Android marketplace still largely bereft of activity

By September 1, 2009Apple, Google, Mobile
iPhone vs Smartphone

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.

So it was with some curiosity that I clicked through from Techmeme earlier today to read the piece from larvalabs on Android market sales.  The news was not good.

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.

Looking at it another way the well known game Trism has sold 500 copies on Android, grossing around $1k, which compares with $250k in two months on the iPhone.

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.

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