December 13, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Earlier today we discussed Android’s dominance of the mobile phone market. However, that dominance doesn’t translate to dollars for Android app developers. A report issued today from Flurry Analytics claims despite the massive lead built up by Android’s success, the platform hasn’t captured nearly as much as the spending associated with mobile apps.
“Anecdotally, developers consistently tell us that they make more money on iOS,” writes Peter Farago on the Flurry Blog. “About three to four times as much.”
Flurry attempted to back-up those anecdotes with numbers from its analytics source. More than 135,000 apps use Flurry, and the company found that support for new Android development dropped from 37 percent at the beginning of the year to 27 percent today. That doesn’t paint a full picture, but it is one signal that Android might not make as many gains among developers as it should given the number of consumers using the OS. (Flurry suggests iPad2 success and wider iPhone availability contributes to the iOS favoritism.)
A one-to-one comparison was drawn between revenue from in-app purchases among popular apps available on both Android and iOS. Flurry calculates that for every $1 the iOS app generates, only $0.24 is earned on Android. That could likely be explained by iOS having a more mature payment system and more familiarity with in-app upgrades, but it’s still a sizable gap. TechCrunch notes that Flurry doesn’t reveal the sample size, so you can’t really be sure of these results’ trustworthiness, but it’s hard to overlook such a gap even if the sample size was just the Top 10 apps available on both Android and iOS.
Why is this important? Because apps make or break a mobile OS. Despite Google being among the most widely-used apps, the best apps come from third party developers. Plenty of people wouldn’t stick around with Android if they couldn’t get Pandora or one of its many rivals. Plenty of people wouldn’t convert to Android if it meant giving up that app that they have come to love. And if users want to keep seeing more great apps to choose from, it’s imperative that developers believe they will be able to make a living on Android.
Keep that in mind when the 10-cent Android app sale concludes. Don’t be afraid to loosen the purse strings more often when an app has earned it.