Newsletter Issue #594: The App Store Versus the Competition

April 18th, 2011

Put yourself in the shoes of a typical software developer who wants to make a living from the sale of apps for mobile gadgets. If it’s for a smartphone, that developer will need to decide which of the various online repositories to use, not to mention the platform that’s most appropriate to garner the highest number of actual sales.

For the iPhone, you have a choice of one. Sure, some people jailbreak their iPhones to be able to install apps and features that Apple won’t permit, but that’s a fairly small number of potential customers. The vast majority depend on the App Store for the stuff they want, so that’s probably the best place to go to make a living. However, you also have to compete with over 300,000 apps, with thousands more going up all the time. Do you even stand a chance finding a place in the sun?

So what about the Android OS? Isn’t that platform growing faster?

There’s where the rubber meets the road. Yes, it is clear that dozens and dozens of Android handsets, from several large smartphone makers, are moving at a pretty rapid clip. They cover a host of price ranges, so people who find the $199 or $299 subsidized price for an iPhone 4 a bit daunting — and don’t want to settle on the 2009 iPhone 3GS — have loads of affordable options. Some are even free, but don’t forget that two-year contractual obligation.

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