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Android app revenue one quarter of iOS for developers: Flurry

Even though Android has huge volume momentum right now, and has reached over 10 billion downloads in its Marketplace, app developers are still struggling to make money.

According to Flurry Analytics, which tracks nearly 50,000 iOS and Android apps from around the world, developer interest in Android has decreased by a third since the beginning of 2011. At the same time, iOS developers make nearly four times the revenue of Android devs, which does not bode well for the financial viability of the platform.

A few things can be attributed to this phenomenon. Despite the fact that Android has a larger overall install base around the world (though not yet in Canada) users are not required to enter payment information when they sign up for Google Checkout. That means that users can get away with downloading free apps for the most part without ever giving a cent to Google or to app creators.

Google is trying to improve this by offering 10c apps for 10 days over the holidays, which will force users who want to pay for these premium apps to enter credit card numbers. The results also don’t take into account revenue made through advertising which some companies, including Angry Birds’ Rovio, attest to being in the millions of dollars.

Ultimately it comes down to virality: developers enjoy creating apps for iOS because it has a proven track record of people willing to pay for apps. As more companies enter the mobile apps and games market, they will tend to stick with what works, and Apple has created a viable and profitable ecosystem. Google’s Android platform encourages lower-cost devices, often to younger people who do not have the means, or are not old enough, to pay for apps.

Eric Schmidt has now famously stated that in six months app developers will be looking to Android first, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will be making more money from it. Google needs to change the way mobile companies think about Android, and until then the above chart probably won’t fluctuate all that much.

Source: Flurry

  • Jesse

    And this is why iOS apps are ported.

    • Gerhardt

      This is what fart apps will do, create billions of downloads and a solid platform (iOS)

      hail fart apps!

  • Sean

    “The results also don’t take into account revenue made through advertising”

    Considering the dominant model of the Android Market seems to be Free + Ads (with sometimes a paid ad-free version), that seems like a pretty major flaw.

  • mark

    I don’t buy stupid game apps usually, I only buy systems apps like Rom Manager or PowerAmp. The devs who create useless apps can stay on the Ios if they want to make cash, I don’t care.

  • Mike

    Ya does iOS have a full app-supported version of Angry Birds for free? Last time I downloaded the free version on my old iPhone it was only a demo :/

    Anyways, I’ve spent about 100X more on Android apps than I ever did on iOS!

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  • Mathieu

    These numbers are ridiculous.
    All they are showing is that more iOS developers use Fkurry than Android developers.
    Most Android developers use Google Analytics (&AdMob) over Flurry.

  • Ted

    doesn’t that tell you something, must people don’t want to buy apps, people like free apps plain and simple.

  • Ted

    doesn’t that tell you something, must people don’t want to buy apps, people like free apps plain and simple. think about it. people like getting free phones under contract so why would they bother buying apps. if people are cheap and want free phones then their also going to be cheap with apps that they want also free

    • Allan

      Ted, of course users want free apps. However, app developers need to make money also, and they will choose to create apps for the platform that can make them the most money.

  • Strowg9

    This is a prime example of why you should never listen to statistics in the media. The sample selection here is terribly biased, and therefore the conclusions are skewed and incorrect.

    I don’t own either an iPhone or an Android phone (until next month), but from what I can gather Apple still does have an edge as far as the quality of apps, due to the simplified ecosystem (i.e. limited devices with predictable resolutions).

    I think ICS will begin to change this–people are finally adopting high end android phones in huge numbers (seen in stats such as Samsung’s record breaking 300 mil shipment). The high-end market is where the paid-app revenue resides, so I think as this shifts so will dev’s attention and optimization efforts.

    • Ian

      “people are finally adopting high end android phones in huge numbers (seen in stats such as Samsung’s record breaking 300 mil shipment)”

      300 million includes everything from the free, low-end Samsung phones to the S2. I’d wager that most of that number would be low to mid range phones.

  • MapleHamwich

    A simple error that vastly skews the data and is underrepresented in this article and apparently the research. The Android environment relies heavily on ads, which I am assuming are the main motivator for revenue. To exclude that is to exclude trendy-ness from Apple. It’s leaving out a major part of the equation.

  • D!

    There is a huge problem with this report which is that it only tracks apps that USE Flurry’s analytical tools. Without knowledge of what proportion of apps on each OS uses flurry, the only thing that can determined from this data is that more iOS apps use flurry analytics than android apps.

  • Nasdel

    Do these numbers take into account ad revenue? Revenue from other app stores (amazon)? Doubt it.

    • Zomby

      No it doesn’t, it’s even stated in the article.

  • Nick

    “developer interest in Android has decreased by a third”??? Really? Even as the number of apps downloaded grows exponentially?

    I enjoy reading MobileSyrup. I really do. But please stop posting articles based on half-baked studies or predictions. Flurry has zero credibility because (a) nobody’s ever heard of them and (b) 50,000 apps total really isn’t that much. It all depends which ones.

  • Nelson

    This is pretty much flawed.
    1. Paid apps on iOS (the ones that works) are of high quality while many apps on android only seems ported, laggy, buggy.
    2. Many free apps on Android equal paid one.
    Why one would pay for something that can be free if it take another app that do the samething?
    3. Perhaps forced credit card info on iOS helps for theses crappy app that are only unusefull and you regret it right after entering your password
    while Android has the 15min reimbursment thing.

    So if you make something usefull, of high quality with no free equivalent apps, it will work on both platform.
    Ex: Games

  • Slype

    hahah.. okay that was funny.. now let’s compare who makes more revenue based on ads… ooooh look! Apple is making 1/2 of what Android developers are… they are doomed. Okay, give me a beer now and we can brainstorm some other stupid ideas. What a great study Flurry!

  • Jon_d0e

    For little $10 a year you can download ANY apps you want. Check out appbucket.net
    I also convinced all my friends to stop using android and use appbucket. Amazing value for what you pay. So this article is inaccurate, people are paying for android apps, not everyone uses android market.

  • A_T

    This is only because Android is open sourced (not that I’m complaining). Without hacking in any form Android users can download apps online for free and use them, I personally don’t use the market at all (just being honest), so this is probably the biggest reason.

  • Astralmind

    Why even bother bringing up that news ? As many have already pointed out, it’s flawed… extremely flawed.

    Sad when you think how easy it is to manipulate the mass into believing something blindly.

  • Matt

    People have already pointed out many of the flaws with this study. My reason for not buying anything of Android is simple, no credit card. Pretty sure you can just use itunes cards for ios. If they allowed paypal or bank transfers, I have a list of apps I want to buy.

    • mimi

      I have several credit cards (and a good credit history) but I don’t want to give my credit card or other financial information to Google.

      If Google had Android Market cards available that you could purchase from retailers, akin to the cards from iTunes, Zinga, Facebook games, etc. I would happily buy some applications. Until then, I will stick with my free apps.

  • timlinson

    what about rim?

  • Zomby

    I buy most of the apps and games I use and find worthy of it. Bring on the Android gift cards (like iTunes) and my 8-yrs-old will start buying games too. There’s no way I’m linking my credit card to my kid’s account.

  • Pradeep Chandra

    Revenue report is based only on in app purchases and not the sale of app itself

  • stalemate

    How the heck can Android have 52% (and growing) of the worldwide market, compared to Apple’s 15% (down from last quarter, and only 4 points in front of RIM), and this article’s results also be true? These stats come from Gartner, Q3 smartphone sales.

    Developers are “struggling to make money” if they develop for a potential half of all smartphone users while iOS coders are raking in 4 times as much by creating apps for a potential market 3 times as small. So… Do I need to retake math class, or is this *cough* marketing *cough) article flawed beyond belief?

  • jane

    Of course iOS developers make more because you have to PAY for most of apple’s apps, while most of Android apps are FREE.

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