Apple Appstore vs Google Android Market

I think it is unfair to blame Google for having failed to recreate the Apple app market. Google never tried to recreate the same thing. Apple has built an ecosystem where the user is used to paying. The whole Apple world is a “premium” thing. People who are ready to pay go for iPhones, so of course they are more ready to buy apps. On the other hand, Android is open source and has a totally different philosophy and its primary adopters are used to the web/open source ecosystem, where most services are given for free to the community . So up until now, there has been a natural selection both among the developers and the audiences of the platforms. No wonder the cross-platform apps are rare. When iPhones and Android phones get more or less equivalent in the general public’s mind, the revenue discrepancy on marketplaces will tend to decrease.

Apple Appstore vs Google Android Market

Apple also has plenty of sites promoting their store (eg. Toucharcade.com). Not sure how Google encourage this but it’s very important if they want their Market place to succeed. The one critical fact for iPhone developers who are considering moving an app to Android is buried in the middle of your post. This is that the typical revenue for a paid app that is equally ranked in both stores is 50 times higher in the iPhone app store than on Android. From other sources I have heard the ratio is usually 100 to 1. Therefore, until Google gets serious about promoting paid apps and making payment easy and available around the world, there is simply no incentive for a developer to put a paid app on Android. The true revolution of the iPhone App Store was that Apple created an entirely new outlet for independent developers, but Google has failed miserably to replicate this.

I think that the biggest reason that Android has such a glut of free apps, is that Google Checkout does not allow developers in quite a few countries to sell paid apps and thus they have to resort to free with ads in order to try and make any money. The problem is, that creates an imbalance that will be hard to fix. I think it’s more likely to be the fact that apple users will pay money for anything where as android users will only pay for useful/quality apps and games. For example: fart apps, the app called ‘nothing’ which actually does nothing, the $10,000 app etc.. all sell well on apples app store.

There’s another important point that should be mentioned. One that has kept us from porting our apps to Android, more so than low potential paid Android sales. That’s the fact that when developing for iOS, we know exactly what devices we are building for. With Android, it’s anyone’s guess which phone the customer will have, what screen size, memory, accelerometer, GPS…. Who knows. To make things worse, it seems every company is coming out of the woodwork to out-spec each other for new smart phones and tablets for Android.

Like it or not, at least with Apple we know what devices we’re writing code for, who our customers will be, and where we’ll sell the app. Rumors of the new iPad having a larger screen , new iPhone being smaller aren’t going to help Apple if true. It’s hard enough having to deal with up to 3 sets of artwork assets and possibly 3 different builds for an iOS app if your aiming for all iOS devices.


About this entry