Informationweek: Droid devs unhappy

Discussion in 'Android General Discussions' started by atomicwedgie, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. atomicwedgie
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    atomicwedgie New Member

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    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
    [​IMG]
    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."
  2. 640k
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    640k Active Member

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    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.
  3. lemodular
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    lemodular New Member

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    I hope Google is taking notice. We need the developers.
  4. LordKastle
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    LordKastle New Member

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    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: Dec 15, 2009
  5. Erron
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    Erron Developer Developer

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    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.
  6. Anomander
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    Anomander New Member

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    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?
  7. GadgetRick
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    GadgetRick Member

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    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?
  8. LordKastle
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    LordKastle New Member

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    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.
  9. droidhero
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    droidhero New Member

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    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....
  10. 640k
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    640k Active Member

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    market - menu - downloads.

    easy.
  11. atomicwedgie
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    atomicwedgie New Member

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    Google checkout is a big problem for me. I had an issue where I was charged twice and after a half hour of searching, there was no way to contact them directly. All I could do was check boxes on a form, not even explain the problem.
  12. Lafond
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    Lafond New Member

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    I hate scrolling through app lists and only seeing skins and soundboards. I would love for them to have a dedicated section for skins/themes so it's easier to find the actual programs necessary to run them.
  13. Batfan.com
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    Batfan.com New Member

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    I agree.

    The marketplace is full of alot of crap. It needs to be sorted much better. On that note, a 'sorting' feature would be great. I would love to be able to see the highest rated items first.
  14. droidhero
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    droidhero New Member

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    Thank you 640K!
  15. destrekor
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    destrekor New Member

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    Definitely agree. Plus, this is Google we are talking about. The only reason Android hasn't been referred to as being in "Beta" is because it would have no marketability as a Beta. But like I said, Google lives in Beta, and Android has been Beta for awhile. Android 2.0 was truly Android 0.92. Android 2.1 is shaping up to be possibly the most likely candidate for being a full quality release, and Google is constantly tweaking the experience on many fronts.

    They've been improving the Store over time, and they are always looking for the feedback across the internet to see what tweaks they should make next. That's the greatest aspect of Android and why I love owning my Droid. It's going to keep getting better and better in the coming months, let alone over the long haul.

    The Google Checkout issue mentioned in the first post... what? How is it anything other than simple and streamlined? I press buy, I enter credit card (for the first time), and then every purchase after that, it's buy, confirm, download. Stupid simple, imho.
  16. destrekor
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    destrekor New Member

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    Agreed.

    With enough focus, it isn't terribly difficult to find what you are looking for if it is something specific, at least with a little perseverance. If you are looking for something less specific, as in not one specific app, it gets quite a bit more challenging. And the market is just flooded with unimportant junk. Granted, this stuff has use for some people, but there needs to be better sorting. I shouldn't need to see Themes if looking for apps, and looking at the "highest rated" shouldn't be such a crapshoot.
  17. keiichi25
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    keiichi25 New Member

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    Yes, the market is definitely one of the weak spots for the Droid. I am sure, also, iPhone has also made improvements over their market due to having more experience with the issues of it with their i-products. Even Blackberry is currently suffering a problem, as I know they are just now instituting an App market type thing, but it is just rather small in comparison to third party groups with a little bit more.

    I think part of the issue with the Market right now, is also its attempt to round up all the other locations. The official website, if I recall correctly, for Android Market is something much more obscure, Android Market

    When you look at that site, it is worse than the market app and makes it hard to really locate various market items. The one on the app seems a bit more robust as far as looking up and finding things. Apple, from what I have been told, made efforts on both the Web and App side of it which is where a fair deal of people are well focused on.

    I do agree that Market needs to be updated for granularity sake, like some of the examples, I found more related to 'addons' versus the actual app I was looking for.
  18. VitsDroid
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    VitsDroid New Member

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    Needs Improvement for sure, I still use the Ipod Touch and like the Apple apps store way more. I do get aggravated by the search, I am looking for open home for instance and get all the dumb themes. There is a better way for sure. We have to remember though that this is a baby compared to apples app store, It will grow and get better! I love my Droid and really like Android, its more capable than the Iphone but its still a baby, it will grow and mature, it has potential to be the best, we just need to give it time.

    I guess google could set standards for screen size and resolution, and other aspects but then that would go against what they represent with Android. There are better ways! There are always better ways, and they will keep getting better, that's my point.
  19. Backnblack
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    Backnblack Premium Member Premium Member

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    Looks like a 3rd party is doing the searching in the market....

  20. Martin030908
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    Martin030908 DF Super Moderator

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    In agreement with the rest of you... the Market needs an overhaul... especially it's 'search' function. Too difficult to find certain apps... even when you know they're there.
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