∞ Report: Android apps not making money for developers

There have been many reports talking about how Android or is more popular than iOS and vice versa. However, if you’re a developer and want to make money, you should be on iOS.

[ad#Google Adsense 300x250 in story]Citing a report from research firm Distimo on Friday, Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt shared some interesting statistics. For instance, out of of 72,000 paid apps in Google’s Android Market, only two have sold more than 50,000 copies.

Wow, that seems incredible. Consider this: On Monday, The Heist launched on iOS and sold over 25,000 apps in half a day. Of course, we’ve all heard about apps that have been downloaded a lot more than that, but if you’re a developer, that number has to scream at you.

Here are a couple of other interesting points from the report (there are more at Fortune):

  • Looking at paid applications in the Google Android Market, downloads are significantly lower than they are for free applications. The percentage of all free applications that have been downloaded less than 100 times is 24.8%, and the percentage of paid applications that have been downloaded less than 100 times worldwide is 79.3%.
  • In March and April together, six paid applications have generated more than 500,000 downloads each in just the United States in the Apple App Store for iPhone. In the Google Android Market however, only two paid applications have exceeded more than 500,000 downloads (but under 1 million) worldwide to date


  • Juiydfu

    Quite bias interpretation of data. It doesn’t give a context of how many apps are sold on both platforms. It can simply mean that there is more sellers across Android platform and more freedom=more competition, which allows for improvement…

    • lkalliance

      I disagree. The reasons for the disparity of revenue don’t matter. If you are a developer, and you know that there is more money being made on iOS, then you’re incentivized to develop there, if you have to make a choice. If there are more Android sellers that only strengthens that incentive.

      Competition is good for the consumers, it creates better quality at a lower price…but that doesn’t mean that the competitors themselves seek out that competition. Why (if you are going to choose one or the other) should I put my effort into a platform where there is more competition and thus more downward pressure on pricing? What incentivizes me to create the best possible application when my reward is limited?

      • Copytiam

        incentivizes????????

    • Y3k-bug

      What you just said makes no sense.

      Android is the largest smartphone platform by user count in the world.

      For whatever reason, Android users don’t seem to purchase software. The reason why, that’s the interesting question.

      • Russandlisa

        Android is “the largest smartphone platform” in name only. The truth is that – from a developers perspective – Android is a fractured mess off different different interpretations, screen sizes, processor speeds, and user experiences.

        Simply put, it’s a nightmare to make your app look decent across the spectrum of so-called Android phones. Not so with iOS. One operating system… One phone… And one identical iPod Touch. That’s 30+ million customers who developers know they can reach with one version of their app.

        It’s simply unheard of on the Android side.

        • Noah Seidman

          I code Shady SMS, my new version 3.0 is the #8 top grossing social app currently. It’s is not difficult at all to deal with different screen sizes, processors, and hardware. Fragmentation does exist, but it is beyond easy to deal with. It is not a nightmare at all to accommodate different user experiences! Only non coders, and generally inexperienced coders claim such things.

  • Guver

    Why purchase if you can get it for free?

  • Dan Woods

    What about Ad revenue? Don’t Free Android Apps make more money than paid Apps due to Users being forced to view Ads before using the App?

    • http://twitter.com/SillyCube sillycube

      ad revenue is small. You can only count it if you have > 100,000 downloads. 1000 ad display usually offers US $0.1 – US $0.5. Can you survive on this amount?

  • http://twitter.com/really_hadit Really Hadit

    With all of the doubt about Google and Android devices ie Linux and others, and Google stealing trade secrets etc sued by Paypal and 42 lawsuits against them, and the way THEY TRACK AND DISPLAY our PRIVATE home and information, I don’t trust Google any farther than I could throw them, to me they are shady, and I want nothing to do with them after our home being displayed and we were in a privacy, guarded move and location for security concerns, our property was injured and  my life because of what one of our children did years ago that they paid their time for, and became upright productive adults for one brief run on sentence and reason. After 3 times having them tell us they would remove our home address, site, and view it’s still on there and now we are seeking legal help.

  • Ash180ls

    Its because it is easier to buy ios apps then android apps

  • Nobody Important

    Your initial data is flawed.  Go to the Market >> Apps >> All applications >> Top paid You will find that the top 10 all have 50,000 + downloads with some over 250,000.  I stopped looking after 10 so I don’t know how many more there are. 

  • Jonswaino

    Don’t forget the iPhone app market place is more mature than the aNdroid market place. In addition, even though android mobile handsets are growing, you can’t forget the fact that many people own an iPod touch which also runs apps.

  • Anonymous

    There are better alternatives. GIveMeApps doesn’t charge developer fees, and gives developers 100% of their profits. They also help market your app with reviews, have customizable store fronts with social media tools and blog/news feeds to help you do business, all with an active forum to boot. Check them out. GiveMeApps.

  • Jeff Range

    After reading, the truth is Android apps are not making money.  The promise of a new business model does not exist with Android.  The owners of the phone won’t spend 99 cents on an app.  How can anybody build a business on that. As a developer I look at Android as nothing more  than a hobby. While I put my real effort in IOS.  I don’t even own an Iphone. But it is a better platform to build a business on.  Open source model never stops to amaze me.

  • Jin L
  • yup

    The reason there is more use of paid apps on apple is because apple charges for everything. The fact of the matter is that android is an open source, even I with no programming experience can create an app in no time. Apple is different and takes a stronger developing skills which means bigger price tag. There is no way to compare because android developers make their money from adds and donations, its two completely different kind of customer basis. Apple customers are brainwashed and will buy anything with an I in front of it and all the things that come with it, however android customers tend to be the people that don’t want to have to pay a lot of money for apps and that’s why they get that kind of phone. LONG STORY SHORT JIM, sorry about the late reply but android and ios are very different… Remember when blackberrys were popular? Wonder how much the fever made on that market, or even the windows marketplace….. Your point is invalid… Just thought you would like to know.