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Home page: http://www.phillyandroid.com/blog
Posts by Steve
What sort of things would you like to see in the next few months? Here are a few ideas I’ve seen so far:
- Chemistry application (useful for highschool/college kids, perhaps?).
- Blockbuster.com application (to rival Netflix).
- Mint.com application.
- Box.net application.
- TV/DVR scheduler.
What other things would be useful to have running on Android?
There have certainly been a lot of buzz generated around the iTunes Store business model when it comes to software for the iPhone/iPod Touch, and it will inevitably hit the Android Marketplace sometime this month. The question is, what will be the response to paid applications in the Android Market, and how will developers react to these responses?
As a developer, I think it has been nice to have a little bit of time to look into what has gone on with applications in the iTunes Store. Let’s take a look:
A vast majority of the paid applications are 99 cents. Enter the term “ringtone apps”. This term was really popularized by Craig Hockenberry, a developer for Iconfactory. His (and others) opinions for paid apps is that it just really doesn’t make the apps platform any richer, but rather pollutes the store with crap-ware. I tend to agree with him. For companies who specifically design software for the iPhone/Android, they need that additional revenue earned to be able to pay other programmers, designers, advertising costs, etc. to be able to complete a project. With pricing their app at, say, 2.99 or higher, they may not break even, even though that should be what the software is worth. Instead, they have to drop their price down to the 99 cent range in order to get the optimal amount of sales, and hopefully, make some profit.
On the other hand, there are individual developers, such as myself. I do the design, I do the labor, I do the promotion, and I may choose to sell the application for 99 cents. I have less overhead than say, a 6 man development team, but I may stand to gain more in the long run just because I did everything myself.
It’s a tough topic for me, and possibly for others, because I can see on both sides of the fence. Personally, I would pay 3.99 or 4.99 for a well designed, purposeful application that I’d use often, but I’d also likely purchase 99 cent applications more frequently because, well, its 99 cents.. am I really going to miss it if I don’t like it?
I had a brief discussion with Wes Wadsworth, author of the Force Ring Android app. In one of his previous releases of Force Ring, he did not previously mention that he changed the application from freeware to trialware, and a $3 charge was being asked for to use the ‘full’ version. As I scrolled through the comments for his app, I noticed he was making a lot of people quite upset, thus dropping his review down to 3.5 stars or lower. Perhaps he was just anxious to be rewarded for his efforts, and hastily set a price on a previously free version. I can’t say I blame him, developing any software by yourself can be time consuming, but there’s something to be learned here: Do your best to make your customers happy. Some will moan about having to pay for an application, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to charge for your work. Just make sure it is good enough to put your name on, and be proud of at the end of the day.
So, for all of you Android developers, kindly investigate the statistics surrounding the iTunes app store, and make the decision that’s right for you regarding your application’s business model.
Happy New Year to everyone! 2009 looks to be a great year for Google’s Android. Here are some of the things we can look forward to in the very near future:
- International expansion of the Android Market.
- Priced applications in the Android Market.
- Further development and deployment of the “cupcake” release of Android.
- Possible Android netbooks going mainstream.
- Additional handsets to use Android.
All of these are really exciting opportunities for not only end-users, but also for us developers! I’ve been waiting in earnest for the updates to the Android Market, and have been looking forward to having the market expand to many other countries.
One of the new additions I will be really excited to see get released soon is the “cupcake” branch of Android. This release will bring many much needed updates to the current system, as well as add several new features, namely stereo bluetooth support, video capturing and (drumroll, please…) a touchscreen keyboard! Also in this branch will be additional localization support, so the user may be able to choose between different languages. I’ve already begun the process of localizing my existing application, as well as begun to work on localization support for my unreleased applications.
So, it looks as though there are some really awesome things in the pipeline for everyone this year! Look forward to some nice things from myself with the upcoming changes to Android!
The Tip Calculator was my first real experience with writing applications for Android. It’s VERY basic, and has a couple of flaws, but it was a nice gentle introduction into developing with Android. When I submitted my application, there was only one other tip calculator around. Now, I think there’s probably at least a half dozen! It’s one of the easiest concepts to develop, so that’s why myself and others built that first.
As of today, Tip Calculator has over 43,000 installs, with a rating of 4/5 stars, so I guess most folks get on with it alright! Below are some screenshots, as well as a brief description of the application.
What is it?
Tip Calculator is a very basic application to find out a tip value for a group of people. It assumes that a bill is split evenly amongst all diners (this isn’t always practical, I know).
Where is it?
You can find it in the Android Marketplace under ‘Applications > Finance’.
How much is it?
Free. Always was, and always will be.
How about updates?
I have some updates for this application, but I haven’t had time lately to test and deploy them. Look for some cool things around mid-late January 2009!