back to article Android app brings in $13K a month

One Android developer is earning more than $400 a day from his find-your-car application, proving it's not just Apple fans who'll pay for basic apps. Much has been made of the millions awaiting those who decide to develop for Apple's iPhone: the UK government even sponsored a help guide. But Google fans will be pleased to hear …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Nope, sorry.

    This guy has just got lucky in that his app went meme.

    Until the whole app-store model is torn down and the app-makers regain some semblance of control of distribution from the corporates, nobody will ever make money out of apps ever again.

    1. Dan 10

      Not sure I agree

      I don't know what t's&c's are in place on the Android app store, but the idea that a one-man band can write an app, get exposure and retail means for it in a pre-provisioned store, and (on the iphone equivalent, at least) still get to take away 70% of total revenue is pretty impressive. I'd quit my job if I thought I could make $13k a month. I'm rubbish at programming unfortunately, as my tinkering with the iphone sdk has reminded me.

      Admittedly, a proper software outfit can obviously throw more resources and a marketing budget at their app, but that's life, I suppose.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You got it when you said 'exposure'.

        Think of it like the music industry. The record company is in *total control* of promotion and distribution. If they decide not to give you 'exposure' - you don't have a hit. And that's it; nothing to do with quality or originality.

        The app store model does the same to apps; you, the developer, become a disposable commodity.

        No, that's not life.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Regain control to what?

      "the app-makers regain some semblance of control of distribution from the corporates"

      Let's say you were a small independent software developer in the pre-iPhone days. What was your distribution channel? Certainly not Best Buy or GameStop, they only carry huge titles. So you put up a web site, maybe pay for some Adwords, register with some software directory sites like CNET, etc. Great, so now you may be getting 100 hits a day, and maybe 1-2 people per day go through the hassle of entering their credit card number, etc., and the awkward process of installing your software on their desktop computer, or MUCH more awkward process of installing it on their mobile phone. I have tried this and it is not a viable way of making a living.

      Now there's Apple, who lets you list your software on the App Store for only $100/year and makes it so 50M+ people can buy your software on a whim without entering payment information or navigating a download/install process. Yes, they take 30% and there's a review process, but it's such a big improvement that I would happily pay 50%.

      Four years ago I didn't know anybody who was able to support himself as an independent software developer and now I know four people who make comfortable livings writing iPhone apps. Anybody who is calling for the app store model to be torn down is an idiot.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    How come it's all right for the developers who make apps to earn a fortune, yet the anoraks all foam at the mouth if the operating system isn't free?

    That's like being happy to pay Ford for all the resources and parts they have to buy in but refusing to pay for their own factory staff who put it all together and deliver it to you.

  3. Steve Brammer

    Even more people would pay for apps if Google would allow them to

    Lots of people are willing to pay but aren't able to due to the fact that paid apps are only available in 13 countries. Piracy is bound to be rife in the Android world given this environment.

    The problem is compounded by the fact that it's not only bad for consumers, but for developers as well. If you live in a country which doesn’t have paid apps then, as a developer, you also cannot sell your apps to anyone anywhere in the entire world, even to the countries that do have paid apps. You can only give them away for free.

    The Android Market will never compete with the iTunes Store until it is available in all the same countries.

    1. Mick F

      Even more people would pay for apps if Google would allow them to???

      There are more ways to install apps than just the market place. You can install whatever you want from whatever source. This is not Apple crap!!!

      Try SlideME, GetJar or Handago.

    2. Martin Owens

      Er FAIS!

      It's Free as in Speech you munchkin.

      Liberty not Anarchism

  4. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Free versus free

    "How come it's all right for the developers who make apps to earn a fortune, yet the anoraks all foam at the mouth if the operating system isn't free?"

    First, you are (perhaps intentionally) confusing free (of cost) and free (libre). It is absolutely a good thing to be able to dig into the inner workings of your own system, see how it works, and be able to modify it if you wish. A non-free OS does significantly limits this, if not prohibiting it entirely. On the other hand, I prefer to have FOSS apps (not because I like to look at the source, but because they are more portable from one distro to the next in general...), but closed source apps? I mean, I think I can figure out what a "find the car" app would do internally without having to pour through the source, it's not as big a deal to have a few applications that are closed source.

    In the other sense... well... when there's free OSes that are faster, more flexible, more secure, and all around better, people do get all worked up when convicted monopolists use every trick in the book to try to force them to pay for yet another OS. If the maker of this "don't lose the car" app started having companies "bundle" it with every phone (adding to the phone cost), making up FUD campaigns against any free alternative "don't lose the car" apps that came on the market, buying up the competitors and withdrawing them from the market, I would object to him making money this way. But no, he's got a nice niche app and is making money fair and square.

    If you can't see the difference I really can't help.

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      Good point.

      Most mobile apps are mere mashups of functions in the OS anyway -- it's more configuration than coding.

      That was really the original goal of open source software, wasn't it? To remove the need to "reinvent the wheel" in code and just plug all the modules together to achieve the necessary

      Back in the early Unix days, this resulted in the various C libraries that we now all take for granted (even if in their ported forms as used by other languages) and all the standard shell utilities that could be scripted together with pipes and redirection.

      Modern FOSS has lost its way a bit, producing a lot of monolithic code that has to be heavily refactored to extract individual functions.

      Case in point: The GUI, rendering engine and backend are all tied together. Why's this bad? Cos every time they upgrade, the translation projects have to start again or you're stuck on the last version. Why shouldn't you be able to render and edit 3.0 with a 2.0 interface? Sure, you'll not get all the new functionality, but at least you'll be able to both use your own language and read files created in the latest version....

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Earning $$ through Palm Pre

    Interesting. The first app I've developed for the Palm Pre now earns an average of $837 a month! Maybe if I build 13 more apps along the same levels of demand, I can achieve the same $13k a month. Looks like there's financial opportunities through the Palm App Catalog and the Android Market afterall.

  6. Anonymous Coward


    You can't make money writing software for Linux. Everybody knows that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      off topic

      but top troll!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    profit - but from a decent App

    WTF? I can understand how you can make money from a decent App - on whatever mobile

    provides a decent sales market platform...

    but this example? I mean? just use your brain and eyeballs to note where you parked

    your car and then check your watch or mobile for the time you need to be back. hardlytough stuff this - we've had big car parks and random on street parking for years - its never been a problem finding my car and getting back to it in time.

    and in some places I'd rather be walking briskly without flashing a 400 quid mobile around!

    1. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Not quite

      Modern Man is an inherently lazy f*ck in general and this app merely appeals to that inner hardwired laziness. Think how many red top reading members of the public want the Government to (almost literally) wipe their arses for them thus bloating the size of the public sector over the last decade or so. It's the same principle in action - can't think, can't do, help me perform <insert basic function>.

      Remember also that lazy frog ringtones sold well because the World has never been short of an idiot or two.

    2. Mark Aggleton


      really handy when you're pi$$ed and forgotten where you've parked....

  8. Anonymous Coward

    A safe, walk-by strolling purchase

    Okay, imagine walking down the high street and seeing something interesting at 10 USD.

    Nah, waste of money one might conclude.

    Then a bit further along the high street another interesting thing at 5 USD.

    What the heck! (one might conclude) I'll get it, S'only 5 bucks after all and if I don't like it I'll trash it so not too much of a waste.

    Such, perhaps, with apps?

    I have the device.

    Apps are hot (so I am told) so I will have one.

    But it has got to be sweet, do something not too wastrel-like and nod-and-wink at usefulness and if really good I might just show it of to my buddies.

    And that is the conundrum?

    Put the price high and get worldwide walk-on-by.

    Put the price right and get worldwide right returns.

    Put the price low and get worldwide returns.

    Marketeers: you are now dead meat :-)

    1. Jason Hall

      Game developes

      I know this isn't exactly on topic, but...

      Option 1:

      You could of course be a game developer for PC/console instead...

      Where you employ loads of clever people for decent wages, spend a couple of years on a product that ages really badly from great to mediocre by release date...

      And then criple it with DRM and charge a fortune for it.

      "Oh no... pirates are stealing all our income!!1!!!1111 Let's set the courts/lawyers on em"

      Option 2:

      Work for yourself putting together a 'fun' app in weeks.

      Sell, hopefully a lot, for penniesRinse and repeat.

      Which one makes more sense to you guys?

  9. Zobbo
    Thumb Up

    Nice idea

    I think it's a good idea, quite clever. Especially for people who travel a lot of places they're not familiar with (probably salesmen etc.). Good luck to him.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    The App Store model can still be profitable

    I'm a developer, and I agree the App Store model does not benefit me if I have to spend my valuable time lovingly coding "Apps" that I think will be incredibly useful, and awesome, and take me months to do.

    However, the App Store model benefits me if I pay teams of Indian developers to code up not so good Apps, that are easy, and cheap to crank out fast, enabling me to flood the market with affordable stuff that sells.

    So guys, don't worry, you can still lovingly code away in open source products, commercial boxed products, or Web applications. Leave the App Store to the code factories, only a schmuck spends their own time willingly developing for that market. Pay someone else to do it!!!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Increasingly capricious?

    Apart from the error of using a pejorative word to describe a poorly understood process, it's not clear at all that the app store is increasing its 'capriciousness' either.

    PH costs $13k per day to run. But she can find your car anywhere with unnerving accuracy.

  12. Ebeneser
    Thumb Up

    Hmm figures ....

    Android Market place - Car locator $3.99 - 5000-10000 downloads.

    Max revenue = 3.99 * 10000 = $39900

    Seven months(?) on the market place = $39900/7 = $5700 per month = £3800/month (1.5 xchg rate)

    The actual amount will likely be less than this as the price was raised to $3.99 and the downloads are somewhere in the range 5000-10000.

    But I guess about £3500 per month isn't bad, as its around 40 grand per year.

  13. James Boag

    Androids Big problem

    IS the UK carriers, I tried to purchace an Android phone from Virgin today, only to be told that the "unlimited internet" bundled with the phone would not cover the data charges needed to keep it turned on and attached to the network for a month, Hardy fair use Virgin when pinging the base station will use more that you "unlimited internet" bundle, (trading standards have been informed, untill the Accountants and Sales people for uk Carriers are taken out to the carpark and "made to see sence" Android will be limited to the few who did'nt do the research before buying

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