Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Android Users Like Apps, But Don’t Like Paying For Them

Another volley in the app wars: A new study that says Google’s Android App Market is stuffed full of free apps, but has very few people will pay for.

There are 72,000 paid apps in Google’s store, compared to Apple’s 211,000. But more important is the number of apps the stores are actually selling, and that’s where analytics firm Distimo weighs in. It says that when it comes to big hits, Google’s store is much further behind.

The most telling data point: Distimo says only two paid apps have been downloaded more than 500,000 times worldwide since Google’s market opened in early 2009. But it says six paid apps in Apple iPhone’s app store did similar volume in March and April–in the U.S. alone.

As’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt notes, this report is from the same people who riled Apple fans last month with a study that said Android was set to catch Apple in the sheer number of apps available. So perhaps next month they’ll come out with a study that makes Android boosters happy again.

But Distimo’s newest report does seem to sync up with comments we’ve heard from developers in the past: They’re interested in distributing their stuff via Android, but they’re not sure they’ll be able to sell it there.

Here’s the way chief Bob Bowman put it in an April interview: “The Android user typically is less likely to buy, and therefore the ROI on developing for Android is different than it is for Apple….The iPhone and iPad user is interested in buying content-–that’s one of the reasons they bought the device. The Android buyer is different.”

[Image credit: drinksmachine]

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik