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Android Dev: No Money To Be Made In Android Market

Larva Labs recently released its sales figures for Google's Android Market. The results are less than encouraging. For the month of August, Larva averaged sales of just $62.39 per day -- and it has four apps for sale. Um, what's going on here?
Larva Labs recently released its sales figures for Google's Android Market. The results are less than encouraging. For the month of August, Larva averaged sales of just $62.39 per day -- and it has four apps for sale. Um, what's going on here?Apple's Apps Store has certainly had its fair share of negative press -- especially concerning the inexplicable review process. We haven't heard too many specifics about the Android Market, Google's version of an apps store for the Android platform. Larva decided to share its sales figures and shed some light on what's going on over there. Turns out, not a whole lot.

Larva, which makes applications for the Sidekick, iPhone, and Android, has seen a decent amount of success in the iPhone Apps Store, while it is barely making chump change in the Android Market.

Larva's Matt Hall explains, "Our two best selling games have been ranked and are currently ranked pretty highly on that hard to find list of paid apps. RetroDefense was #1 for a while and is currently around #12 with a perfect 5 star rating. Battle for Mars is currently #5 overall with a 4.5 star rating. Both of these games are selling for $4.99, which is on the upper end of the price range. Finally, both of these games have been featured by Google in the market app and on the Android website." Despite these rankings, Larva made a paltry $62.39 per day throughout the month of August.

Hall cites a number of reasons for the Android Market's inability to help developers sell apps:

  • No screenshots (Totally insane. No idea why.)
  • 325 character application description maximum
  • Google checkout only way to buy
  • Hard to find paid apps
  • Various intermittent problems like failed or stalled downloads, credit card verification delays that look like stalled downloads, and other problems.
Sounds like Google has some work to do if it wants to keep developers for the Android platform happy and in business. There's been talk of a refresh for the Android Market, but Google hasn't admitted to anything yet.

Despite these issues, Hall still has hopes for the Android Market. "I should add that even though these numbers are pretty disappointing and currently don't represent a viable business, we're still excited about Android in the medium to long term. There's been some talk from Google of improvements to the market, including more payment options, so that will definitely help."

Let's hope that Larva's story isn't a typical one for Android developers.