OS - actually cares about what they've created, DOES NOT license universally. Period.

Of course, devs still prefer iOS. Because it seems that people actually like to get paid for their work.
post #5 of 46
There should be another category beyond free and paid, that being "free" (or perhaps "free-ish") AKA "ad subsidized."

Which fits right in with Google's business model. If consumers will tolerate it, an Android market with nothing but ad supported apps would be just fine, especially if those ads are using Google's metrics.

Google World: everything is "free" as long as you don't mind having everything with an ad attached and contributing to the endlessly refined real time virtual persona that resides on Google's servers. Or as their former CEO would have it, they can "tell you what you want to do next" because they can "more or less know what you're thinking about."
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post #6 of 46
1) …but but but Google is activating 400,000 Android devices per day.

2) Why is iPad and iPhone broken into separate categories, but not Android smartphone and tablet? Are there no apps for Honeycomb? What does that say for those wanting to buy an Android-based tablet?

3) Maybe some will take note of what can happen when you build well instead of trying to build fast.
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post #7 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

as far as I'm concerned, they can have the market share crown in that case. Keep it.

Amen to that. Personally I will continue to use what I regard as the best product regardless of what other people are doing.
post #8 of 46
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post #9 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

Better search would help devs a lot. Right now every record in that 400,000+ app database is reduced to the same common denominator.

I would like to see them hire some professional reviewers. Poach them from magazines or something. And then have an option to sort by pro review rating.
post #10 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

I'll give angry birds as an example. That game has a huge following, gets regular updates that add many levels. I think it should cost more than 99 cents. More like 4 bucks.

I don't think that the developers of Angry Birds are unsatisfied with over 100 million downloads of their game. Even with Apple's cut they have still collected over 60 million $$$$ and counting ..... color them happy .... very happy. One of the keys to success is to know your market customer base .... I think they nailed it.

http://www.gamingunion.net/news/angr...ion--4337.html
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post #11 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

A few quick comments:

● The comparison is somewhat meaningless as Android focuses on free apps supported by ads.
● The comparison is somewhat meaningless as iOS developers can also sell to iPod Touch and iPad customers.
● On the iOS (and probably Android as well) the vast majority of the money goes to only a few devs. Speaking as a small dev that gets caught on the wrong end of that, Apple could help me out by:

1) Reducing the number of redundant apps. For example, you don't need 800+ fart apps. 20 would be more than enough. This would give customers a reason to explore the stores for additional apps.
2) Improving the search capabilities in the various stores (although, to be fair, they're not as bad as what I saw in the Amazon Mac store yesterday). This would give customers the ability to explore the store for additional apps.

Edit:
Also, even speaking as a consumer I'd like to see those two changes.

Your comments are somewhat meaningless as:

1) iOS also has a huge contingent of free apps that are also ad supported.
2) Android developers can also taget the Xoom, Galaxy Tab, Dell Streak the Asus Transformer thing...
3) I am sure the distribution is similar between Android and iOS. That still means an iOS programmer is making over 20X more than an Android programmer (on average).

You are right that Android could do with far fewer Fart apps (as it has 3X more than iOS). Android could also do without the 30,000+ animated wall paper apps. Search and discovery could also be improved on both Android's and iOS's store fronts as well.
post #12 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post

I don't think that the developers of Angry Birds are unsatisfied with over 100 million downloads of their game. Even with Apple's cut they have still collected over 60 million $$$$ and counting ..... color them happy .... very happy. One of the keys to success is to know your market customer base .... I think they nailed it.

http://www.gamingunion.net/news/angr...ion--4337.html

Yes I know that, but I was stating that I think the value of the game is worth more than 99 cents. We all know they've made serious bucks.
post #13 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

You left out The Big Duh:

● People who drive Bentleys also spend more on shoes, restaurants, and vacation resorts.

The Apple customer is a well-known demographic niche that's accustomed to paying more.

You got it.

Perhaps you didn't realize it or it's not what you intended to do, but you actually said something positive about Apple for a change!
post #14 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Google used the MS strategy. Flood the market with a lot of junk. Whore out the OS to anyone and everyone.

It'll create big share numbers, along with headaches, user frustration, and an inconsistent experience.

as far as I'm concerned, they can have the market share crown in that case. Keep it.

Anyone who respects their OS - actually cares about what they've created, DOES NOT license universally. Period.

Of course, devs still prefer iOS. Because it seems that people actually like to get paid for their work.

As usual, spot on, Quado!
post #15 of 46
There are so many reasons why this is not a surprise to anybody who has the faintest clue.

Many Android people are apparently cheapskates, I've said that before. Some Android people get their phones for free. Go to an Android forum and you'll hear plenty of talk of people rooting their phones. Many people who root their phones are pirates, regardless if they'll claim otherwise. There are also far better apps on iOS than on Android.

So to sum it up, I'm not surprised that people who appreciate quality are willing to spend more money on items and software than a bunch of freeloaders who boast about an open OS that's not really open and people who constantly blabber on about rooting their damn phones.

Android people must be too busy rooting their phones and playing around with their lame desktops to have any time to use apps, much less pay for them.
post #16 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

I would like to see them hire some professional reviewers. Poach them from magazines or something. And then have an option to sort by pro review rating.

Brilliant! One step up from "staff favs." I think that is an excellent idea!
post #17 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Google used the MS strategy. Flood the market with a lot of junk. Whore out the OS to anyone and everyone.

It'll create big share numbers, along with headaches, user frustration, and an inconsistent experience.

as far as I'm concerned, they can have the market share crown in that case. Keep it.

Anyone who respects their OS - actually cares about what they've created, DOES NOT license universally. Period.

Of course, devs still prefer iOS. Because it seems that people actually like to get paid for their work.

Once again I tinkered with a friend's XOOM tablet. No wonder it's a hit with the geeks, nerds, and tech-heads and hated by the joe-consumer. Android is an ADHD dream, horrible GUI interface, choppy performance... oh... but it can be ROOTED!
post #18 of 46
Between this and Android web usage stats, it's quit clear that a significant number, if not the majority, of Android users didn't necessarily seek it out - instead they probably got it for free with a BOGO promotion or similar. Contrast that to the iPhonewhere every sale is a premium sale and more than likely a deliberate choice on the part of the purchaser.
post #19 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post

Between this and Android web usage stats, it's quit clear that a significant number, if not the majority, of Android users didn't necessarily seek it out - instead they probably got it for free with a BOGO promotion or similar. Contrast that to the iPhonewhere every sale is a premium sale and more than likely a deliberate choice on the part of the purchaser.

Every sale is a premium sale? So you're saying no one ever buys the $50 3GS?


As for the "type of customer" between iOS and Android users. It doesn't really hold sway anymore. The idea that only "well off" customers get iOS and only "cheapskates" get android. That argument lost most of it's punch once Apple finally allowed ATT to subsidize the device.
post #20 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Menno View Post

Every sale is a premium sale? So you're saying no one ever buys the $50 3GS?


As for the "type of customer" between iOS and Android users. It doesn't really hold sway anymore. The idea that only "well off" customers get iOS and only "cheapskates" get android. That argument lost most of it's punch once Apple finally allowed ATT to subsidize the device.

Nonsense. Android's ubiquity insures that it's merely the OS that comes on the phone they sold you.

Go to an AT&T or Verizon store and see what proportion of phones they're selling run Android. See if you can renew a contract without having an Android phone pushed on you.

Android isn't the OS that people ask for, it's the OS they get, like it or not. You have to go out of your way to get an iPhone, probably pay more, and probably insist in the face of salesperson pressure.

For all intents and purposes, Android is the new feature phone OS-- you get it even if all you want is to be able to email, surf the web and text. And, indeed, it would appear that that's pretty much a lot of Android users are doing. That doesn't mean that Android doesn't have its enthusiasts that seek out and exploit the OS to its fullest. But Android's very success has made it a lowest common denominator solution in the age of smartphones, the default OS that comes with whatever you get if you don't care much what you get. It's not terribly surprising that the whole paid app to use your phone like a small mobile computer phenomena really hasn't taken off in that market.
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post #21 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

Speaking as a small dev that gets caught on the wrong end of that, Apple could help me out by:

What is/are your app(s)? You could at least advertise it here. You know here is loads of your potential customers.
The mod won't mind I guess since you're asked.
post #22 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

A few quick comments:
● On the iOS (and probably Android as well) the vast majority of the money goes to only a few devs. Speaking as a small dev that gets caught on the wrong end of that, Apple could help me out by:

1) Reducing the number of redundant apps. For example, you don't need 800+ fart apps. 20 would be more than enough. This would give customers a reason to explore the stores for additional apps..

You whine so much about how it's Apple's fault your apps don't sell. If Apple starts culling apps, YOUR apps may be the ones that get gone. Then, you will be on here screaming about how Apple is kicking the little devs out of the App Store. How it must change. It may be time to change over to the 'glass half full' side.
post #23 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post

I don't think that the developers of Angry Birds are unsatisfied with over 100 million downloads of their game. Even with Apple's cut they have still collected over 60 million $$$$ and counting

Total of 100 million downloads from everywhere, not just Apple.
Very likely this number also includes all the free versions.
Yes it has made a lot of money but most likely not $60 million.
However with all the other garbage such as licensing, movie, t-shirts and other spin-offs, it is a cash cow.
post #24 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

I don't think it's appropriate for me to use Apple Insider's message board to ask people to go buy my apps.

This isn't about me trying to get you to buy my apps. It's about trying to raise awareness that there are structural issues with Apple's App Store that put small developers at an unnecessary disadvantage. And, in turn, hopefully that will work to improve the situation.

Why so tight-lipped about it I wonder. I don't think you can fool anyone here. This "doing for a greater good" sure sounds like a certain company's bull__it.
post #25 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by GotWake View Post

You whine so much about how it's Apple's fault your apps don't sell.

He whined so much but he wouldn't let us his potential customers knows about his apps. Looks like his business is less important than Apple bashing/Google worshiping. Does he take us as a fool?
post #26 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

1) but but but Google is activating 400,000 Android devices per day.

2) Why is iPad and iPhone broken into separate categories, but not Android smartphone and tablet? Are there no apps for Honeycomb? What does that say for those wanting to buy an Android-based tablet?

3) Maybe some will take note of what can happen when you build well instead of trying to build fast.

2) It's a common Distimo trick that Daniel Eran Dilger has rightly pointed out a few times before. Distimo always breaks down iPad and iPhone into separate categories, but lumps Android together. Leading to the "OMFG Android will have more apps than iPhone by June". iPhone, not iOS as a whole.
post #27 of 46
What hasn't been mentioned is that there was no support for paid apps in the Android Market until Feb/09, about 27 months ago. And even then it was only for the US and the UK. And as recently as just 10 months ago paid apps were only offered in 14 of the 48 available countries. Just this month they've finally announced paid app availability for 100 new countries, where only 32 were supported prior to a few weeks ago.

So of course there are more free apps in the Android Market. That's all that was offered for a long time. Perhaps that might have just a little bit more to do with the comparison of paid apps on the two platforms than Android users unwillingness to pay for them. \

http://www.distimo.com/blog/2010_09_...new-countries/
http://www.esato.com/news/article.php/id=2004
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post #28 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

My friend, if you're interested in my apps, go into the app store, wade through the thousands of junk apps using Apple's sub-par search tools, and, if you have faith that my apps won't steal and sell your personal data without either myself or Apple telling you about it, buy the apps.

But, if you're like most people, you won't. Because no one wants to wade through thousands of junk apps using lousy tools hoping to find something decent. And no one wants to risk their personal data being stolen and sold to anyone who bids on it.

My wife downloaded a few apps a day. So far she loves the system (otherwise she wouldn't keep coming back to it, would she?) and her personal data still intact (can't say that about gmail she's using though, especially when she fell to Google scam by unintentionally using Buzz). Is the App Store perfect? Hell, no. Is it decent enough? "I love my iPhone, especially app" she said (which I think is funny because she always hates computer).
I don't think anyone here interested in your apps, just want to see your excuse. If you're the real iOS developer then best of luck to you. Couldn't see you're being successful at all.
post #29 of 46
That still doesn't explain the discrepancy.
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post #30 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

... For all intents and purposes, Android is the new feature phone OS ...

I'm happy to see people are starting to realize something I stated a long time ago in these forums.
post #31 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

Whatever, Mr. 100 mile location data. LOL

I see they let MacTripper out again.
post #32 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

I'm happy to see people are starting to realize something I stated a long time ago in these forums.

It's being used on both premium and feature phones. iOs would be too if Apple made a feature phone or licensed their OS.
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post #33 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

It's being used on both premium and feature phones. iOs would be too if Apple made a feature phone or licensed their OS.

I think you're missing the point.
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post #34 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

I think you're missing the point.

I may have. I'm assuming there was some attempt to link value with the price of the object. I just didn't get it.
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post #35 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

I may have. I'm assuming there was some attempt to link value with the price of the object. I just didn't get it.

The point is that Android is the cheap, kitchen sink mobile phone OS that allows carriers to maintain the control they want, which is pretty much what feature phones are/were all about.
post #36 of 46
What would be their option Anonymouse? Apple doesn't license their OS, win7 mobile was just released and neither Nokia or Blackberry has shown they can keep up. Creating yet another OS sounds like a lot of effort for little return. There's a limited number of players with the resources to design an OS from the ground up and with the market recognition to give it a chance to be successful.

That's why I'm missing the point you're trying to make. If Android was being chosen over other options based simply on it being free you might have one. It's not. It's not a reflection on value. On the contrary, instead it's the best available option in the view of many manufacturers.
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post #37 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

What would be their option Anonymouse? ...

No, for once you are right, Androd fits the niche I described perfectly.
post #38 of 46
I think that might be a first. We agree.
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post #39 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

No, it's my responsibility to sell my Apps, not Apple's. I understand that.

But I also understand that even _I_ don't want to buy apps from small devs, and I'm a small developer myself. And the main reasons I don't want to buy them are the reasons I outlined in those two posts. Seriously, If you're a small dev, there's basically 0% chance your app will get loaded onto my device.

And it's probably not just me that feels that way, as most people don't buy from the small developer. That's why most of the revenue generated by iOS goes to only a few developers.

Edit:
BTW, if Apple decided to cull apps and mine got culled, I'd be happier as a consumer that they were culling apps than I would be disappointed as a dev that mine got culled. That said, I agree that there would be devs complaining their apps got culled.

The key to doing it right would be for Apple to put out a statement saying they were going to cull apps in the near future and listing the criteria they would use to do so. For example, they may say that redundancy, time of entry into the App Store, and # of purchases are the criteria. So if you're selling "FART APP #627" and have zero sales, you know ahead of time your app will probably get culled. And it will be culled based on criteria applied to everyone, you're not being singled out by Apple.

"....as people don't buy from the small developer"

That's the problem with geeks. We think 'everyone' thinks like us. People could give a rat's ass about how huge the developer is or isn't. I do agree that the App Store is a mess. The issue for a dev is "how do I get eyes on my product?". Then...... reviews. Culling is limiting, which isn't a good thing. Everyone likes to use 'fart' apps an example. But, what about 200 motorcycle game apps. Is that too many, should it be culled back to 150? What about the next one which may be 2 steps better than that 150 and (gasp!), it's from a small developer?
post #40 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by GotWake View Post

"....as people don't buy from the small developer"

That's the problem with geeks. We think 'everyone' thinks like us. People could give a rat's ass about how huge the developer is or isn't. I do agree that the App Store is a mess. The issue for a dev is "how do I get eyes on my product?". Then...... reviews. Culling is limiting, which isn't a good thing. Everyone likes to use 'fart' apps an example. But, what about 200 motorcycle game apps. Is that too many, should it be culled back to 150? What about the next one which may be 2 steps better than that 150 and (gasp!), it's from a small developer?

I have no idea how long the Angry Birds developer has been in business if its their first app or 50th; if its one developer or 100. I only care that I enjoyed the game immensely taking up way too much of of my time for $4.99.
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