We stepped out of a killer panel Monday from MobileBeat 2010 titled "How to turn Android into a money machine," and the answer from the panel to that very question seems to be "all the little things." Is it as easy to make money on Android as it is on, say, the iPhone? The answer seems to be "no" at this point, but there's not a single killer reason that Google is lagging behind.
We are going to mash up a ton of smart insights from the panel in one big hodgepodge after the break, so check in for the collective insight from
- Peter Farago, VP Marketing, Flurry
- David Marcus, Founder & CEO, Zong
- Evan Neufeld, CMO, Groundtruth
- Darren Cross, Head of Business Development, Fandango & Movies.com
- David Jones, VP of Marketing, Shazam
- Moderator: Patrick Mork, CMO, GetJar
So why aren't we hearing more stories of careers made off the Android Market? Well, first thing's last: comparing it to the iPhone App Store puts it at a serious disadvantage. People tend to forget that Apple had years of infrastructure and consumer training built into iTunes via the iPod before the iPhone App store launched - so while Google may have a large and growing Android installed base, that doesn't necessarily mean that all those users are as likely to buy as iPhone users. Toss in that ad revenue isn't as high for Android apps as iPhone apps (about one-seventh or one-eighth), and, well ...
Then there's, of course, the issue of fragmentation -- excuse us, the "legacy" issue -- both across different devices with different capabilities and with different versions of the OS on said devices. The differences in capabilities can get even worse when you consider that pre-Froyo versions of Android can only install on-device instead of on storage, unless you root.
Discoverability: it's tough to find the good apps and Google doesn't seem to be making it any easier as of yet - sometimes "open" cuts both ways. Another thing that might be surprising: the 24-hour return policy can also be a real bummer for developers - with return rates as high as 40 percent in some cases.
Is there one cure-all? Probably not. It's going to me the culmination of a bunch of little fixes that take the Market to the next level. But getting this group together for a skull session is a good start, and we're likely to be doing plenty of talking about this in the coming months.