Android News

Android developers unhappy with Android’s financial rewards

December 1, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka

Android News

Android developers unhappy with Android’s financial rewards

According to a small survey conducted by Skyhook Wireless, Android developers aren’t happy with the Android Market. Developers don’t like the small number of downloads or the even smaller profit margins, and they blame the Market’s design and Google Checkout for the problem.

Developer disappointment has been a theme in recent weeks after Gameloft said it would back away from Android. Though the company backtracked from that statement soon after, it caused many to wonder how satisfied or frustrated developers are becoming with the financial rewards of the Android platform. This survey, which has a small sample group of 30 that calls its accuracy into question, speaks to some of those frustrations. Let’s consider some of the major points gathered from the 30 developers polled:

57% said they are not satisfied with their profits on Android

This is a no-brainer. Android users have not spent as much as iPhone users. Plenty of reports from other sources back-up this claim, though it seems to slowly improve.

90% say their app has individual downloads of 10,000 or less

That’s 27 of the 30 people, leading me to wonder who is participating in this survey and how much the quality of their app affects sales, thus, their happiness and response.

43% believe they would sell more apps if not for Google Checkout

Though I have no problem with Google Checkout, it has been said that Checkout and the need for a credit card adds an unnecessary barrier to app sales. Developers, like some analysts, believe that making it easier to just purchase an app and pay for it at the end of the month will encourage more sales. T-Mobile has said it would soon start a program to let customers add app purchases to their monthly bill.

82% say the Android Market design makes it difficult to be noticed

I’m surprised 100% didn’t think this because it’s practically a fact. The Android Market is full of problems that need to be addressed.

On the AndroidGuys podcast last night, I asked Kevin Nakao of Whitepages to speak about Android’s financial rewards. Nakao said that after the new Android Market was released, there was a noticeable increase in sales and downloads of the Whitepages app. This is just one instance, but I’m inclined to believe that the improved Market on 1.6 does increase app visibility, meaning carriers ought to hurry up and get their customers onto Donut.

68% are somewhat or not likely to put as much work into their apps

Devs are well within their rights to give up, but doing so at this time may not be the wisest thing to do. In the past two months, we’ve seen the Sprint Hero, Samsung Moment, Motorola Cliq, and Verizon Droid & Droid Eris dramatically increase Android’s user base. Verizon has three times as many customers as T-Mobile and Sprint customers tend to spend more money than T-Mobile subscribers.

A whole new breed of customer that is accustomed to paying extra for certain services has been exposed to Android and the financial potential for the platform will continue to increase. The pace is frustratingly slow, but there is movement. As Nakao says, “The market is just going to get bigger. Anybody who has made their business based on what has happened up to this point is being very, very short-sighted about the economic opportunity.”