back to article Android app sales skimpy, sluggish, slack, scanty...

Android-based smartphones may have passed the iPhone in terms of market share, but developers of Android apps aren't profiting from that rise. iPhone users buy far more apps. "It is more challenging for developers in the Google Android Market than in the Apple App Store to monetize using a one-off fee monetization model," …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. scarshapedstar
    Holmes

    We can rebuild him; we have the technology

    I love Android and am also a developer, but I think the mobile Market is horribly designed.

    For each app, there's the app icon on the left, which takes up 20% of the real estate for each item. Then on the right there's a 0-5 star rating which you can barely read, as well as a price tag. That's another 25% gone. All told, fully half of each item in the Market consists of its icon and price, which is useful information but that's also too much overhead; I say this because the name of the App is between them, and looking at very the top 6 on the list, 3 of the app names do not fit.

    You can't even read the full name of 50% of the apps on the top list! It seems like a minor detail but it really disrupts the browsing experience. The name can't wrap onto the line below it because that line is reserved for the developer, which is also important information, but it is of secondary importance to the app name, imo.

    Okay, so let's turn the screen sideways. You'd think that you'd get longer, more verbose entries, right? Wrong. Instead, half of the screen is now taken up by a big green blob of crap. Given that the height of most screens is not twice the width, you actually have even less text space in the "long view", and this is why I NEVER use widescreen in the market even though I use it for almost everything else.

    Here's what I think. Just halve the app density, at least for the Top list. Every app should get two rows. The top row can stay pretty much as it is, and the bottom row should have a *brief* synopsis of what the app actually does. Currently, to get this rather important information, you have to click an item from the list and then usually click a 'more' button to expand the description because it only shows the first 3 lines by default.

    For example, item #3 right now is "Wyse PocketCloud P" for $14.99. I can guess that the full name is "Wyse PocketCloud Player" but why do I have to? To actually find out what it is and why I should pay $14.99 for it, I go into the info page and read "PocketCloud enables remote access to Windows or Mac desktops over WiFi and 3G/4G networks" (blah blah blah) Okay, that's pretty awesome. I suspect that if this one-sentence synopsis were immediately visible, more people would buy it.

    So, overall: make the entries twice as tall, and change the widescreen mode so that it makes the Market more readable and not less. Or even keep the landscape mode as it is, and save my "more verbose entries" idea for widescreen.

    Did I mention that the widescreen Market absolutely blows?

    The desktop Android market, on the other hand, is awesome. Trouble is, most users (when I say "most users" I mean "my mom" which I think is a reasonable approximation) don't even realize it exists. Maybe this could be somehow rectified, too? Just sayin'...

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      It is no better for the end user

      Of the apps I have on my phone, less than a third were found directly on the Market. The search abilities and options to refine the search are dreadful (as is the tendency to 'lose' ratings/comments as you are writing them).

      Anyway, I think it says a lot that I discovered most of the useful apps on various websites, only using the Market for the actual download.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Bullcrap

    Android apps sales are lower, because of Android OpenSource nature, there are more free apps that work just as well as paid-for apps.

    In other words, developers are not trying hard enough to differentiate themselves from freebie apps.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Linux

      You can't say that here

      Even if it is true, the mstards and the fanbois will vote you down in droves. The sheeple must continue to be convinced that cost=good...

    2. Anton Ivanov
      Thumb Down

      Double bullcrap

      First of all, Android may be "open"source, most of the apps are not. Show me how many of them have the source avalilable? Some of them do this in violation of the license too. Half of the media players use bits and pieces from mplayer without complying with the GPL just to name an example. The mplayer guys should really do what busybox does - get a good lawyer and some thick necks to collect on enforcement. Too many freeloaders out there.

      As far as paying. There is more to that than meets the eye. Most of the app syndrome is still driven by the "first wave". These are people who actually will think where they stick their credit card credentials for a recurring purchase.

      I may not like Nokia in their current incarnation. I do not like Apple either. I am however happy to trust them with my credit card details.

      There is no way in hell however that I am putting them into a "grocery" tablet with software of unknown origin regardless who is selling it. I have seen enough of that backdoored in my time. I will similarly recommend not to put details in to anyone who asks me. No thanks. Hacked build? Rooted ROM? Credit cards into it? Forget it. No way in hell.

      Probably 70%+ of Android shipping devices are in the category where paid purchase likelhood is close to nil. Users are reluctant to put any credit card details in. Many devices ship with the market disabled. End of the day you get a much lower paying population than on iPhone where everyone is ready to pay from day one.

      So figures are unfortunately about right and will continue to be right until Google institutes a "genuine android" program where it guarantees that any manufacturers customisations do not backdoor it. With stickers on the touchscreen which you remove before using it. Sounds like MSFT? I know it does. It is however the right solution.

      1. SteveBalmer
        FAIL

        Might wantr to read up

        on Google Checkout.

        It's a web based payment system, that Android Marketplace uses.

        It's got nothing to do with your phone, or if it's rooted or not.

        If you actually owned an Android handset, you would have known this, rather than spouting the embarrassing and idiotic tripe you just did....

    3. Charles Manning

      Another open source issue

      When people hear open source they expect stuff to be free.

      Trying to convince most people to pay for software & services in an open source environment (eg. Linux) is challenging even though the same people would readily pay for the same software & services for Windows etc.

      As one manager said to me:"... but the whole point of Linux is that is free. We can't go paying people to write Linux software."

      It is only with maturity that people realise that the "free stuff" is only free because someone pays and that they can do their bit.

      It will take a lot longer for AppStore shoppers to get used to the idea of paying for Open Source apps.

      1. Miek

        Another FUD issue

        Sounds like someone has had their head in their recharge socket.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      2. Albert

        Most people buying Android don't think Open Source

        Maybe the readers of The Register know Android is Open Source, but outside of tech circles Android is just an alternative to iOS.

        It would be interesting to know how many people go to the Android Marketplace. I know a number of people with Android phones who just downloaded Facebook and didn't go back again.

        Maybe the users of Android don't know the greatness that is their Marketplace.

    4. Miek
      Thumb Up

      I agree with AC:Bullcrap

      Quite frankly, I feel developers are making some money. The ad-sponsored model seems to be quite neat. No-one pays to download and use an app; they simply see a couple of adverts on the screen. Devs get some cash and users get the app's functionality with the very slight irritation of an advert.

      On the other hand, the android market place could do with some major improvements.

  3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  4. hplasm Silver badge
    Meh

    So what?

    iThings are bought by people with more cash than Android things; they spend more money on fart apps.

    It's not rocket surgery...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Definitely not

      rocket surgery

      LOL

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: So what?

      That doesn't explain why OVI is 2nd (or 3rd depending on how you view this table)

      You know... OVI from those phones with that OS that nobody likes...

      Funny, how it seems that Nokia as a "failing" company, which sells both expensive and cheap smartphones (to the punters with less cash to spend than the iFolks), is still able to "monetize" the best amongst the list here.

      Instead of Nokia bending over to MSFT shouldn't it be other way around?

      Or do I interpret this table wrong?

      1. mike panero

        Obviously

        You do not own a Nokia or have had reason to use Ovi

        If I froze my piss and gave you the gold coloured rod that resulted you may smile, cus it looks like gold but as it melts the smell of piss will fill your nostrils

        That sir is what a modern Nokia phone and Ovi are like

  5. Cliff
    Linux

    iPhone buyers are free thinkers

    They don't follow no stinking trends, they are hip and can prove their individuality by buying premium hardware which locks them into a chargable ecosystem. Some might also say that they are a demonstrably easier touch when it comes to getting money out of for overpriced stuff. The Android mob use Android for various reasons, including the fact that it is free and (in the closedest sense of the word) open. These are not the guys who are going to pay £5 for a crappy game, or £3 for a fart application.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Confused?

      I just purchased Sim City Deluxe for 59p on iOS. That's not £5 and Sim City Deluxe is definitely not a crappy game.

      On Android however that is true, the only Sim City is the crappy Metropolis version and it costs £4.

      Maybe you got your platforms confused?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      FIFA

      FIFA 2011 on iPhone: on promotion at 59p

      FIFA 2010 (there's no 2011) on Android: £1.83 no promotion

      Seems like the Android mob are the ones being taken for a ride...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: FIFA

        Football fans are always taken for a ride, I believe it is the law.

        How about Angry birds... I've got all three on Android, and they cost me nothing at all.

  6. MS Rocks

    Freetards......

    ....are the only people who deliberately go out and ask for an Android powered phone. And they hate spening money on software, so they are not going to be buying apps.

    The vast bulk of the Android devices out there are in customers hands because phone shops make high margins off selling Android phones. The vast majority of these customers never asked for an Android phone and do not know what to do with it now they have one.

    And, of course, there are now so many versions of Andoid kicking around it is hard to know if an app will actually work on the phone you own.

    All in all an epic fail.

    1. BenDwire
      Mushroom

      In UK Speak. Rocks == Bollox. MS Bollox sounds about right

      At last count I had about 10 paid apps on my Nexus S - good apps deserve money. After nearly spending ooh, £25, my phone now does everything I want it to*. Everything else comes with the OS - just like MS really. I use my phone for nerdy techie stuff like Lan monitoring, Wi-Fi audits, logging into servers and such like. Apparently I can play games and watch videos .... but I'm too busy getting stuff done...

      I agree that iApple have a fantastic marketing department, even better than MS, and their customers tend to be fashion victims rather than techie types. iTunes & App store are the best of their breed - everyone else needs to work hard to catch up. But there is a price: Vendor lock-in. Most "Freetards" hate that more than spending money. But most non-techie types haven't a clue and will just pay what MS/Apple/Murdoch/PC World tell them to do.

      Why should we worry? As long as there is a supply of "early adopters" to seed the market, then the "me too" brigade will happily follow - at a vastly cheaper price.

      * No. It still doesn't fart. Should I spend some more ££ to make it do so?

      1. farizzle
        Happy

        i just THANK you

        for using the word MOST in your post as often as you did.

        I'm as techie and nerdy as they come, but i do not shy away from admitting that for certain things, spit and polish serve me better than the diamond in the rough...

        I write applications, build websites, and repair intricate electronic devices mostly for fun, but sometimes i just want to reach for something and KNOW that it will do what i expect it to do, and do it well. My iPhone is one example of the things i own that do that, another is a coffee mug.

        Means to an end, my friend, simply a means to an end...

        1. Jim 59

          @farizzle

          I'm a tech-head too, most of us are on this website. And like most freetards, I fear lock-in more than spending cash. Most readers here are not short of a bob or two anyway, and Reg staff are positively rich. No, is it the lock-in we fear. It is initially attractive, especially with the worlds best marketing machine behind it. But once you are locked in, nobody cares about you any more. A "means to an end" you say, wisely. True, but you don't really control the end any more.

          A friend of mine kitted out her children with iPods, bought a big telly and replaced the living room hi-fi with an iPod dock linked to surround sound. She is delighted, but the overall result is that (a) they can't listen to music without waiting for the massive telly to boot (b) Everything they hear is over 1" speakers, (c) the whole rig is vastly complicated to administer and use, (d) it cost well north of £1500.

          In comparison, I have a "open" freetard solution I won't bore readers with, and the total cost was about £52, using an existing hi-fi. It took much more work initially, but is streets ahead of my friends system. On a recent visit, I tried to connect my media player to give Anne a demonstration of "crossfade". Silly me, there was input on the iPod dock.

          Still haven't made up my mind iPhone vs Android though.

      2. Miek
        Linux

        Message of the day

        "good apps deserve money."

        All I would add to that is that no-one should have to pay for the basic functionality of a computer, for example web-browsing, writing documents and such. If they really want the extra functionality or a "Premium Product", then they should pay. That's what choice is all about.

        On my android phone, I haven't purchased any apps, but then again I didn't buy anything on my iPod touch.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: Freetards......

      Let me sum up your comments for you.

      "Freetards are the only people who deliberately go out and ask for an Android powered phone. And they hate spening money on software, so they are not going to be buying apps."

      iTards would rather pay for something they could easily get for free.

      "The vast bulk of the Android devices out there are in customers hands because phone shops make high margins off selling Android phones. The vast majority of these customers never asked for an Android phone and do not know what to do with it now they have one."

      People who really wanted to buy an iPhone are so easily swayed by strangers they spend hundreds of pounds on something they don't want.

      "And, of course, there are now so many versions of Andoid kicking around it is hard to know if an app will actually work on the phone you own."

      Android is far too complicated for iTards to understand.

      "All in all an epic fail."

      Hence the icon.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Trollface

        For free

        "iTards would rather pay for something they could easily get for free."

        So did the Union in the Civil War.

    3. M Gale
      Trollface

      "it is hard to know if an app will actually work on the phone you own."

      Oh that's easy enough. In most caases, if the app is there then it will run. If not, the developer fucked up somewhere. Don't tell me there aren't the odd iPhone game or two that don't glitch about, and that's on an incredibly homogenous platform.

      Anyway, maybe it'd be a better (perhaps fairer) metric to compare high-end Android devices with the iWotsits, and the budget droids with more feature-phoney devices. For better or for worse Android is rapidly becoming Windows for Fondletoys, and you don't expect a netbook to work in the same way as your hulking great LN2-cooled overclocked gaming rig acting like a space heater in the corner of the room. Could also help with regards app sales if Google had prepay vouchers in shops and the ability to process ALL common credit/debit cards.

      Also I see you're in top form as usual.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google is unhappy?

    For not selling more paid apps? Really?

    Why would they be, when they don't make any money out of them? In Eric Chu's own words [1] the 30% commission from app sales "goes to carriers and billing settlement fees—Google does not take a percentage"

    Google makes their money out of ads, and which apps have (more) ads? The free ones!

    That's the problem right there, Google has absolutely no motivation to carry or even encourage paid apps.

    [1] http://android-developers.blogspot.com/2008/10/android-market-now-available-for-users.html

    1. Arctic fox

      @+++ath0 re: "Google is unhappy?" Google may indeed as you say be...........

      ..........happy because their business model is based on apps as "ad-bait". However, it will be interesting to see what happens now with Amazon in the game. Amazon will most certainly strongly wish to *sell* as many apps as possible - wonder how happy Google will be if the devs start to decamp to Amazon? I have a gut feeling that the situation may be about to change.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Amazon

        Until the Amazon appstore comes ready to use on devices I doubt the majority will bother with it. If one has to do so many steps to buy and install an app, it's almost easier - and much cheaper - to install from one of the less legitimate markets.

        Now can devices coming with the Amazon store built-in (ideally with Android Market hidden away) ever pass Google's "certification"? Well if the Skyhook case is any indication probably not.

        My guess is that only Amazon's own Android tablet will use it's store as default, so for the rest - including all phones - it's just not going to make any major impact.

        1. Arctic fox
          Happy

          @+++ath0 re: Amazon. You may very well have a point here.,

          We will just have to see how it turns out. It depends to a significant extent on how Amazon develop their app-store and whether the ease of use equation contra Amazons rep and relationship with their customers plays out. It will be interesting at any rate!

  8. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    App store doesn't seem to work

    I've been trying to navigate through buying an app on Android for a while now - it never seems to want to work and install ...

  9. Ramshackle

    Right, so...

    They've found out that Apple customers are more willing to waste money of frivolous shit they don't need or can get for free/cheaper elsewhere? That is shocking news isn't it...

    1. Stuart Castle

      How about...

      They've found that Apple customer are more willing to spend money on stuff that just works, and know that some of it is free.

  10. Peter Murphy
    Go

    Do Androids dream of electric sheep to fleece?

    Probably not, because there's not much financial incentive compared to iPhones.

    Android development tools are cheap or free - like the Eclipse IDE. That allows people to toy around without getting too involved in the cash flow. For example, one app I've got on my HTC Desire is "Hypnotic Spiral". As you expect, it shows a spiral circling in or out of the centre. It's utterly useless, except in the rare situation where you need to entertain trippers in the chill tent at a forest doof. But it costs nothing, so people will download it.

    Since iPhone dev tools like XCode cost money, and AppStore registration costs a little more, iPhone developers are more tempted to monetarize even the most petty things. Take a hypothetical "Kitten Farting App", which as far as I know only exists in my dirty little mind. What does it do? It shows pictures of kittens. It play sound files of mewls and purrs, and every so often (such as when you shake the phone), it makes the kitten fart (Plop! or "Kllrp!). Want to know more? Well, it will cost you £1. A bit steep, but devs have to recoup their cash. Kittens don't fart by themselves.

    It's economics, my dear Watson.

    1. Steve Todd
      FAIL

      So £2.99 for XCode 4 is a significant disincentive?

      Or free when you join the iOS dev program (which is a wildly unreasonable £59.00 for a year's membership and gets you access to extras like beta versions of the system - when was the last time that Google gave people access to betas?). That's well within the budget of the vast majority of hobbyist with no additional need to monetize it. Marketplace isn't free to use either BTW, devs still need to spend $25 to register.

      If you don't want or need to make money out of your hobby then there's little advantage to choosing Android. If you're a professional developer hoping to make a living then this article demonstrates why Android isn't the system you should be looking at.

      1. Miek
        Linux

        Yawn

        "Or free when you join the iOS dev program (which is a wildly unreasonable £59.00 for a year's membership and gets you access to extras like beta versions of the system - when was the last time that Google gave people access to betas?)"

        I joined the android developer program for free with no apparent timescale for that membership, I run Eclipse for free on a free operating system and I don't give a shit about getting hold of Buggy Betas; that's for fanbois.

        "If you don't want or need to make money out of your hobby then there's little advantage to choosing Android. If you're a professional developer hoping to make a living then this article demonstrates why Android isn't the system you should be looking at"

        Back to the message of the day "Good apps are worth paying for"

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Steve

        >when was the last time that Google gave people access to betas?

        Er, April...February in terms of SDK biggies, other stuff pretty much daily/weekly.

        >If you're a professional developer hoping to make a living then...

        I'm a professional developer making a living - and developing for both iOS and Android is a no brainer - iOS users are richer and aren't going away, but its an ever-decreasing market in relative terms. Its when/if to look at WP, RIM, ChromeOS etc that exercises me at the moment.

        ...and on either platform the only reliable means to ensure a good living is to contract for App publishers....you'd probably be surprised by what companies are prepared to part with for a throwaway freebie on either Platform - but no-ones adding up these revenues.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Want profits? Build iPhone apps"

    You might want to qualify that line with "and already own a mac". If not then your first act of developing for the iphone is going to have to be spending a big wedge of cash on a machine for developing on, namely a Mac.

    1. scarshapedstar
      Windows

      It's a feature, not a bug

      The entry cost is meant to discourage amateur developers like myself from pestering the Solomonic And Infallible App Store Tribunal with our lame-o apps. That said, if my Android app sells, I might be able to afford the cost of porting it to iO$...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "namely a Mac."

      You might want to qualify that line with "or have Adobe Flash CS5.5 or Adobe Flash Builder 4.5 on Windows or Mac"

      Also you can buy a Mac Mini for £612, is that such a big wedge for a software developer? If so you can even go down the hackintosh route.. so sorry that's not such a big problem.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Mushroom

        Yes!

        It's about twice what I paid for a much more capable piece of kit complete with dev tools.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "namely a Mac."

        Are you saying you can develop iOS apps in CS5.5 flash?

        Ummmm... I don't think I would want to base a business model on that.

        In fact I don't think I'd like to bass a business model on any retail environment that has such a history of moving the goal posts and suddenly deciding a raft of existing apps are no longer welcome.

  12. Alan Denman

    Almost as Peter Murphy say's it's all a mugs game

    I read somewhere that 100,000 apps have left the Apple APP store.

    With all the fees involved that you have to pay Apple, a majority of developers are no doubt still losing money on each APP, no matter what price they sell at.

  13. Shawn80
    Pirate

    Piracey

    Every Android owner I know pirate their Android apps. There are pirate appstores with every app for free. It is so easy to pirate on Android. This is a strategy by google. Somehow Google gets away with stuff that no one else does.

    Youtube: 90%+ pirated stuff. Ok. Its google.

    Android: 90%+ pirated stiff. Ok. Its google.

    Googles cloud music. Licence? Why aquire a licence? Its google.

    Microsoft uses the same tactic on their platform. The masses use pirated software, and then get companies to overpay for their licenses.

    1. scarshapedstar
      WTF?

      Um

      I don't. I mean, most apps cost less than a pack of gum. I probably would have pirated apps if I were a 16 year old with no credit card, but wtf? Besides, there's no way that some dodgy .zip from MegaUpload could possible contain malicious software...

      In any event, there are several safeguards against piracy, it's just that many developers don't bother to use them. On the other hand, they really ought to be baked-in to the APK file at this point. This year's I/O had a seminar on DRM, at least.

    2. Stuart Castle

      Not quite

      While I don't know about Windows Phone sales, Piracy on the PC is causing developers to move toward the consoles (which, while they are hackable, are still harder to pirate on than Windows).

      If Google do not do something to combat piracy on Android, it's going to suffer the same fate as gaming on the PC is..

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No-one can buy apps

    The reason Android Market sales are poor, is that Android Market and Google Checkout are flaky pieces of crap written by amateurs.

    Users frequently can't buy apps due to constant credit card authorization failures, or market outages which have been happening on almost a daily basis for months. To top it all, the recent spat of Google Checkout problems allowed some users to get paid apps for free.

    See here for a very large thread of very angry developers:

    http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/checkout-merchants/thread?tid=7bdc30064117bd02&hl=en

    1. Steve Coburn

      Bank Charges Stop Me Buying

      I don't buy apps any more since I realised that Google charge in the currency of the developer. A couple of one euro apps eventually cost me over two pounds each - instead of around 80 pence. I don't mind rating for things I want but giving the banks 80% of what I pay in currency conversion costs is not on. Google should charge the user in their own currency and not the developer's currency. Paypal can manage it, why not Google?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    It's still not going to stop me...

    ... writing the worlds greatest Android app and monetizing it.

    I'm working on it now, in fact, I'm going to call it 'Monetize' - it'll be an app which tells people how to monetize things. You just type in a word and the app will give you the low down on how to get your grubby mits on some greenbacks.

    I'll throw in some extra bits like 'leverage economic understandability' and 'prioritise financial paradigms' (these will be icons)

    Effectively, my application will be adept at stating the blindly obvious - stuff that is so obvious, most people don't think about it.

    "How can a monetize this banana I'm holding?"

    My app will help you do that. Just type in the word 'banana' and it'll tell you 50 ways you can monetize that banana.

    For example:

    "Sell your banana to a stranger in town for twice the amount you paid for it. Now go and buy two bananas. Sell these bananas to two strangers in town for twice the amount you paid for them. Now go and buy four bananas. Now brand your four bananas. Call them 'Happy Ethical Bananas' and sell them for 10x the price you paid for them. Now go and buy a banana plantation."

    ... and so on...

    ... shit, I just gave my idea away ... best get hacking ...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    iStupid

    I have to deal with mixed platforms and their users every day. (Mac, PC, Linux) The Mac folks are vastly less computer literate than everyone else, and that also seems to translate into them overall doing less work investigating software. They simply follow the other Mac lemmings and buy whatever everyone else using a Mac bought. So I'm not surprised this applies to the App Store.

  17. heyrick Silver badge

    No profits on apps sold?

    Fair enough. But just about every damn app is stuffed with adverts, how is the "monetisation" (ugh, horrid word!) of these adverts?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      One thing is for certain for ads

      Google takes much more than 30% commission out of those...

  18. Martijn Otto
    FAIL

    Impossible to buy apps

    Maybe it's because it's impossible for many people to buy an app in the android market. To buy something you have to have a creditcard. I don't have one, so I am forced to get my apps somewhere else, for free.

    Also, people under 18 can not legally have a creditcard, while those people are allowed to have a credit card or a PayPal account and would be able (and willing) to pay for their apps.

    1. scarshapedstar

      Have you considered...

      Asking mommy for her card? Also, I'm not sure where you live, but I've had a debit card since I was 15.

  19. gurugeorge

    WTF

    6 years on el reg and my first post... I agree with some issues mentioned such as lack of standardization etc. After protesting for years I finally bought an iphone last year. it broke a few months later and i got the best rated android phone, the HTC Desire..

    Here's the issue... I have 16Gb of free space, but I can't install more than 50Mb of apps. So I was out of space after a day. Now I'm a coder and have been for two decades. Ive coded on Symbian, C++ Delphi & Fortran, and I write my oen kernels. Yet even I could not work out how to install apps on the SD card. Yes I tried the apps availible to do that, manually going into settings and moving a few (maybe 10% of apps have the option) individually, but that was too tedious... i found an o0ut the box methods that involved flashing & jailbreaking the phone, but that took ME a couple of hours and it didnt work, presumuably due to a ROM update by HTC....Even WIndows mobile addressed these issues 10 years ago...

    So WTF, 50mb on a 16GB phone? There are other issues, eg. I choose a photo I want to email, click Share... then I get taken to the "Sharing" program and have to choose the photo again... I also agree with the other comments there are minor annoyances that havent been sorted out, and I like the HTC Desire but to me it's like a comparison between my 1997 Nokia 6110 and it's more feature rich sucessor.... the Nokia 6110 was made in two tone brushed aluminium, and its simplistic interface belied its capabilities and hid its cutting edge tech... it was an object of desire, it was a joy to use....

    Ultimately it comes down to this, the iPhone felt natural... my gran started using it immediately. On my HTC Desire I still have to think twoce that I have to click the "To" text space, then click "down" to hide the keyboard and click the "text" space, then click "down" to hide the keyboard before clicking "Send" in Android....

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      @ gurugeorge

      Couldn't tell you about 50Mb of apps, I have no idea how many I have, but I've a fair few, with Google Maps, Moboplayer and Firefox coming to around 25Mb, with the rest most likely adding up to more than 50.

      I believe SD card support requires app compliance which is why some do it and some don't.

      Windows Mobile sorted out jailbreaking? And Apple permits this how?

      Sharing? I choose a photo, tap Share, get asked how (email etc), and them it's done.

      Texting? Send button on screen beside the input box, with Swype keyboard below.

      Not all Android phones are alike...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: WTF

      Sounds like you have an early version of the OS, early versions did not support installing apps onto the SD, which is a bit of a pain as HTC don't give the phone much storage. Froyo (2.2) supports apps on the SD out of the box, and before that there were applications available that could do this for you.

      Surely you have 2.2 at least by now?

      Unfortunately some apps were/are badly written and don't like being moved onto the SD, although in my experience those apps are usually pretty bad in other respects too, so you'll be dumping them before the no SD problem becomes and issue.

      I believe the Android market is suffering from being as open as it is. Apple pace their store to a degree that would make an OCD sufferer blush, which does keep quality up. I've lost count of the number of Android apps I have tried and dumped because they were just completely incomprehensible, or obvious direct ports of the iOS version, with no support for the menu button amongst other faults.

      My pet hate are apps that have no way of being told to quit (short of using a 3rd party to kill it). BT's FON app is one, as are several of the messenger app like WhatsApp. Nasty nasty nasty.

      Having said that, I'm still more than happy with my 'droid. Firefox, K9 email, trillian instant messenger, an FTP server and client, remote desktop...

    3. Turtle_Fan

      Even apps on SD is not necessary...

      ...because they will stop working as soon as you hook up on USB (mass storage).

      Best thing to do (on 2.2 upwards), is partition your SD card into FAT (usual stuff) and ext 2/3/4 (best one is ext3).

      Android will view the ext partition as native disk space and you won't even need to move anything anywhere AND will keep working when hooked up. And this pretty much negates the huge mark up of going from a 16GB version of an android device to a 32GB one. Why pay extortionate rates when 2.2 upwards will work with microSD's up to 32GB.

      For the record I have about 380MB's on my little beauty. Tinker a bit and it's amazing what you'll be able to do :)

      1. uncredited
        Pint

        Help on that!

        I wouldn't mind knowing what you did to partition the SD card, would any linux do or can you do it directly in the phone?

        1. Turtle_Fan

          help...

          Partitioning an sd card is trivial yet I've only seen it on rooted phones. The easiest way is to do it using disk utilities in Linux. Failing that, there's a windows app to do it too. Search for it, you can't miss it (i'm on bberry now so can't tell you). The important thing is to back up your sd in case anything goes wrong. The easiest way would be by rooting your phone and using clockwork's free app to do this for you. Windows is messy because of MS's oblivous to any file systems other than fat or ntfs. Also visit modaco for step by step instructions

        2. Turtle_Fan

          dont foeget....

          Don't forget to move all your apps back into memory in case you had moved them with a2sd. That's because the ext3 partition will function transparently as extra phone memory.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've got an iPhone

    That is all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This is a post

      Hello.

      1. oddie
        Angel

        I like

        turtles

  21. Guy Smillie

    Advice for Google's Android marketing department...

    You need to devolop a strategy focussed on attracting customers in the MMTS category - 'More Money Than Sense'. A proven strategy here is advertising that focusses on form over function. People dancing and having fun with a pretty looking phone - good. People getting full access to the phone they paid for - bad. Heroes using them in big buget movies - good. Experts using them in at IT department - bad.

    MMTS are the most profitable demographic and one of which Apple have expertly taken full ownership. If only Bose sold an Ipod dock. They do? Where do I type in my credit card number?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Probably more of a mindset thing

    you know, fools and money being easily parted etc

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Smart' phone superfluous for many

    Phone stores are pushing Android phones at *everyone*, whether they want a 'smart' phone or not (I can only assume there is some advantage in doing so). I know several Android owners who had intended to continue a contract with a 'dumb' phone but walked out with a contract bundled with an Android gadget at the same rate.

    All they want to do is make phone calls, and are completely indifferent to its other functionality. One even told me that - although they had some kind of data allowance - they had gone back to the store to ask for all Internet connectivity to be turned off. There had been no Internet use that they knew of, but they had been warned their data allowance had been used up. They couldn't work out how or why it was happening, didn't want it, and asked for everything beyond ordinary phone functionality to be disabled.

    I suspect there are many Android owners who were upsold the device, but aren't fussed about using it. Hence the software sales do not reflect the apparent market share.

  24. ahayes
    Linux

    Why buy a crappy fart app made by one person

    Why buy a crappy fart app developed by one person when you can get a spectacular FOSS fart app made by lots of people for free?

    Having FOSS available for android sets the bar higher if you want to make a profit whereas Apple blocks that so you won't have to worry about that kind of competition.

  25. Matthew Peddlesden

    Echoing HTC Desire comments...

    I'd just like to echo the comments made by someone else about the HTC Desire.

    I've actually bought a ton of apps for my phone, I disagree with many of the anti-market comments in this thread quite a bit - i've found it easy enough to find what i want, dead easy to get the apps paid for and use them and I don't recall ever having paid for an app and regretting it in any way.

    The big problem is that most of the apps i've bought are no longer installed - there simply is no room on this stupid phone. Whomever sized up the internal storage for this phone needs to be dragged out in an an alleyway and forced to watch Eastenders for a month non-stop or something.

    The phone has pretty much now got to the point that it has the things I want, it has no free space, and there is nothing that can be removed without causing grief, so there is now no opportunity for me to install anything new.

    I could root the phone, put on a custom rom and then use one of the a2sd type things but, ugh, i'm sorry but that's just confused the heck out of me, multiple ways of doing it, this one works this way and that one works another way, and then this one is not considered good and not many roms seem to come with them out the box? And let's not forget the obvious risks with blowing a custom rom on the phone... I actually need it to work like a phone and take calls, not end up bricked so I could get some more free space via the sd card.

    With the desire being one of the most popular android phones as far as I am aware, that must have had a significant impact on sales in app marketplace and should be taken in to consideration. The iPhone's obviously had someone who hadn't been smoking funny stuff coming up with their specifications and therefore their users are able to buy and install more fart apps than we are! :)

    I'm not entirely sure I quite follow how Apple or Google can "rotate" the top x apps - surely it's top because it's top? Are you saying that Apple fudge the top listings artificially? Or is this referring to featured apps or something...

    Must admit as with another poster - I rarely *find* apps on the market place, almost always found elsewhere (xda, the reg, cool smart phone etc) and then use market place to buy/install.

    I also know a number of android phone users who don't even know you *can* install new things on to their phone and certainly have no desire (no pun intended) to, the fact it runs android is no more important to them than knowing what os their previous phone ran. Almost everyone who buys an iphone is specifically buying a smart phone. Not everyone who gets an android phone cares if it does anything more than make and take calls, do texting and so forth, because android phones naturally slot in at a much wider market from the iphone style top end smart phone down to cheaper "phone" phones, even DECT handsets, cheapo tablets and so forth.

    Sounds like another apples and bricks comparison :) (referring presumably to comparing an iphone with a desire custom rom that's gone wrong, ahem)

    Matt.

    1. Turtle_Fan

      Even apps on SD is not necessary...

      As i wrote in a previous response, all you need is android 2.2 or newer and an SD card.

      You can partition your SD card between FAT (its native format) and ext3 (linux file system).

      Then whatever space is on the SD under ext3 will be transparently added to your storage size.

      So partitioning off say 512MB of a 2GB card leaves you with 1.5GB for your pics etc. and doubles (if not more) the storage space for apps and your system data.

    2. Miek

      HTC Desire here too

      "Whomever sized up the internal storage for this phone needs to be dragged out in an an alleyway and forced to watch Eastenders for a month non-stop or something."

      or perhaps eternally locked in a room with whomever thought of having traffic lights on a round-a-bout

      1. M man
        Thumb Down

        yeah...

        you tell that to the five guys in accidents when they turned off the light to re-align them at a large roundabout near me for two weeks.

  26. Nutter91

    Quality & Price across iOS and Android

    I own both an iPod touch and a phone running android, there are two things that some of you have already mentioned about the possible reasons for the poor sales:

    1) I've found identical apps from the same developer to be very overpriced on the android market compared to iOS, also EA/PopCap haven't released many games for the android system which I would prefer to see bigger developers porting their apps to android, not a crap "cant be bothered" quality style app coming across.

    2) The apps in general are - generally - much poorer quality, not sure what it is, but even stupid time wasting apps on the iOS are made to a much higher standard than any on the android marketplace.

    Oh and don't forget the chinese/japanese apps that flood the "Just in" section of the marketplace of the same app with a *slightly* different design.

    1. scarshapedstar
      Boffin

      One big thing

      Quite simply the standard UI elements on iOS look nicer. Rounded buttons, gray and blue.

      Android 2.x's standard UI is white text on a black background with yellow and orange focus/click highlights, and everything is rectangular.

      Obviously they don't want to make it look like iOS, and it's good for readability, but it really needs some polish.

      1. Rattus Rattus

        Each to his own

        I rather like the look of white on black with yellow and orange highlights, it looks good. iOS standard designs look too Fisher-Price for me.

  27. Gary F

    I've only bought 2 Android apps

    I bought Robo Defence after playing the free version for a week. It was so addictive that it was worth paying for extra levels and the author really deserved my two quid. (Wow, reading that back I sound so tight!)

    The other purchase was PDANet. Bought out of necessity because stupid Android doesn't natively allow a tethered laptop to use its 3G Internet connection. Maybe Android versions later than 2.1 support it, but this app was well worth paying for to plug a hole - something my old Windows 6 phone had done out of the box for years.

    Back to the argument, I think more iPhone users have money to burn than Android users. My pay-as-you-go Android cost £99. It's crazy to spend any more money on a phone that goes out of season in 12 months.

    1. Steve Evans

      @Gary F

      Yes, Android 2.2 supports tethering.

      I agree, that's an annoying omission by both Google and Apple. I've had a long line of Nokia devices which would tether straight out of the box, and I used them for that on several occasions when I had no other internet connection. I remember using an N70 in 2005. I think the 6600 I had before could do it too via irDA, but I don't remember using it.

      I don't understand the more money than sense iPhone users either. I can see the 3GS being justifiable now that they're old stock and almost free with a pack of cornflakes, but the whole "must be at the cutting edge, here's my wallet" urge completely escapes me when it comes to mobile devices these days.

  28. Antony Riley
    Thumb Up

    Proof

    that the average iPhone user has more money than sense.

  29. technocrat
    FAIL

    £1.50 charge

    is whats putting people off, theres no universal payment it is localised so you end up paying £1.50 to your bank on top of te 59p or so for the app, in effect costing you 3 times extra. its a terrible system this is what most of us moan about, I have bought a couple of essential apps but had to pay £1.50 to my bank each time, so now I no longer buy and thats what put me off (like a lot of people!)

    change this they may get more sales coming in..

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    idiots part with their money easier

    the typical iPhone user throws money away like its out of fashion...therefore

    they are likely to buy an App rather than look for a cheaper/free alternative.

    Android users tend to be a bit more savvy - their Phone is likely to be 1/2 or 1/4 the

    price of an iPhone - therefore they are likely to be more frugal....and more likely

    to look for cheaper or free Apps to do the task.

    I know of many people who have paid for an App when there are free tools

    that do the same job (might not have as good an icon or name but still...)

  31. Ben 54
    Alert

    Android release new builds too fast

    I think opensource is just part of the problem on the Android market. Personally I would pay for an app which have support, open source or the not, if its useful with support.

    My main beef with Android is the compatibility issue accross tablets. Android and older generation phones/tablets have people stuck on 1.6 Android, unable to upgrade, and google keep on releasing new builds for the more expensive newer models. At this rate most people keep on adjusting for the newer SDKs and olders ones get left behind.

    Skyfire for one, left the 1.6 users to fend for themselves so they can utilize the new features in the newer builds. Problem is, a huge share of the market have older kit, and there is no way forward for them. Upgrading for older handsets is not possible without a kind dev building some custom builds of android, but its impossible to cover every single chipset out there on their unpaid own.

    1. Miek
      Linux

      Uuuummmmm

      Don't blame Android for their prompt release cycles, blame the Handset makers and Carriers who drag their feet in releasing said upgrades in order that we all upgrade our phones, HTC are quite happy to pump out a new handset every month but cannot be bothered to update their previous offerings -- oooohhh that Samsung looks nice ;)

  32. Saucerhead Tharpe

    Another difference between iOS and Android

    1) Tetherable Android phones don't seem to cost extra, iPhone can tether now, but it costs

    2) Some iOS apps seem to exist to cover function of websites that Mr Jobs doesn't want people using, whereas on Android you can just use the site, hence no need for an extra app

  33. poohbear

    Angry birds

    So my kid likes Angry Birds and I decide to buy it, after seeing it on Amazon for around a dollar or a pound / whatever.

    However Amazon only sells to Yanks, and I could not find the paid version on Google's Market.

    I have since rooted the phone and installed Adfree, which dealt with the problem.

    However I remember reading somewhere that Rio was making a million dollars a day from ads in Angry Birds ... why would they bother trying to sell it with that sort of income?

    And so comparing sales of Apple and Android apps is misleading.... they should instead look at the total revenue stream to devs.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Phone vs Appliance

    I suspect part of the reason more iPhone users buy applications is that iPhones are a device with a sub-standard phone attached as opposed to Android Phones which tend to be phones that can do some other crap.

    Most the iPhone users I know love them for everything except making phone calls.

  35. Neill Mitchell

    £1.83 being taken for a ride?

    For goodness sake, £1.83 is nothing! What else can you get for £1.83? You can't buy a large coffee for £1.83.

    £1.83 for a full fledged game is peanuts.

    This is the trouble, people have got used to seeing a lot of crappy apps for pence and this has turned us into cheapskates.

    This works both ways as well. I recently had a problem with an app. The developer told me (in typical geek fashion) "tough, if you don't like it, here's your money back". 69p. He just didn't give a monkeys about fixing the problem and 69p is no incentive. When I asked why he sold such a good app so cheaply he said "anything over a dollar just won't sell".

    It's just not sustainable. We've cheapened mobile apps so much now that the words "software" and "quality" are becoming mutually exclusive. I'd rather pay $5 and have apps that don't crash and stuff my phone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      I pay 80p for my coffee

      Seems like you're beng taken for a ride on that too.

      Look stores can have space for both types of products, if you look at apps by the OmniGroup the cheapest starts at £11.99. Lots of very expensive medical apps too. They still sell very well.

      If you go for the general market price the app low, if it's specific price the app high. Simples and it works, well on Apple's market anyway.

    2. Neill Mitchell

      FIFA game

      This should have been attached to the FIFA thread. Don't know what happened there...

      1. Neill Mitchell

        Inevitable.

        I just knew someone would say they could get cheap coffee. Must be pretty ghastly stuff if a large one costs you just 80p

        Look, I'm not saying there is no room for expensive apps, but I think you'll find they are pretty niche. I'm saying that the mobile app markets have cheapened expectations and led to a dramatic drop in quality.

  36. Leo Davidson

    the problem is supply, not demand

    I think this analysis overlooks a rather important point: iOS has more high-quality software written for it. So of course its software gets more sales.

    I'm not saying that accounts for all of the difference, but surely it's too big a part of the picture to ignore it if you're thinking straight.

    I have an Android phone and have bought a bunch of apps and games. Some of them are very good. But there are still a load of other top-quality games I've seen for the iPhone which I would buy on Android if they were ported. They're not, so those sales don't happen. (I still don't want those apps enough to change platform and suffer iTunes, however.)

    If you build it, they will come. I don't blame anyone for focusing on iOS -- it is a more tried & tested route, and Android Market does have its issues -- but there is decent money to be made on Android all the same, for people who put time into it. As a bonus your app/game will stand out more because it's competing with less.

    Another thing I find odd about this article is the stuff about Apple's top ten promoting certain things. Android Market does something similar, and has done at least since I started using Android late last year.

  37. M man
    Meh

    FFS!! a title? i'll give you a title....

    Simples

    1)android phones are sold to poor people(statistically anyway), free(as in speech)tards, paranoid anti control freaks or techys or their friends.(I am in part all four of these)*

    a)poor people cant afford apps or don't have a credit card.(you can BUY a phone from £60 FFS! how low does your credit rating have to be to not be trusted to pay back £2.50 a month.)

    b)freetard would rather get the(usually)free open sourced based app*

    c)techy (can) steal their apps.

    d)the paranoid wont trust their credit card.

    that's gotta dig into the number of people PREPARED to pay.

    2)the number of apps offering ad-supported versions far exceed the appstore(tm,Ptpend)

    3)the number of free, "will do**" apps a to compete with the paid apps again exceed app(le)store

    4)the search (considering it from the worlds number 1 search provider)is horrendous, it doesn't even support -(minus) .......FFS.

    so if I am willing to pay, can find what I want, there is a good chance there's an app supported(thus effectively...free***) option available.

    Its not surprising that sales are low.

    *my coats the troll shaped one with its own bridge.

    **as in its not perfect but for FREE it will do.

    ***yeah I know its not free but I get to pay with a comoditie I have loads off....free eye time.

  38. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Theres little incentive to develop apps

    when linux already has just about everything you'd ever need for free and once Necessitas etc are a bit more polished it will be just a case of recompile and go.

  39. Hairy Spod

    I think you have all missed the point

    Biggest difference between Apple and Google devices? Space!

    I have the HTC desire, even with the latest updates and having used 'Apps to SD' and moving anything and everything I can accross to my SD card, despite this I ran out space for new apps months and months ago.

    As a result I download very few if any apps compared to my i-phone owning GF.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Turtle_Fan

      Repetition, Deviation, Hesitation

      At the risk of (thrice) repeating myself : you can get your android phone (2.2 upwards) to have as much as 32gb storage space given a big enough SD. card. That's native 32 gigs, No a2sd malarkey. Scroll back for instructions or research a bit.

      Your phone's memory will show up as the sum of the phone's internal storage plus the ext3 partition's size on your SD card.

      Once you do this, you don't need to move anything to the SD card, as the combined space will show up as one chunk of internal storage.

      (Apps2SD is actually harmful imho as it confuses users, doesn't work on all apps, can't work with widgets and locks the apps when connecting in "mass storage mode").

      To add on the previous posts, by far the least complicated way to do this is to use a Ubuntu LiveCD, boot into it and use partition editor. So what if your manufacturer allocated a measly 256MB in internal storage. Partition the damn thing to a 1GB ext3 and hey presto, your internal phone storage will shoot up to 1.2GB's.

      The main problem I have seen with droid devices is that they are so badly pummelled by the manufacturers and resellers that they end up degrading in performance. If only rooting/reflashing/cleaning up was available as a one-off service charge to users instead of each having to do this on their own....

      1. Hairy Spod

        definately?

        Everything I've seen with instructions for adding partions to SD cards suggests this only works with rooted phones.

        As it's a work phone it's not going to get rooted either.

        If you are absolutely certain this works on unrooted phones please reply again and let me know. If it is I and zillions of other Desire users will be greatful to you for ever.

        1. Turtle_Fan

          Positive but...

          The rooting bit is only needed if you plan to use your phone to do the repartitioning.

          Connecting the SD card via USB and using Linux or a LiveCD and then gparted or some such utility will do this for you on the fly with no need to root anything at all. Again, this will only work on Androids 2.2 or higher. Earlier versions don't support this feature.

          There are (obvious) RISKS which in fairness I must mention: a) As your SD will become part of your 'system partition' any damage to it will mean severe problems in the handset's function. Hence a good backup utility is strongly recommended. [It may sound like a no brainer but people have been caught out as SD's are nowhere as resilient as baked memory chips in the phone] b) Due to Linux's priviledges scheme, just copying the SD's ext3 partition contents to your PC will NOT make them functionable in case of a re-install, so don't rely on this method for a backup. c) Preferrably use a card reader for the operation and not the phone itself. If you insist on using the phone, go to USB options and tick the debugging option in your settings menu.

          1. scarshapedstar
            Unhappy

            Just to clarify

            Is this the same thing as creating an sd-ext partition in Clockworkmod? I made one and it didn't seem to be recognized by anything, but I still got "insufficient storage" errors.

            1. Turtle_Fan

              Android version?

              I'm puzzled. On one hand you say you won't root your phone, yet you're telling me that you installed clockwork recovery and even did a re-partition job without rooting the phone?

              If the thing is rooted, then just go to the market, get A2SD install, reboot, done.

              As this is not a help forum, go look into MoDaCo as they have an entire section dedicated to your Desire (pun intended).

  40. Ben Norris

    Android apps make money on ads

    What you are missing is that the android market has embraced advertising as the main method of generating revenue and make more money that way than they would a paid app on the iphone.

    By giving away their apps free they reach a far wider audience. Its a win win situation. All we need now are better ways of finding quality apps amongst the junk.

  41. Kynth
    Facepalm

    If you don't let folks buy Apps, then App sales will be lower.

    A large number of Android tablet owners are currently unable to buy apps via the marketplace, at all, even in the UK.

    A search for "This item cannot be installed on your device" will give an idea of how many are affected.

    Responses from Google have been slow in coming, stock in nature and haven't provided a solution.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019