How many apps have you bought?

Posted Apr 08, 2012 at 11:14 am in Threads > Apps & Games

As the title states, how many apps have you bought? I’m an aspiring mobile developer and plan to solely develop for Android. But one thing I hear from most developers is they tend to stay away from Android, most of them think it’s really hard to make a decent living off the Play Store. I’ve seen many articles with developers leaving Android, because they couldn’t keep up with all of the devices and OS versions. (Which was likely the devs fault.)

Personally, I’ve purchased well over 100 apps and only regret buying a few of them. Other than that, i’m more than glad to purchase a well developed game or app for $5-10.

What seems to be the sweet spot to get you to buy an app? I know I’m weary about purchasing a $17 app like TSF Shell, without being able to try it out for more than 15 minutes.

  • dcds

    1- I’m an author of a free app. Remove the “light” at the end of package and you get to see the paid:

    2- I made that tides app for myself initially, because there weren’t any others with minimal quality, and still I don’t think there is. Paid and free are all amateurish in look. Mine is from Android 1.5 days, hence part of the humble look, but I’m updating it to the new ICS UI with all the bells and whistles. But I’m not in a rush, but so far it’s great. I was once featured in a paper issue of the Nautica magazine, March/2010.

    3- But that alone tells how extremely limited my audience is, and why I even bothered to develop (I couldn’t find one myself). It’s a paid tides app, for a country that is not used to buy apps or anything digitally (piracy, costs, int. credit card affordance etc.) But the app is very successful with ratings and mostly downloads. Perhaps I set the price too low initially. Still, same thing happen in iOS: there are no really good apps for tides in my country. Granted, the appearance is better, but they are your reasonable .99 app, without more smart tide features like independent prediction and caching, reporting and navigation, unless you skyrocket in price for full suites with maps and gps following… but nothing 10 BRL ($5.50) and below. I don’t believe it would behave differently in iOS, except for me paying $99 yearly, buying a Mac etc. (I have a X201 Thinkpad).

    4- I don’t develop for a living. My earnings aren’t even related to that. i guess you could call me a hobbist.

    5- Android is not made of high-end devices only. That’s obvious but needs to be said. What I’ve found is that it’s not worth to support cheap devices. Those people seldom buy apps (sorry, guys). At least here. There’s a clear pattern about how many people download the free version and how many buy the paid with its much improved features.

    6- I suspect many people buy those cheap Androids without using 1% of its features. I mean, I’ve used personally the limited Galaxy 5/2.2. But it’s extremely good and fluid. It’s just that those people just don’t buy apps, for the reasons already stated above in (3). If Google did something like prepaid cards I think it would help boost app sales for those people.

    7- Those people don’t even comment my app. I’ve found that even in the free versions, only more tech-knowledgeable people, those that buy Galaxy S and SII, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Tabs, Defy, Milestone etc., are the ones that comment the app, saying all the great things I’ve read. I’m not saying that the high end is made of only geeks, please. Just like people who buy iPhones 4S aren’t just the tech geeks, of course.

    8- However, people in the mid range and high range buy apps. They are no different from the iOS counterparts with iPhones 3GS, 4 and 4S, in my limited experience.

    9- So, I can’t comment about how to reach volume and how to become a millionaire, since I’m a hobbist. I just had an idea and decided to share that implementation with others on the Market. For a price.

    10- My apps as customer:

    MC3 (promotion, I don’t play, go figure), Paper Camera (promotion), Osmos HD (Humble Pack), Sonic 4 EP1, Tapatalk, Reckless Getaway, Greedy Spiders (promotion), Samurai Vengeance (promotion), Beautiful Widgets, Cogs (great!), SoundHound (promotion), Asphalt 6, SwitchPro, Cut the Rope, Angry Birds Space, FieldRunners HD, Doodle Jump, Fruit Ninja, TuneInRadio, PowerAmp, Fruit Ninja Puss, Anomaly Warzone (Humble Pack), Toki Tori (Humble Pack), AirControl, TowerRaiders 2 Gold and probably a few others. I would guess the number would be a bit more than 30.

    Besides, i’ve bought NDrive USA. I ‘ve bought NDrive BR before, but these days here in Brazil I now use Google Nav because it’s much better anyway. I’ve spend more than 100 USD definitely (including donation to Humble Pack), but not in many apps.

    11- About commons apps, where you provide a common UI and reuse View elements from the Android SDK, I’ve never found a problem with fragmentation, it’s nonexistent to me and I believe it’s just people blaming the SDK for things they don’t know how to do (anti-patterns). About games, I can’t comment. About sensors, I can: it’s the only area where I found legitimate fragmentation complains. That’s because I’ve seen models with defective sensors (compass in Galaxy 5, for example, completely unusable), but AFAIK it only happens in low range devices, occasionally.

    - To sum up, I don’t think it’s different from any other Market: you need to get right 1) price, 2) audience, 3) market gap (or crush others with superior quality). Again, to not feel disappointed, I would consider my audience as being the high-end Android audience first as a safe bet. Don’t get into the 800 gazillion activation speech. The rest is up to you.

    My .02

    • B2L

      I could develop for iOS, but honestly I’m not all that interested. (Even though I have a Mac.) My personal goal is to develop some great apps that are exclusive for Android. I always see so many great looking apps that are originally released on iOS or iOS exclusives.

      My goal has been to aim for the high end audience, since like you said most of the low to mid range device users don’t buy apps. Most of my family is this way, they rarely ever use their devices besides the basics. (Hell, a few of my friends didn’t even know what the Android Market or Play Store was.)

      Thanks for the feedback.

  • ZzX44

    I’ve only bought one gaming app (it was 99c) that isn’t a promo or humble bundle or free on Amazon. Unless it is a great game that isn’t freemium for around 3-4 USD I probably wouldn’t consider playing it or buying it. I also wouldn’t consider paying 5USD for a gaming app just because I’m more of a traditional, non-mobile, gamer already and I find my gaming time better utilized by PC and PS3.

    I don’t really use too many productivity (non-gaming) apps outside of apps that connect me to different services (Ventriloid, OkCupid etc.) Google and manufacturers have pretty good default productivity apps to being with. Even Dolphin Browser HD is becoming more irrelevant with each passing day due to Chrome’s success and increasing integration and innovation.

    From a consumer (Traditional-ish gamer) standpoint, if I were a mobile game dev I’d try to keep a free version from being too great (Meridian Media Player Revolute is the perfect example imo). If you’re trying to pull in the core gamer avoid merging freemium and an initial purchase, probably avoid freemium all together imo. I say this because when people (especially gamers) buy a game they often expect everything to come with it barring big expansion packs and minor patch updates. People don’t want to have to buy the game and then coins to play it.

    If you go the freemium route avoid making time input too long as a significant amount of your audience might get bored and uninstall (Tiny Tower). If you do implement a time input instead of monetary, make it so the consumer has some fun while spending their time avoiding paying and set nice incentives along the way (Temple Run implements this perfectly with power-ups and costumes).

    In the case of Temple Run, casuals who want high-scores now will buy and people who really enjoy the game won’t feel pressured to buy, everybody wins. I feel the most important part is not pressing too hard on the consumer to buy if you go freemium. Just remember to be creative.

    For some ideas/inspiration/advice for gaming apps:

    Apps with great freemium implementation:
    Temple Run
    Cartoon Wars
    Draw Something

    Full-Purchase Apps that have a low buy-in with great support and value:
    Game Dev Studio (ironically enough)
    Edge EX
    They Need To Be Fed

    Great Free games:
    Pixel Rain

    Stuff to avoid:
    Tiny Tower
    Little Empire

    • B2L

      Great info, I never would’ve thought that Temple Run was a freemium game until you had said something. Although, I never plan to go the freemium route. I feel like it’s just unfair to the users who willingly pay to support the developers. I’d much rather make a $2-3 game, so people could use it on multiple devices and still play even when they upgrade to a new device.

  • pekosROB

    32 paid apps (after going through my account online)

    Most expensive: MLB At Bat 11

    Some of them were 10 cent promotions or 99 cents instead of a few bucks, but the majority of the apps are around 99 cents.

  • Sean Riley

    I’ve got right around 75 paid apps at the moment.

    I would stay at or below $5, if you look at the top Paid apps in the Play Store the only one near the top that crosses that threshold is MLB at Bat ’12.

    I just covered a story about a successful two person game development team with two (now unsupported) apps in the Play Store that go for $2.99 and 99 cents respectively. Now granted they had some carryover popularity from iOS, but it was hardly a household name and they managed to get between 50-100,000 downloads for each game in 6 months. They speculated about going the freemium route when I talked to them, but I think they had a pretty successful pricing model setup. I think to some degree it probably depends on the style of your game or app, some certainly lend themselves to freemium quite a bit better than others.

    Hopefully some other developers will chime in with some real world experience and advice.

    Best of luck with your apps.

  • Amromun

    Non :S Market doesn’t support the country that I live in :(

  • Bryan Stoner

    About 8-12+ Mostly during discounts.

    • B2L

      Google really needs to start doing some kind of discounted weekly apps section or some special weekly or monthly promotion. When Google has run the promotions in the past it’s made developers and customers quite happy. I for one was buying every single $0.10 app during the promotion, it even got quite a few of my friends to make their first purchase. Even if the developers were taking a hit from these promotions, I feel like it was a great form of marketing.

  • Wayne Roberts

    Yikes. Just checked and I have bought 174 apps in 23 months so roughly 2 a week.

  • lament

    Beautiful Widgets [use]
    Vignette [use]
    SwiftKey X [use]
    SetCPU [don't use]
    DeskSMS [use]
    WidgetLocker [don't use]
    Plex for Google TV [don't use - sold my GTV]
    ProCapture [don't use]
    Grand Theft Auto III [don't have a tablet yet]
    Volume+ (damn quiet G-Nex speaker!)
    iPhone notifications
    JuiceDefender Ultimate [don't use since it doesn't play nice with the G-Nex]
    Tether Premium [don't use]

    and a couple of 10 cent apps when Google had that sale..

    Color & Draw for Kids
    Camera Zooom FX
    ADW Launcher EX
    Minecraft (Pocket Edition)
    Great Little War Game
    Paper Camera
    Soundhound ∞
    Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD

  • Thade780

    61 apps between 10€ and 0.99€ myself and around 20 between 5€ and 0.99€ on my wife’s phone.
    We try to actively support developers we think deserve.

  • Mirco

    I’ve got around 45 paid apps at the moment.
    A lot of them are $1 apps, some are around $5 and just a few are over $6

  • ricky

    I just counted mine and I’ve bought 143.

  • KPeter0314

    After reviewing my account I have 18 paid apps and half of those were 10 cent apps from a sale they were having a while ago. The ones I tried and liked that I paid for are mostly simple base apps like ADW.launcher and JuiceDefender and a couple I use to review documents emailed to me for work. The 4 inch screen isn’t really useful for creating docs so I leave that for when I get back to my laptop.

    When it really comes down to it I have too many apps on my phone and they bog the thing down sometimes. Too many of them assume that because they are installed that they are allowed to fire up a couple times a day (or more often in many cases) and check their status or download ‘news’ or ‘updates’. e.g. Facebook, ESPN ScoreCenter, and whatever twitter feed you like. I don’t care what updates are happening and should be able to tell the app to leave it well alone unless I actually open it but noooooo…. they constantly show up as a running app. I have the Facebook app set to ‘never’ for updates and I kill it but I swear within five minutes it’s background service is back running again.

    It would be nice to have a way to mark them as inactive without uninstalling them but I am getting close to coming to that.

  • cadroidman

    I lost count. I firmly believe in purchasing apps to ensure you support the developers. I agree that under 5 is the best. However, an app like Touchdown that is so essential to me, is worth the one time charge of 20. That is the highest I have gone.