Image by laurence.thurion via Flickr
Regular readers will know that while I am full of admiration for the way Apple have taken market share in the smart phone market and created a vibrant ecosystem of third party developers around the iPhone I wish they would treat those developers better and generally put the consumer first when deciding which apps to approve. (On which topic, kudos to them for approving Spotify.) As a result I have been watching the development of other app stores and hoping that one of these will soon provide some competition.
Larva Labs makes mobile games on the Android and iPhone platforms, amongst others, and they have written up their experiences with the Android App store. In summary, as a market place for games sales Android has yet to really get started. Sure there are lots of Android phones out there but all the evidence suggests that they are not buying games in anything like the volume they are on the app store. Read the post for the full analysis, but in summary their credible looking numbers suggest that total Android app sales are sub $5m a month, which compares with latest estimates of over $200m per month on the Apple App store.
Larva Labs argue that the reason for the poor performance on the Android Marketplace is that it has been poorly designed:
- no screenshots
- 325 character description maximum
- checkout process not slick enough
- it is hard to find paid apps
- problems with failed downloads, stalled downloads and credit card verification delays
This doesn’t bode well for anyone hoping they will soon have a credible alternative to the iPhone.