Posts tagged market
Over the past few months, there have been hundreds of articles posted discussing the merits (and downsides) of the Android Market. Please allow me to add just one more. As an Android developer, I’ve been constantly trying to think of better ways in which to best promote my existing (as well as yet-unpublished) applications. Simply uploading them to the Android Market just does not cut it.
Once a developer has published his application to the Android Market (herein: “Market”), the application is shown at the top of the “Just In” section for the particular category the application is a part of. This is fine and well, but with dozens of applications constantly being published daily, you soon move further down in the listings. What should the developer do then? From my experience, I usually do not sift through pages and pages of “Just In” applications unless I’m utterly bored. I may go through the first page or so of new applications, but that’s about it. So… what now? The developer needs to augment his listing by some other methods.
There are a few methods which might help in bettering one’s chance of discovery. First, post a blog entry for the application. If your blog is listed in the Planet Android RSS feed list, there’s a good chance that readers will click through to your blog and find out more information about the application. Planet Android has about 1600 subscribers as per FeedBurner, so that’s a good start to getting the word out about your application.
Next, apply to have your application reviewed by the guys over at Android Tapp. I’m not sure of the amount of people who visit Android Tapp, but that site is great for reading up on different applications and their reviews. There are some other ways to get the word out. Youtube videos, buying ads on Google, and a host of things that can be done. I’m not a marketer, so I’m sure there are plenty of other ways to get the word out that I have not mentioned. All of this considered, I’m left thinking about Apple’s AppStore and how the Market compares to it.
I’m a Mac user at home. I have a Macbook Pro at home which serves me as a workstation and media center. I use iTunes pretty often to manage and find new music and movies. While I no longer own an iPod Touch, I did enjoy being able to have a dedicated application to browse through the AppStore’s multitude of free and paid applications. Apple definitely got the right idea with their implementation of the AppStore, and I wish Google would make some changes to not only the Market application on handsets, but also to the online marketplace. I do realize that the Market is a different beast when compared to the AppStore, as the Market applications can be segmented to only be able to be published for certain handsets for different countries, but I can’t imagine that this sort of thing is not capable of being developed by Google.
If there was an application or at least a web app for the Android Market that could really enable developers and their applications to be given the right amount of exposure to the public, I think there would certainly be more of a chance for them to be successful. Here’s hoping that Google works out some of these marketplace woes so that new and existing developers have a better chance to succeed!
Usually every day or couple of days I like to go into the Android Market and review my application’s user comments. Today was no different, with one awesome exception: My Tip Calculator has surpassed Bank of America’s mobile banking application! I am now proud to announce that my humble Tip Calculator is now the #1 free application in the Finance category of the Android Market!
In a little more than 1 year’s time, my application has been installed by over 350,000 Android users! I certainly did not expect such a high number, but I am most certainly thankful! This has encouraged me to continue developing applications for the Android platform, and I am getting close to releasing a couple more applications for the Android Market!
In the next week or two, I will be releasing version 1.2 of my Tip Calculator. This update will further solidify my standings in the Android Market, as well as make my application the be-all and end-all to tip calculators. I have been listening attentively to my users’ comments, and this new release will make a lot of folks happy!
Thank you all very much for your support and comments! Below is a QR code to navigate to my Tip Calculator in the Android Market, and below are just some screenshots of the application and the Market listing!
Update – 2009-12-19: I noticed this morning that my Tip Calculator is back at the number two position in the Finance category. Bank of America and I must be neck and neck… Well, at least I have screenshots to prove!
I would like to announce the upgrade to my old Tip Calculator! The 1.0.2 release is now Cupcake friendly (yes, a little old, but I haven’t been able to do much of anything since before the 1.5 release). It also got a little UI rearrangement as I have had my application localized into several languages. I would like to thank the following people for their help in localizing my application:
German: Sabine Weiten
Dutch: Bieneke Berendsen
Italian: Meri Zeri
Swedish: Anders Loefgren
Portuguese: Sara Silva
Spanish: Rodolfo Castro
Russian: Dmitry Ivakin
I read a really well put-together article this morning regarding marketing paid apps for Android. I liked how the author compared the Android Market to a catalog. The dynamics of the Android Market are quite different as compared to the iTunes App Store, so it’s really hard to make comparisons there.
One commenter mentioned that also, because the Android Market has had only free apps listed for some months, that most people are usually satisfied with what they have. Why pay for an app that you already have, and that works well? The only way to really compete with that is to release a product far better than what you have, and at a reasonable price on top of that. I can see a few things that could come out of that.
With this dynamic in place, app developers who want to earn money from their applications will really have to work towards making their app top-notch. This might drive out the tinkerers and hobbyists from the paid game, but perhaps some will overcome – I’m thinking a very small percentage. Another point will be pricing. The author of the article had a good point in saying that, even with one million or more handset owners, a very small fraction of them would be interested in paying for an application. This brings me to my final point.
It is currently difficult for Android developers to really sell their application, relying on the Android Market alone. There isn’t a snazzy “iTunes App Store”-esque interface which provides detailed descriptions, screenshots and app reviews all in one spot for any given application. So really, I think any real way for Android developers to sell their product(s) would be through blog posts, social media avenues, reviews, and a lot of work.
For now, as a hobbyist, I sometimes get delusions of grandeur in my head when I read articles about iPhone app developers who strike gold with their Apps, earning 250-600K for a single application, but I do come down and realize that the real world scenario I’m in as an Android developer may, or may not be that successful. We’ll just have to see. I’m really interested in finding out how things pan out over the coming months when we can see some useful reports on market sales.
Who says iPhone users can have all the fun??! There’s a pretty cool iPhone app that grabs podcasts from 93.3 WMMR here in Philly and allows for playback and a whole bunch of other cool stuff. I think this might be one of my new fun projects I’ll start working on towards the end of the month. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get some airtime on Preston and Steve for this! Gadzooks!!
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!