Android Resolutions

There's a fallacy about Android users: We're cheapskates. We refuse to purchase applications. Or, at least, we don't purchase apps as frequently as users of other platforms. On one hand, so what? There are countless bad-ass Android apps that don't cost a dime. What's wrong with that?

On the other hand, none of us would be here if it weren't for developers and content creators. And we should all want to support them. And so ...

Resolve to spend more in the Android Market

Actually, let's start with apps, but we need to remember to think beyond them.

When it comes to Android applications, there are myriad options. Consider the following:

  • You've got your free apps.
  • Your free apps with ads.
  • Your "lite" apps.
  • Your paid apps without advertising.
  • The odd paid app with advertising.
  • And our favorite, the "donate" version, which might have the same functionality as the free version.

It's that last bullet point that probably deserves more attention. If presented with two apps that do the same thing, only one is free and the other costs, say, 99 cents as a "donation," ask yourself which you'd be more likely to download. Now ask yourself why? If it's an app you use and like, why not give back to the developer?

That said, we'll be the first (well, we'll hardly be the first) to mention that the Android Market's making things a little more difficult by allowing only a 15-minute refund window if you purchase an app and discover it sucks. That makes pulling the trigger a little more difficult. But not all app purchases need that sort of trial period. Point is, if you're presented with a choice, spare a buck when you can.

And then there are the newer fares in the Android Market -- movies and music. Don't forget about them. The movies section still leaves a lot to be desired. Or maybe it doesn't. That can be a bit subjective. Same goes for purchasing music from Google. Some days it's great. Other days I go running back to another music store. But the only way either one is going to get better is for us to keep using it, to keep purchasing.

It's a bit of a Catch-22, I know. If there's nothing good in the Market, you won't spend money there. And if nobody's spending money, you'll not seen newer, better content added. So think about that when you're deciding whether to go with a free or donation version of an app. Or if you're going to torrent a movie or album (you naughty thing, you) instead of spending a couple bucks. In the end, shelling out makes for a better ecosystem.


Reader comments

Android Resolutions: Resolve to spend more in the Android Market


Ever since getting my Galaxy Nexus, I've definitely spent about $40 in the Market on various apps (I could actually fit them on the phone, which was an issue on my Evo 4G). It also helps that excellent apps like Dead Space & GTA 3 came along. Hopefully that trend continues.

I think that trend will definitely continue. And we'll also start seeing a lot of iOS apps being ported to Android. 2011 was a big year for that, 2012 should be bigger. There's no denying that Android is a profitable platform to develop for.

Only the douche that develops Instapaper or whatever the hell it is thinks otherwise.

Yea, Marco or whatever his name is. Whatever, I'm more than content with ReadItLater. And I'm sure they don't mind being the only game in town. I actually got two of my buddies to convert from being iSheep. For the most part, they're more than content with the app selection. Their only complaints center around high-end games, which again seems to be have taken a positive swing in the last two months of 2011. Gotta assume 2012 is gonna be a huge year on this side.

What is so bad about the Google Music store that you go running back to another service? Do you mean Warner Music not being in there?

I understand that a lot of folks are on a tight budget these days, and spenind 99cents pr 4 bucks seems like a big deal.

But seriously, it amazes me how many people will pay 30 to 70 bucks for a phone bill after spending anywhere from 200 to 500 for the device, and several hundred for a tablet, and then balk at a couple bucks for an app.

The short evaluation window does not help developers IMHO. Getting stuck with a crap-app, especially when it is new (few reviews) is the only impediment to paid apps in my mind.

I prefer to pay for them rather than see the ads. I never tap the ads anyway, and they are disruptive. Paid app developers seem more responsive to bug reports.

I've found myself spending more recently on apps that i realize i used a bunch. I just woke up mid-december and started buying full versions and actually rating apps with feedback too. I really hope my measely dollar does help with the development so it will onky get better

I agree. I think I personally like the in app purchase of an ad free version. That way you can test the apps out, and if you like it, support the app makers and get rid of the ads.

Hi Phil, firstly I think this is a really excellent post and will make people consider something they haven't previously thought about. I completely agree, and think supporting the developers behind a platform is a crucial step in terms of the future of a platform.

One issue I have with the Android Market which I don't think is documented very much are hidden transaction charges. I live in the UK and am a (poor) student. For obvious reasons, I do not therefore have a credit card or a visa etc, instead I use cash / debit card systems as most people my age do such as Visa Electron's or even Paypal for many things online.

The Android Market is different from most online shops in that it charges the customer in the native currency of that product, so if I buy an app from a developer registered in the UK, I get charged in GBP - simple. However, a huge number of apps come from else where, be it the USA, elsewhere in Europe or even further afield like China or Japan. When this happens, I am charged in USD for example, and not only do I then get a weird exchange rate, but also my bank (and most others in the UK anyway for debit cards) charge me an additional foreign currency on what it thinks is a foreign transaction. This is usually 10% of the total value, plus £1.50 GBP.

As a result of this, many many apps I intent to purchase or end up purchasing, cost me a ridiculous amount more. For example, the recent 10 cent (or 10p GBP over here) sale - I purchased two apps on the first day, so that makes £0.20 + £1.50 + £1.50 = £3.20 for two apps which were meant to cost me 20 pence. And from then on, it really really put me off buying any of the apps.

I completely agree with you in saying that its key we all support the platform by buying apps. But for me, the added expense makes this a lot more difficult and this is quite a common problem if you look online. I know my friends for example also on Android, hesitate before buying apps like me because of this hidden charge.

I don't know on which end the solution lies. The banks are profiteering, but I guess because I am being charged in a foreign currency, technically it is a foreign transaction. Google (IMO) should do what Apple have done with the iTunes store, where you are always charged in the local currency. You might also say why not use the Amazon App Store .. and I would, if it were available in the UK :(

I must say though that I've been an avid android supporter for about 2 and 1/2 years now, and at first things picked up slowly. But I would say that in the past 4 / 5 months the Android Market has improved dramatically and all the big developers and games from iOS are finally appearing. There is still more rubbish that I would like, but its getting much better. I just wish this little (but incredibly frustrating) issue would be solved so I would spend more. Because like you, I really do believe supporting the developers will help android develop further.


I am a former app pirate. I did it, just because I could. It was just too easy. After getting the Nexus, I changed my ways. I am now buying all apps. I even went back and purchased the ones I had pirated. I do still back up the apk's though. You never know when the app will no longer be there to redownload. Two examples: EasyTether Pro, and The Cellphone Junkie. I did not back up I can't get it. Their best answer, is to buy it again, from Amazon. Really? I only use the Android Market, and I ALREADY BOUGHT IT! The devs need to change a thing or two themselves.

i wish Google just give us access to the Paid apps sections here in Saudi Arabia , I'll be the first one to buy apps if that happens
I'm willing to spend money on Apps to support the developers & all

At first Amazon gave us hope when they went Internationally , The first time I used Amazon App store they gave the option to buy the apps , but my phone died before I buy anything , when I charged the phone & tried again, Amazom became a US only again :( , Whats pissing me off Is I've credit in Amazon Appstore

This is where Apple did it right , we had access to the paid section in iTunes since day one , as manner of fact I bought few apps for my iPod Touch

I don't mind paying for an app. I just don't have much need for many to begin with or the few I do use (ex. Netflix, NFL Sunday Ticket), I already pay for the service anyway. So the app better be free! Also, I like to use the K.I.S.S principle on not only my smartphone, but computers to minimize performance/security issues. There is something to be said too about app permissions, many of which send me packing anyway, free or not. Just my 2 cents.

I really like donation apps. Every free app that I use (mobile or desktop), that is really useful, I have donated towards. The better ones I have donated more than they have suggested.

I think the music and movie industry should have a some type of donation system put in place. They might recover at least some money from people who have downloaded or copied an album or movie and liked it enough to give something. Although the RIAA and MPAA would probably use donation info to sue those people.

Agreed 100%.
Now, when the he// are we going to be able to buy (not rent) movies in the market. And how about other videos? TV shows? I'm not averse to spending a couple bucks here and there, but there are some things I'd rather buy than rent.

Exactly what I think, once I can buy (not rent) films (and music for that matter since I'm in the UK) I'll start buying it. I understand that this is just an experiment for now, but it's going to fail if they are providing rentals when most people want to own these films. If you just make it easy and accessible people will give you money, and the market is perfect for this. A good example of this is steam, since I have spent far, far too much there because they make it really easy to buy games. And while they have disadvantages compared to physical copies (no resale, can't lend them, nothing to put on your shelf :p) the advantages trump them for me (I no longer have to worry about losing them, I can get access to them anywhere I go).

I just want to be able to build a library of digital media that I can download to my devices on demand and I do not have to worry about losing. And while google is close to offering this to me, it is still not there until I can buy movies rather than rent them.

I used to ONLY use free apps, but I felt guilty when using my favourite apps like ROM manager...I mean, I'm a flash addict so I'm always trying a new ROM and I just used the free version until I got paid and since then I've repeated that same pattern lately. I gotta agree the games and such with adds are a much better way to try out an app, if I really like it, I'ma ditch those annoying sob's...but if not I still ACTUALLY tried out the game etc...when now it's only 15 mins, but I start trying to return it at 10 mins just in case there's a connection issue or something ya know so at most I try out their app for 10 mins...doesn't give them much time to make an impression eh? Boo to 15 mins return window, but ty GOOGLE for EVERYTHING else...pst, where's the ICS ROM for the t/bolt? I saw it advertised but the dl link isn't working anyone have one??

I buy apps, probably a few a month, a lot of them are games
or donate / non lite versions of apps I use all of the time
like rom manager, titanium backup, xda and now rootzwiki.
But I know plenty of average users who never spend a dime on Android apps for their phones they only go for the free ones, they don't even have a
payment method setup for google, the android's market biggest strength cheaper apps and more free apps than on IOS or WP7 winds up being it's biggest downfall for android app developers.
But I try to do my part, as it's the wide range of apps and the freedom of the Android app market that makes android great.

"But the only way either one is going to get better is for us to keep using it, to keep purchasing."

I have to disagree with this part. If things don't sell, the price goes down until they start selling (i.e. failed tablets). I say let the consumer make their choice with their wallets and show Google that the movies are still too expensive, that we can't go all-in until the remaining music label is on-board, and that Google Books is still annoying as hell when it's forced upon all devices.

Spend more? I already spend around €40 a month on applications. I also contact devs with bugs and I leave reviews. I think I do my part :)

Since I got my Android handset (Feb. 2011) I'm sure that I have spent several hundred dollars in the Market. Anytime I come across a free app that I enjoy, I will buy the paid version if there is one. Since they launched Google Books, I have also bought A LOT of books to read on my phone and tablet.

I have spent well over 200$ in the Android market, like many users here if I like the free version I will donate or buy the paid version to get rid of the adds which are annoying. The people who only install free apps or download and install pirated versions need to understand something. These aren't big companies you're thumbing your nose at, these are the little guys. If you don't financially (and creatively-meaning constructive criticism) support Devs, they will leave the platform. apple Devs love ios because the sheeple will buy anything and the platform is easy to code for (only 1 phone and 1 tablet). Our devs have it harder...make it worth thier while.

Google needs to release android market gift cards now. Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, and even Apple have gift cards for people to buy things on their associated stores. Why is it taking so long for Google to release plastic cards to retail stores with numbers and letters on them that can only be redeemed on the android market.

These cards would serve as a nice advertisement of the android market to common users and allow them to make purchases without divulging personal information. Moreover, they would force purchases just by the psychological annoyance of having money on an account that has not been spent yet.

Watching the android market grow is very similar to how the apple app store started. When apps were first available for the iPhone no one wanted to pay from them. Everyone wanted a free app, even after paying hundreds of $'s for a phone. But slowly people came around and started paying for apps and then apps started getting better.

I have seen the same thing happen with the android market as it grows. Once people are willing to pay for something, you will get better apps and we are starting to see that. Hopefully the trend continues and the quantity of quality apps in the market will continue to improve.

It has happened before and it will happen again.

I had a "free software only" policy on my phone, meaning I could get the source and change and rebuild it for myself if I wanted. First thing I did after rooting was remove all the Sprint and Samsung bloatware.

Then Amazon had to come along with their free app of the day (all proprietary software, mostly games) and there went my resolve. But I still had no pay apps, didn't even have a payment method set up in Market.

Then 2D Boy had to go and release World of Goo for Android, and the demo worked great on my phone. So World of Goo ended up on my phone bill, and the dam was broken.


I just got a tablet yesterday, and while I'll still be rooting it and removing the unwanted bloatware, World of Goo is going on there too at the earliest opportunity. From there we'll see what happens.

I don't see myself buying any movies or TV shows, but I've already bought mp3s from the Amazon market. What's the difference? They're MP3s. Even the car stereo in my last car (model year 2000) would play them. As soon as movies, TV shows or books are available in an unencrypted, standard format I can use on my laptop as well as my tablet, I'll think about it. Till then, it would frankly be easier to pirate them, or just stick with DVD/Blu-ray and actual physical books.