This is a Public Service Announcement to my fellow nerds and geeks that wouldn’t be caught dead with a WinSlow or a Fruit Factory device. We hear the complaints that our apps aren’t polished, why does the iPhone get the apps first or why are other platforms better supported? The answer is simply, we have to show developers the money, and right now, we aren’t.
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I stated in a previous article that developer geniuses need to be payed so they can share their talent for our benefit and we are not very good patrons of our resident Android geniuses. According to AndroidGuys.com, “The average Android user spends around $5.30 a month on apps.” Gigaom.com has a bit different number but a more interesting statistic. It said iPhone users spend an average of $9.49 on apps per month compared with $8.63 per month for Android users. Now that difference doesn’t sound like much but where Apple is killing Android is in it’s loyal fanbase. According to Gigaom.com, 50% of iPhone users purchase paid apps compared to a paltry 19% on the Android side.
Now if you were a developer, which basket is all of your eggs going in? For us to be such rabid fans of Android, we are not supporting it the way we should. We are sucking the developers dry, and taking advantage of our resident geniuses by not purchasing the premium apps, thus not putting food on their tables and not really encouraging them to make better apps. Maybe it’s the fault of the developers for making free products so good. The free versions work so well, we feel we don’t need to purchase the paid content because it’s not that much of an upgrade. Maybe it’s that we’ve been so spoiled by apps that are free like Twitter for Android, Handcent and Google Voice that we feel paying for something of slightly better quality doesn’t make sense â€” and those big companies can afford to give out nice apps for free, they don’t need the extra money.
Whatever your reasoning for not purchasing Android apps, stop it. Quality (and quantity) will never improve if developers don’t see any return on their risky investment. Right now, half of the iPhone users and 40% of the iPod Touch users pay for their apps and their community is much larger (because of the amount of developers, and the money being spent). Android developers can’t afford to dedicate their efforts to a community that will only give a return on investment from 1 in 5 users, especially if that ocmmunity is smaller. So developers, take it from The Joker, “When you are good at something, never do it for free.”