Google's Android Market offers the largest selection of free apps (57%) while the smallest selection provided by Windows Mobile Marketplace is 22%. (Data from a mobile app store report by Distimo.) The report looked at tends in the US for may 2010 in the major app stores (including Apple, Android, Blackberry, Palm, Microsoft, and Nokia markets).
Wondering why Android has the highest percentage of free apps? Its because only nine countries around the world are aloud to distribute free apps, and only 13 countries are able to download those free apps. To pay for the paid apps, you must register for a Google Checkout account, which in some countries is an impossible task.
Thankfully, the Android team knows this is a major issue and is making some changes to the Developer Agreement to make the actions of paying for apps a less painful process. A post by Tim Bay on the Android Development Blog suggests the changes will allow carrier billing as a new payment option. As of right now, T-mobile is the only carrier that has the option available for the Android Market. This could be a major help once it becomes an option for all carriers. However it still doesn't help making paid applications more available across the globe.
A survery from AdMob last august found that half of all android users have never purchased an app, because of lack of access and restriction from Google Checkout.
Changes to the Developer Agreement takes place around 30 days after the update, so expect more payment options in about a month!
- Ian Laird