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02 September 2009, 12:39

Android software development relatively unprofitable

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Android SDK Logo Matt Hall at the game developers Larva Labs has complained in a blog entry of low sales in Google's Android application store. In August, the company generated an average revenue of $62.39 per day with two games. Hall says this makes it "Very difficult to buy the summer home at this rate."

Hall also refers to the game Trism, which on the iPhone took around a quarter of a million dollars in it's first two months on the iPhone App Store. The same game on the Android store has, over the same length of time, sold five hundred copies; an equivalent income of $1,046 at most.

Hall's position is backed up by a studyPDF by the market researchers at AdMob. Their study indicates that the Android Market is far less profitable for software developers than the Apple's App Store. While half of iPhone owners buy at least one application per month, only 19 per cent of Android users do the same. With user population estimates of 3 million Android users compared to 26.4 million iPhone users, AdMob estimates that around $5 million will be spent on Android applications in a month, compared to $125 million spent on iPhone applications. This doesn't include the 18.6 million iPod Touch owners who are estimated to be a $73 million dollar market. However, AdMob points out that users who do regularly download applications on either platform tend to purchase a similar amount of software.

Hall's criticism suggests a number of causes for the poor sales of Android programs, including the limit of 325 characters to describe an application, difficulty in finding pay-for applications and a lack of screen shots. He also notes that the use of Google's own payment system, Google Checkout, acts against impulse buyers, saying "Google Checkout really isn’t set up for selling apps on the market, it basically treats everything sold like a sofa".


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