Google "not happy" with slow Android app sales

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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 Market?s 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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 78
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 78
    realisticrealistic Posts: 1,121member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 78
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 78
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,401member
    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 Market?s 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.
  • Reply 5 of 78
    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?
  • Reply 6 of 78
    oc4theooc4theo Posts: 294member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 78
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,012member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 78
    taniatania Posts: 63member
    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?
  • Reply 9 of 78
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 78
    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???



  • Reply 11 of 78
    "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.
  • Reply 12 of 78
    People don't spend money on things they aren't committed to....
  • Reply 13 of 78
    jon tjon t Posts: 131member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 78
    jon tjon t Posts: 131member
    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...
  • Reply 15 of 78
    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
  • Reply 16 of 78
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 78
    dunksdunks Posts: 1,232member
    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).
  • Reply 18 of 78
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 78
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 78
    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.
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