Google recently announced on their blog how they intend to promote Apps for the Android operating system. The "store" will be referred to as the "Android Market" which will be more of a repository, or archive, of applications available for the platform. They did not spell out how commerce will be accomplished--just that free apps (and maybe free demos?) will expect support for now, with more decisions to be made later. This news is welcomed by developers who are frustrated with the semi-closed nature of the AppStore, but does pose some critical issues in its deployment. In this post, I will compare and contrast some of the positives and negatives of the Android Market (as it has been announced), the AppStore, and the current existing smartphone application distribution system.
The Chicago Tribune ran a story this week about local Chicago developers who are selling iPhone apps. Notable were Scott Corley of Red Mercury, who has a highly rated solitaire application, AcidSolitaire Collection, and Jim Brady, of Earthcomber, who will be coming out with a native app soon. Both Scott and Jim are a part of a local group of Chicago mobile (recently expanded from just Palm OS) developers who gather for food, drink, and conversation on a regular basis.
Price selection can be the most difficult and elusive part of marketing. How do you know if your selection is right? What happens if it is too low? What happens if it is too high? What if you need to change it? Is it possible to market to all types of customers—those who want cheap, those who will pay more, or those who won't buy if the price is too low? Sometimes pricing feels like a shot in the dark, but it really doesn't have to be that way. This post will explore different ways of pricing software applications, how to modify them if needed, and approaches for setting pricing tiers to ideally attract as many customers as possible.
This past week we finally experienced the opening of the much touted Apple AppStore for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch. The AppStore does a lot of things right that developers have been clamoring for: it puts software right in front of every iPhone consumer, it makes it super easy to purchase and install apps, and it makes the whole process accessible for the majority of developers (no more carrier intervention, for example). However, the AppStore is like any piece of 1.0 software—it has it's 'bugs' and exploitations that can only be discovered by massive usage and adoption. This post will note a few areas of needed improvement.
Windows Mobile 6.0 comes up highest in native mobile operating systems, according to a recent Evans Data survey reported at InfoWorld. A worldwide survey of 384 developers was conducted worldwide in May and June. Since the results add up to > 100%, respondents were able to select more than one answer.
The mobile software space is getting rather crowded. In the not-so-distant past, a mobile developer's choice was limited to two or three popular native operating systems: Palm OS, Windows Mobile (two flavors), or Symbian. Other platforms were less known or were perceived to not provide for much profit. For a microISV, either the barriers to entry (such as steep signing fees) were too great, or the platform was not popular enough to generate adequate third-party software sales.