According to a report from app watchers Distimo, Android developers are struggling to convert their apps into serious revenue raisers, compared to those creating software for iOS. With Android overtaking Apple in terms of handsets, you have to ask yourself, "why is that?"
Fortunately, the report explains the discrepancy. Among its major findings:
The refresh rate of top application charts is significantly higher in the Apple App Store for iPhone than in the Google Andoid Market. During the month of April, there were 94 distinct applications with a top 10 (free or paid) position in the Apple App Store for iPhone in the US; there were only 26 distinct applications that reached a top 10 position in the Google Android Market.
It is more challenging for developers in the Google Android Market than in the Apple App Store to monetize using a one-off fee monetization model. We found that only two paid applications have been downloaded more than half a million times in the Google Android Market worldwide to date, while six paid applications in the Apple App Store for iPhone generate the same number of downloads within a two month timeframe in the United States alone.
This is a indicative of a fairly major problem with Android - the Marketplace. While there are plenty of ways to discover new apps on iOS, the Android marketplace seems to be filled with crappy soundboards and wallpaper widgets, regardless of your search query. If that isn't bad enough for the consumer, it's also problematic for developers hoping to cut their teeth in the potential of the Android marketplace.
Considering that the Distimo report claims that 79.3% of paid apps have been downloaded less than 100 times, it's a positively disastrous place for the Google operating system to be in.Google hopes that the introduction of in-app purchases could help turn things around, but ultimately what is needed is a far better Marketplace. The launch of an browser version helps, but it is only the first step. Android needs a faster, bigger and more robust app discovery mechanism if it is going to entice developers to create great applications for the platform.