There’s just no money in Android apps

Fri, Sep 4, 2009


Matt Hall of Larva Labs wrote an interesting post earlier this week detailing his experience working with the Android app store.  Put simply, even the top apps on the Android Market aren’t raking in the dough.  Before getting into the sales chart below, Hall points out how “insane” it is that that apps on the Android Marketplace have no screenshots.  And yes, we would tend to agree.  The Android Market has been around for over 10 months now, so what the hell is the holdup?!

Anyways, lets move onto the paltry figures Android apps seem to be ‘earning’.

Hall writes that Larva Labs’ has 2 paid apps that are ranked quite high on Android’s list of top paid apps, not to mention some prominent placement on the actual app store itself.

RetroDefense was #1 for a while and is currently around #12 with a perfect 5 star rating. Battle for Mars is currently #5 overall with a 4.5 star rating. Both of these games are selling for $4.99, which is on the upper end of the price range. Finally, both of these games have been featured by Google in the market app and on the Android website. So with all this in mind, here’s our daily Android sales for this August (these numbers include sales from our other two apps, but they barely register):

Even with some of the best selling Android apps, Hall notes that the above 2 games rake in about $62.39 on average.  By way of comparison, an equivalent high ranking on the iTunes App Store would put a few thousand bucks in a developer’s pockets.

The problem for Android and other competing mobile app stores is two-fold.  First, they need to woo talented developers away from the iPhone to establish a solid library of quality apps.  Second, and perhaps more importantly, is that these companies need to address the fact that they’re users simply don’t download as many apps as iPhone and iPod Touch users.  For many, the iTunes App Store is the impetus for a purchase.  Unfortunately for Google and RIM etc., the app stores for their devices appear to be more of an afterthought.

And so the vicious cycle continues – no downloads = no money = let’s all go back to the iPhone.


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