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Is Android Worth It? New Report from AppAnnie

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Gigiwoo, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    I just saw a new report from AppAnnie. Together, iOS and Android sales exceeded all Handheld game sales for Q4 of last year. But, far as I can tell, iOS sales seemed to be roughly 3x that of Android. Further, 60% of the Android sales were in Asia.

    The last time I considered Android, there was a lot of debate. "Android users never buy anything!" ... "But, there are more devices!" ... "But, supporting Android is hard!" ... So, we waited. And, now that our products are doing well, we wanted to give it another look. But, Android Pro is gonna slap me for $1500, plus the Android plugins, plus new hardware. I am asking myself... is it worth it?

    Gigi.
     
  2. jmatthews

    jmatthews

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    A couple of things to note. Android market is still growing at a faster clip than IOS. All the numbers they are presenting exclude ad revenue. Because android has a lower conversion rate of download to purchase companies have pushed their revenue streams towards ads on android. This could be a case of the tail wagging the dog.

    When you compare platform to platform android is the equivalent of releasing on a Nintendo platform, without the same technical burden. The short answer is that games that do well on IOS will also do well on Android.

    To answer your question of "is Android worth it?" It is worth it only if IOS is "worth it". Meaning they'll either both be worth it or neither will be. Fortunately with Unity you can push to one platform, determine the market value, and then purchase the alternate platform once you've established the metrics are in your favor.
     
  3. zeh

    zeh

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    In my experience, the problem is more complex than "Android users never buy anything!". It's a combination of different things:

    1. Normal stats show Android with a huge penetration advantage over iOS, but that's worldwide. This means a lot of people in China, India, Japan and Korea - which are not normally part of a western developer target audience. If you look at the US numbers, the distribution is more even. So don't get fooled by the large number of Android devices out there - many of those are out of your reach.

    2. While even the local numbers may look good for Android, a lot of those are for low end devices, or devices with old Android versions (there are some REALLY low end devices out there that people normally get for free or super cheap from their phone provider). In practice, this means people who don't use the phone very often. What I've seen again and again on applications I have access to is that even though we have, say, an install base split between versions Android 2.3 and 4+, people with Android 4+ use the application a lot more than people with an older version of the system. This makes sense: people want faster phones, and in comparison, the vast majority of iOS users are on new phones or new OS versions too. You don't see much 3GS traffic.

    Both items have an impact even on installation of free apps or games. I'd say right now, in the US, the ratios I have seen are 2:1 in terms of user install base (that is, we normally have half the number of Android users than the number of iOS users). That's what I'd expect in terms of audience of a game or app.

    So when deciding on whether to release a game on Android, you can't look at the raw user numbers. I'm pretty confident you have to look at the number of users under Android 4+ against the number of people on iOS, and then decide. It'll probably be close to the 2:1 ratio, with some variation depending on your audience.

    Yes, there's probably a problem with purchases too - but I do believe those exist not because Android 4+ users are cheap, but because the offerings are worse than on iOS, so there's not a very big culture of buying quality stuff. Almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe this is slowly changing (for the better).

    Personally, I'd say it's always worth releasing something on Android, even if it's a smaller segment. Its size is increasing, and as users of old Android phones upgrade - the 2.3 version created a chasm which it is only now starting to out of - they'll probably join the fray of users that actively use their phones for games, apps, and purchases of games and apps. And with a cross-development platform like Unity, porting is a no-brainer as long as you considered different resolutions and densities (which is now a reality even on iOS development).

    If anything, investing on it now will count as an important data point. The purchase of the Unity extension is a one-time thing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  4. joshimoo

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    Just wanted to drop this here:
    From some of Eric's posts, I came to the conclusions that you can purchase android basic even when you own unity pro.
    Which is less of an entry fee to just try the android market and if you decide that it's worth it you can always upgrade the basic license to pro.
    (with the price of basic already factored in the upgrade price)
     
  5. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    Can your game sell on the IOS market, if so is it worth selling 1/3rd on the google
     
  6. MarigoldFleur

    MarigoldFleur

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    Except, as has been covered, it's not 1/3rd at all unless you manage to systematically hit every single market.
     
  7. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    Thank you for sharing your experiences in a nicely detailed analysis. Very helpful!

    Gigi.
     
  8. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    How is the support problem? I remember a blog where a major dev quit Android entirely, just because supporting customers was too hard.

    Gigi
     
  9. GiusCo

    GiusCo

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    I'm not holding my breath, but 1280x800 resolution (from 7" unified tablets) may be worth a try nowadays.
     
  10. Aiursrage2k

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    You could also get some kind of "lotto" type thing happen, for example take a look at this game kids ABC letters sold over 50k units on google at $3.99 a pop and is ranking #3 in education, but if you look at IOS it hardly did anything not ranked at all.

    http://www.appannie.com/app/android/com.anahoret.android.letters/
     
  11. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    What in the world explains the difference? It's crazy ... I'll have to think about that one.
    Gigi.
     
  12. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    Well they have a whole suite of kids games, so its possible that because they ported all there games at once rather than doing it willy nilly it had a more pronounced effect.
     
  13. Starsman Games

    Starsman Games

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    @Gigiwoo2: Take the risk only if you are making enough money from your iOS games. If your iOS games can't cover your expenses, then don't risk it until it does.

    You will be able to write off losses from your taxes at the end of the year, but to do this you must first make money. You don't get money from the government for going on a negative balance at the end of the year. So: go for it if you are netting already higher than that. The license may be useful in the future to develop for Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet (where your biggest revenue will likely come from in the Android world.)
     
  14. Starsman Games

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    I suggest you actually check the ranking. The iOS version of that game has peaked at #266 in Education in the App Store. Given the huge volume moving in iOS, I would not be shocked if it sold more there than it sold in Android.

    Android Ranking history
    iOS ranking history for the game.


    Also, as far as "installs" in Google Play: it means that. It is not measuring sales. If I download a game and install it on 10 devices, it will be at "about 10 installs". It's important to make that distinction. The easiest form of piracy in Google Play (and iOS) is account sharing, for one. Then there is any parent that may install this app on every family phone that may be near their kids at a given time (likely 2 in average for mom's and dad's.)

    But finally: in the Android Store, the competition is fierce due to free garbage, but most this competitions is in the gaming world. There is not as much noise in educational or productivity areas. You want to make lots of money, come up with something in those categories. You want to make games... well... :)

    Edit to add links and say: also, in google play, this dev has one of those "Top Developers" icons that tend to generate some level of trust.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
  15. eedok

    eedok

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    For minibowling Android/iOS sales are split 35%/65% and that's a paid app only on the google play store, Android sales aren't as much as iOS ones but they're not insignificant like Linux sales were on previous projects
     
  16. Dewy

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    I think one of the problems with android game sales is the lack of good games compared to iOS. Most people will release on iOS first and then maybe release on android afterwards. I think it was IGF last year (could be wrong) when Andy Schatz commented that none of the finalists for the best mobile game category worked on android.

    As simple as this. Releasing on android is going to bring in more money and as long as your iOS sales cover your costs your android sales will be a much welcome increase. Even if it doesn't sell as well as iOS.
     
  17. I am da bawss

    I am da bawss

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    No, I don't think its worth it at all to port it to Android. The mentality of Android gamers are vastly different from iPhone gamers. The number don't lie - Android is a platform for the pirates, technically inclined who would rather not pay than pay.

    With Android phones market share now at THREE TIMES MORE than iPhone (54% vs 18%), and yet the Android apps are selling less than 1/3 of iPhone, that's a pityful 1/9th of market potential than iPhone. People on Android are simply not willing to pay and I don't see how that's ever going to improve since Google is actively supporting the pirates by their lax attitude and lack of security on their platform.
     
  18. Dewy

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    That's a sweeping generalisation. I just bought a game on my android phone last night, so how can that be if your universal statement says I'm not willing to pay? There is a whole range of factors that make an apple on apple comparison extremely hard. For example some paid games on iOS are free on android (with ad or in app revenue), there is more games on iOS, android market includes cheap phones and devices, android is more popular than iOS in countries where people have less money for games, from what I can tell f2p models are more popular on android.

    Regardless of that 1/3 of iOS sales is still nothing to scold at. Remember when people said Mac and Linux weren't worth supporting? Just look at how wrong they were, well from an indie stand point it could be different for AAA.
     
  19. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    Well thats good to know. Wow makes it alot more depressing then.

    I was looking at something like clear vision#2 and it was selling #1 paid in IOS (is now #3 paid) for a while but on google it has 10-50k installs but thats not even 10k purchases.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/...DIwNiwiYWlyLmRwZmxhc2hlcy5jbGVhcnZpc2lvbjIiXQ..
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
  20. arkon

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    I think its only just worth doing if it doesnt cost you anything. I have had my game on IOS for just over a year now and it has done ok for a first game. About a month ago I used my free android licence and released it on android. It was a paid version. After 2 weeks I didnt get a single download or sale, so released it as a free version with Admob in it.

    Well I must say it seems like a waste of time. 2 weeks later I am at about 10,000 installs but as the advert requests increase the ecpm drops. What started as 7 dollars ecpm is now 40 cents. So Im making about 50 dollars per week. If I had paid for the licence plus the cost of my time it wouldnt be worth it.

    Hope this helps you decide.
     
  21. n0mad

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    There's some indeniable amount of truth in this.
    Which kind of upsets me even more against pirates tbh, because there are still some honest people in the Android gamers, for 100% sure. And these good people are being put into the same basket than pirates, because they are a clear minority (according to reports).

    This inevitable generalization has a bad effect on loyal customers : "why should I pay for my games, if devs will inevitably see me as a pirate anyway ?"
    I don't want them to think that, I want to reward them with recognition, thank them for not pirating games.

    Which is why discussing piracy on a highly pirated platform is a goddamn tricky subject. Because on top of that, we can't ignore piracy when taking the decision to put our game on Android or not : remember, a gamer, pirate or not, is still a customer that may need technical support one day ...
    and technical support does cost you time money ...
     
  22. Starsman Games

    Starsman Games

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    I think it does not have a lot to do with pricing or economy. Most people that buy an iPhone, wanted that Apple Branded Smartphone. Most people that get an Android, were simply bullied to get one at their carrier. This ends up meaning that a disproportionate percentage of the Android market gives a rat ass about gaming or apps, they just want to make calls.
     
  23. keithsoulasa

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    Keith's guide to making money with game dev . Don't
    Use the skills you gain with game dev to make apps that people actually need or work for a company that makes non-gaming apps .

    Ether way your talking about a very fierce market when it comes to gaming . Gaming is best left as a hobby .
    If your determined to actually try to make it as an indie , and you want a real ROI , IOS . Leave android for hobbyist dev( or for the'love' of gaming , the Nexus 4 looks like a beast , but the olds of you turning a profit are pretty low .
     
  24. lockbox

    lockbox

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    I just played a free game that had 1,000,00 downloads. Incredibly simple, yet well made. I played it for 5 minutes and was completed bored with it.

    Version 2 is out and sells for $0.99. Over 100,000 sold. O-M-G.

    If you can whip something together in a short amount of time that is incredibly simple yet addicting, you can make a killing. You just have to have the right idea.
     
  25. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    How hard it been to support your customers? I've read the horror stories of how much time it takes to support Android.

    Gigi
     
  26. lockbox

    lockbox

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    I think "horror story" is very game and developer specific. One company's story does not equate to everyone having the same type of issues.
     
  27. arkon

    arkon

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    I think its as hard as you make it. My app is free with adverts in it, for that they get no support at all. If I get emailed a question I will answer it but thats all. If my game does not run on a pinyan sx243 model 12 then tough, I wont do any work to fix that. My moto is you get what you paid for.
     
  28. lockbox

    lockbox

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    After reading this thread I was "inspired" and whipped together a 3D Android game with a very simple mechanic - 8 levels with increasing difficulty, help screen, music, sound fx, etc, etc.. It has the whole "locked levels and stars" thing going on, so players can work toward improving their performance. It should be in Google Play shortly.

    Was it worth it? Yes indeed! It cost me only a few dollars for the artwork I needed, and the music and some of the sounds fx were free. No third party code or DLLs were required. I already have an Android developer account and Website for my other Android apps, so that didn't cost me anything. Making the app itself was relatively easy and I learned quite a bit along the way as well. Tested on Galaxy S and Galaxy Note 2 with no issues. Screen scaling is handled all in code, was easy to test using the editor's many screen size pull down menu, and works as expected. I'm not using Matrix4x4.TRS - trying that was a waste of time.

    The code is very clean and straightforward javascript, and I don't expect any issues. There is nothing in the code that I can tweak for specific platforms, so I don't see how I'm going to have issues - and that is what is probably going to bite me in the butt after I launch this thing. lol

    Business model is pay, $0.99. Any money I make is pure profit and I did it in my spare time, so how could this not be worth it?

    Besides,... I could always use more vending machine money. Ha ha! ;)
     
  29. Shuji

    Shuji

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    I'm really interested to see what you whipped up. Can you post the link to the play store when it is live?
     
  30. lockbox

    lockbox

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    Sure! :)
     
  31. miksumortti

    miksumortti

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    I would say it's worth it, at least if you can get even only the Android licence costs back, which shouldn't be too hard...
     
  32. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    Once it's out, tell us how it went! For me, porting will cost ~$2,000, Unity Pro + an android device + plugins. Which is more change than I have in my couch cushions. :)

    Gigi
     
  33. Starsman Games

    Starsman Games

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    You can't expect to experience the level of requests you would get from a free game to match those for a paid one. Even if you sell WAY less copies, people tend to bug for support if they paid for the game, while they tend to just delete the app and keep going if it was a free game.
     
  34. lockbox

    lockbox

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  35. arkon

    arkon

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    Hi, Good job, please keep us posted on this thread as to how much money you make, I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours! I tried My app at 3.99 to start with and sold ZERO copies, I then added a free version and charged .99 for an in app purchase and sold to date about a dozen at 99c. The advertising revenue from it is about $28 per week, the exact same app on IOS gives me $1200 per week from ads and sales.

    Android free version gets me about 100 new players per day, the IOS version gets me about 1500 new players per day.
    Same level of marketing on both.

    I'd be really interested to know how you do.
     
  36. bug5532

    bug5532

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    That's really interesting. I seem to be the only person that has had more success with Android. With free and paid versions ($0.99) on both stores I see about 5x the free downloads on Android, although paid sales are similar. The best stint I had on iOS was 1000 Downloads a day, best with Android was 9000 a day.
    I wish I could work out how to make 50x the revenue of my android app on iOS! haha
     
  37. arkon

    arkon

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    The problem I'm seeing with android is that even if I get higher downloads, advertising revenue is less than a quarter of Ios for the same impressions, seems like all the ad methods pay 20 to 25% ecpm for the exact same game that you have on IOS.
    In a nutshell I have the same games on both platforms but am making about a tenth of the revenue on Android.
     
  38. lockbox

    lockbox

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    Yup, that sounds about right.

    There are a lot of things about the Android world that are different from the iWorld. You really can't compare the two. It's like apples (no pun intended) and oranges. You're dealing with a different demographic, and a different mindset when it comes to acquiring apps, games and content. In the Android world, free is still king and always will be.

    I wasn't joking when I said vending machine money. I only make a few hundred dollars a year from my regular apps - and that revenue comes from advertising. I don't do this stuff for the money. It's just a hobby and professional development for me. Like you, I put up stuff with a price first to see what happens and take it from there. I think my expectations are inline with what I'm putting out there, so I'm never disappointed. If I make money, then great, and if I don't .. oh well. ha ha. You never really know what people are going to get excited about, so it's all the roll of the dice - the lottery ticket to the big time.

    It's going to take a lot more time to promote and market the game than it was to develop it and that is pretty much expected. I already have another idea that I'm dying to work on, so the marketing will have to wait while I get that up and running. And then I have to travel for work for two weeks. .. ugh.

    I'll let you know how things go. :)
     
  39. bug5532

    bug5532

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    yeah I guess, for some reason I just dont get the downloads on iOS. I plan on doing a lot more advertising (well some, spent null on current game) for my next game as there definitely should be more money in iOS than I'm experiencing.
     
  40. LaneFox

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    Isn't the demographic completely different between the two? I don't publish to mobile but I've always been under the impression that iOS is basically geared toward the younger crowd. After more solid android platforms started coming along all of the managers and business personnel i know have almost all moved to android while a majority of the younger people I know are still using iOS - that being mostly kids and teenagers that are still on their parents account and young people that have just moved out on their own.

    If that is the case (which as far as I can see and basically the same with most people I know - is the case) then of course iOS sells more apps because its kids buying things on someone elses dime that they don't actually need and the younger crowd wants to play more games than the older crowd using androids does.

    Anyway thats just my observations...
     
  41. Starsman Games

    Starsman Games

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    I think I learned that 2D is hard to sell (or give away for free.)

    I got to get off my ass and finish some new game, got some half finished prototypes that may do well at least as ad revenue. If I got a single title to do half as good as Arkon, I'd be extremely happy.
     
  42. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Because you did it in your spare time that situation is OK for you and people in your boat. But imagine people who do it for a living? Every strike has to count or you don't get paid in your day job and you can lose things like your car. Thats my situation, so it has to be measured carefully.
     
  43. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    It's not that iOS is geared towards a younger crowd, its that iOS is geared towards a paying mass-market crowd, and it is usually far easier to get a cheaper droid (in mass market, not enthusiast context). The fact is, getting the latest iOS device usually means the latest and greatest software running the smoothest. That's the simplest and most reliable path.

    With droid, there's so many to choose from you really need to do your research before getting one, or it can end up a bit naff. Things have improved a lot over the past year, but until proper DRM support is added, developers will always flinch a bit.
     
  44. lockbox

    lockbox

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    There is a ring of truth to this with regard to the younger crowd. My son, niece and nephew all got a few hundred dollars worth of iTunes gift cards this past Christmas. How many Android gift cards do you think my son got while he was carrying an Android phone? You guessed it - none!
     
  45. Gigiwoo

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    I asked my wife if she wanted to get a phone, and then I suggested an Android would be cheaper. She said, 'No Way!' If I'm going to pay a lot for a phone, it's not going to be an android, it's going to be an iPhone.

    So, there is a Ring of truth (silly rabbit - tricks are for kids!) in here ... somewhere.

    Gigi
     
  46. keithsoulasa

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    With android you have a pretty big divide . 4 of the top 10 paid apps require root access , so a good chunk of people who PAY for apps are techies , they will pay for apps ( I feel like a techie , and I pay for apps all the time ) , but their a pretty small market .

    Most other Android users just will not pay for an app . This isn't likely to change soon . Heck , if your using unity , have an extra month of savings/earnings , then develop for Android .

    But Hippo , I understand that you do this to eat , so you have to focus on where the money is .

    Anyway, I'm going to start development of another hobbyist game next month .
    Going to put some money into it this time( less than 600$ , but I will get some models done ) .
     
  47. GiusCo

    GiusCo

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    Ok I'm taking 3 months time to put out 4-5 small but polished 2D games from my prototypes and test the iOS/Android lakes for a comparison. Stay tuned.
     
  48. zeh

    zeh

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    In regards to piracy, I think this is the wrong way to look at it. I think the market numbers are just not there and some people are misled at thinking it is.

    It's not that it's a piracy problem. I don't have any numbers to back that up (does anyone? all numbers I find are very old and seldom very scientific) but I hardly think the piracy market is as prominent on Android as some people want to believe. I have more friends that have jailbroken iPhone (and thus able to sideload third-party apps) than I have Android friends who use pirated apps. Anecdotal, I know, but all I have.

    Instead, based on the stats of the apps/games I maintain (including free ones), I think the problem is that

    a) the Android market share isn't as big in the US as people think it is (see above link)
    b) a big chunk of the market is made of super old phones, who
    b.1) don't install/buy new apps that often
    b.2) don't use the installed apps that often

    To explain point b) a bit more: I have apps/games that are installed on Android versions 2.1 and above. When I look at the numbers, the 2.x install base is always bigger than the 4.x install base... say, a 45%-25% distribution on average. However, the *usage* statistics paint me a completely different picture - I'd say, the completely opposite: something around 25%-45%. Even with less devices on 4.x, the total number of sessions started by this version is much higher than 2.x! People with 4.x are just more frequent users of their phones, and apps in general.

    That's why I do think that comparing total iOS market share to Android 4+ market share is the right way to go. When you do that you'll see it's just a smaller piece of the pie which is probably just about right (better than assuming all 2.x devices are heavy users).

    Also, I'd disagree with the notion that Google has a "lax attitude and lack of security on their platform". Maybe at first since all installation packages were the same. But last month Google officially made app licensing the default way to check for application authorization after testing it for a while (replacing the old Copy Protection), and on Android 4.1, applications are encrypted with a device-specific key before being downloaded and installed so one can't simply backup and distribute an apk to friends.

    TL;DR: it's more of a problem of a market that isn't there (yet?), contrary to some public (mis)understanding.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
  49. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    As you make progress, share your story. 3-4 weeks per product is ambitious, and also the right size for a 'bullet'. Learn from them, make some small $$, and if one of them shows promise, load up for a canon (see Great By Choice, Bullets-Then-Canonballs strategy).

    Gigi.
     
  50. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2011
    Posts:
    2,981
    Nice links! Thanks.
    Gigi