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Thread: Informationweek: Droid devs unhappy

  1. Master Droid
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    #1

    Informationweek: Droid devs unhappy

    Survey: Android Developers Unhappy

    Some Android developers are frustrated with low application download volumes, poor marketplace design, and problems with Google Checkout.

    By W. David Gardner
    InformationWeek
    November 30, 2009 04:48 PM

    Android devices have quickly been embraced by hundreds of thousands of smartphone users, but Google's answer to Apple's iPhone is decidedly not getting the same reaction from application developers, according to a survey of a group of 30 influential application developers.

    Skyhook Wireless, whose location technology is used by developers to provide pinpoint navigation in their applications, found a general dissatisfaction with the Android platform.
    "We began hearing anecdotally of developers having problems," said Kate Imbach, Skyhook's marketing VP, in an interview Monday. "They were complaining that their apps were getting buried. Now many are pausing their Android work and going back to work on the iPhone." Skyhook polled developers on their experience with the Android platform. The firm found that developers are frustrated with low download volumes, poor marketplace design, and concern over consumers' difficulties in using Google Checkout to purchase apps. A full 57% of the developers were unhappy with their Android apps profits, with just 4% saying they were "very satisfied" with their profits.

    Asked whether the design of the Android Marketplace was helpful, 82% said the design makes it difficult for their apps to be noticed. In addition, download volume has been low, with less than 10% of the developers reporting more than 10,000 downloads of an individual application.

    The survey also found developers anxious about their future with Android phones because with a growing proliferation of new Android phones hitting the market, they worry they'll be spread too thin trying to address each phone.

    Many developers compared their experience with the iPhone. For instance, Imbach noted that the iPhone has a uniform and coherent design with one screen size versus many for Android devices. One of the biggest problems with Android in the eyes of developers is its lack of an effective consumer billing system.

    "Google Checkout isn't widely used," said Imbach. "Operator billing, for instance, would help." She compared Google Checkout with the iPhone's iTunes billing, which is "intuitive" for many users.

    Developers have begun to express their complaints. "Rather than creating opportunity, (Android's) platform divergence has just created further problems," said James Grafton, developer of Andoid apps including Pic Swap and Get Me Home. "We simply can't afford to test across all Android phones."

    Larva Labs, a developer of mobile entertainment apps, recently noted that Android apps have experienced anemic sales compared with the iPhone.

    Skyhook is committed to offering its technology to Android developers and Imbach has high praise for the Google phone. The location company's technology is already included in some 25 Android apps, but that's a far cry from the more than 2,500 iPhone apps that utilize Skyhook's GPS cell phone tower/Wi-Fi triangulation location technology.
    "This report," says Imbach of the developers' survey, "shows that although Android developers are excited about the future of Android, the platform may face significant challenges if it does not soon improve monetization options and take steps to protect against the risk of fragmentation."

    OG Droid->Incredible->Droid X->Incredible->Incredible 2->Incredible->Samsung Charge->HTC Rezound
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  3. Droid Ninja
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    #2
    the marketplace needs more granularity and a better search engine. when searching for applications like OpenHome or Panda, they get buried by their own theme support. not only that, but the categorization seems too complex. most of my apps were found via word of mouth and the rest were found by clicking on "more applications" from other applications.
  4. Master Droid
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    #3
    I hope Google is taking notice. We need the developers.
  5. Master Droid
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    #4
    This is the reason why people should not worry about future Android OS updates. In order to profit, developers need something steady to work with. They should stop worrying about what works on what and develop strictly for the OS.

    Do you hear developers complaining about the programming of the variety of laptops and PC's? That is one part that does not make sense to me. As long as Android stays steady, it won't be an issue.

    One thing is true...there is no way for any apps to be recognized. They do get buried and then others try to put out mini updates just so they bump their app.

    On another note, I think developers should be concerned with actually the quality of product they are releasing. If they release a quality product (think Touchdown), it serves a real need and people will cough up the cash for it. On the other hand if developers put up average quality programs, there are plenty of developers putting out free programs that do the same thing.

    The potential is clear..when every carrier is beginning to support Android devices the amount of profit to be made can exponentially grow. Developers may be annoyed but will not abandon ship because they realize the strength in numbers.

    (Which is why "the" Droid owners should not be concerned. Due to Verizon's sheep like push on the device, they will always be either #1 or close to it with consumer potential until 4G and LTE devices are released at the end of 2010 and 2011.)
    Last edited by LordKastle; 12-15-2009 at 10:07 AM.
  6. Droid Ninja
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    #5
    The major issue is the market. Imagine being the developer of open home. Someone wants to buy your app, and they search for open home and all that comes up is people charging, to make money off of your app with their theme. Your app isn't the first one showing. or even the 50th.

    The market needs a major update.
  7. Master Droid
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    #6
    Interesting article. Seeing how it is dated on November 30th one would assume that the information gathered for it was weeks before it was written and at that point Droid sales would be increasing after the data was gathered. It sounds like the App store is not designed well from the Developers point of view yet nothing stated on how the developers would like to see better. The information on the different sizes and makes of the android devices is a good point though. I can see why the developers would be anxious with having different phones to code for.

    Having only owned the Droid, I always just assumed that the Google checkout would be the main billing system for Android Apps. What are some other ways of billing?
  8. Master Droid
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    #7
    I agree, the Market is weak and it's difficult to find things. When you search on something--and not the actual application title--you have a tough time finding what you want. Interesting since Google was a search company first. You'd think the search would be the strongest point rather than being so weak (in the Market anyway).

    And many devs are just whining because they're used to huge numbers of downloads on their iPhone apps. Keep in mind, the iPhone's been out much longer so they have a lot more users. Also, Apple is good at marketing particular apps which drives traffic to other apps. Google hasn't done any of this. It's something which would certainly help out. The question is, who does that? Google, the hardware manufacturers or the carriers?
  9. Master Droid
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    #8
    Yeah lets be honest for a second...if it wasn't for Verizon's push, Android OS would still be in the dark ages in the minds of the average consumer. You can't depend on T-Mobile for potential customers.

    The real Android OS push just began last month...I consider everything previous more Beta [testing] than anything. Hell when I saw T-Mobile's Android devices originally, I could really have cared less.

    We will see how reliably consumers put up money for applications as the months progress.
  10. Junior Droid
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    #9
    I do find the market annoying. Its just weird to navigate for some reason. I think they need to somehow further divide the apps, like not only by free and paid but also like legit programming companies and retitled stuff.

    There just needs to be a better way to sift through all or them.

    I still can't figure out where you check for updates for your apps. They should maybe even have an update section of sorts.

    This is all probably harder than it seems to me....
  11. Droid Ninja
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by droidhero View Post
    I still can't figure out where you check for updates for your apps. They should maybe even have an update section of sorts.

    This is all probably harder than it seems to me....
    market - menu - downloads.

    easy.
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