Android Market Flaws Causing Developer Exodus?


gameloft01Android Market is far from perfect, but perhaps the situation is worse than we thought. According to Reuters, Gameloft and other large companies developing games and apps for Android are pulling back support for the platform, noting a lack in ROI. They say that the iPhone distribution model provides MUCH better visibility, leading to sales, leading to revenue – something that has disappointed them with Android .

The article should serve as a strong warning shot for Google that, while they have a TON of irons in the fire, they need to make Android Market a priority because DEVELOPERS are much of what fuels the success of Android:

BARCELONA (Reuters) – French mobile phone games company Gameloft said it and other software developers were cutting back investment in developing games and other applications for Google’s Android platform.

Android has won attention in the mobile industry lately, with Motorola and Sony Ericsson choosing it for their new top models.

“We have significantly cut our investment in Android platform, just like … many others,” Gameloft finance director Alexandre de Rochefort said at an investor conference.

Rochefort said the company has cut back on investment mostly due to weaknesses of Android’s application store.

“It is not as neatly done as on the iPhone. Google has not been very good to entice customers to actually buy products. On Android nobody is making significant revenue,” Rochefort said.

Games for iPhone generated 13 percent of Gameloft’s revenue in the last quarter. “We are selling 400 times more games on iPhone than on Android,” Rochefort said.

Developers – do you feel the same way? Have recommendations for Google on how to improve the market immediately? What needs to be done?

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. it sounds like a bunch of crap here. I just read an article today stating that developers are fleeing the iphone market, and that article was a bunch of crap too after fact check by ars.

    Apps are nice, but free apps are commonly better.

  2. People are use to the free services provided by google and since it’s a google phone they expect the same. That’s why developers need to start investigating ad-supported models. Of course, this article quotes a developer before the DROID sold 250,000 units.

  3. I have read an article where developers are complaining about having to support way too many things in android. SDK 1.5, 1.6, and 2.0. Also, different phone causes the code to do different things. Their program crash because of the bug in phone software instead of their program.

  4. “They say that the iPhone distribution model provides MUCH better visibility,”

    not when you are 1 in 100,000. Gameloft’s problem was they were too visible: everyone knew their games on android were subpar ports.

  5. I agree with them , most people inside the US doesn’t know that many people “can’t” buy apps from the Market because Google is so slow in supporting other countries ,I had an iPhone and apple made buying apps available for all iPhone owners and even if you bought a free sim iPhone ( and the iPhone isn’t available in your country ) you will be able to buy apps by making a US apple account .

  6. From what my iphone friends tell me the average cost of a iphone app is higher than the average cost of paid android apps on my droid. Combine that with a lot more iphones sold, no iphone return policy for apps , the rich “yuppie) iphone market and a hard to search android market (it needs to be improved) and its no wonder people are making more on the iphone. This article doesn’t bother me to much though. With almost exclusively free apps (paid for 3 and returned 1) on my droid, I’m makeing my iphone friends drool and seriously reconsider their choice in phone. One is getting a droid or eris for christmas. Well thought out freeware beats commercial software 9 times out of 10.

  7. Gameloft’s poor sales have nothing to do with exposure and everything to do with quality.

  8. on the iPhone, a developer must not only wait for his app to be approved, he has to wait for every single bug fix to be approved as well!

  9. I just bought the Motorola Droid and have a few complains but I did the same when I had the IPOD touch 2nd gen. Plus Android should market with their companies established in which they have the device without the phone, much of the profits also go to the users without the phone capability of the IPHONE otherwise the IPOD Touch. IPOD Touches sleek and uniform look makes is the only favorable advantage, but Android could easily produce grid skins to come with the phone or become downloadable to present itself to professional users and personal. Android’s development team needs to expand on these ideas. Apple is doing so well because its appearance, that is all. Updates, fixes frequently appear on IPhone or touch also. If Droid wants to improve or take suggestion they should send all their customers a survey on what improvements and ratings on likes and dislikes. After all they do sync our emails once we get the phone, isn’t that true? Well anyways I’m stuck with this for 2years and I’m addicted already, multiple opened apps, much better than apple.

  10. All valid comments. But how does a dev make money? I’m not sure if you all saw some of the comments on Phonalyzer after the dev went ad supported. Users changed their ratings to 1, and basically chastised him for it. Though we all like developing apps for the Android, it does take time and we do have bills to pay. I for one don’t mind the ad-supported model.

  11. I agree, the android market is fairly disappointing. The limited apps shown on the internet are a lot better than the limited information available via the phone, but it stills falls short of “selling” me on the apps.

    During my brief use of Sprints Hero, I downloaded a few free apps to see if I would like them or not, but there was no way I would pay for an app sight unseen that would most likely be disappointing. And the few fee based apps I would have payed for all had horrible revues…almost to the point of making me want an iPhone.

  12. I feel that I’m going to buy an iphone

  13. Gameloft deserves it.
    Their Android games just suck.
    They seem to be ported quickly from Java ME.

  14. I am a developer with one application on the Market, albeit a free one, and from my perspective the Android Market sucks for developers trying to sell apps. Here are some of the issues I see with the market:

    1. While Android is available in a ton of markets many of those markets don’t allow users to buy paid applications. For example users in Canada, where I am from, are unable to purchase an application off the Market unless they root their phone. This reduces the potential market size of Android for paid apps making it tougher to sell enough quantity.

    2. A lack of carrier updates in some markets means that many phones are still running the 1.5 version of Market. Google should really roll out the Market application as a separate app that can be updated independently of the rest of the Android platform. This would allow for more frequent updates of the Market app to address its shortcomings.

    3. Copy protection on Android phones is woefully inadequate leading to widespread piracy

    4. Developers in many countries are unable to sell applications on the Market, again my country Canada is an example of this. This leads to developers to either try the ad supported model or give it away for free diluting the ROI of other developers in that space.

  15. They need to be real about it. I going to bet that Android has the better free apps making it difficult for the paid apps to shine. In other words they aren’t worth the money they charge for them. If they want to make money then they need to come up with something stellar.

    However Google may need to put together a better way of letting you see all thats out there. I miss a TON of apps that come through. Most of the time I end up hearing about them from sites like this. (thanks Phandroid). Shouldn’t I be able to see this stuff on a centralized site. Maybe make a full listing of apps on a site with QR codes to easily get them onto your phone. I don’t know if the Barcode Scanner can do other instructions besides opening a website but its a thought.

  16. It would be nice if the market were accessible from a computer. While it’s great to have stuff on the handset, it’s not best to browse apps on a tiny screen.

    iTunes gives the user the option of looking for and buying apps on the desktop; might it be possible for Google to arrange, say, a web interface to the Market, so that we could do the same?

  17. has a the apps in there. Not sure if it’s all the apps, but it contains a lot of android apps that’s currently on the market.

  18. at least something like androlib? is terrible

  19. Meh, the android market aint that cool, actually.

    Anyway, their games on android sux badly, they are heavy, boring and ugly java porting.

    Do they have a forum?? Maybe we should open a thread on their forum just to let them know why their lame games aren’t selling at all.

  20. Google really needs to adopt a desktop solution like found at so that users can search for apps and get them on their phone via QR code.

  21. There are plenty of sites that allow you to browse through Android’s catalog of apps. Many that even link the comments, screenshots, and ratings straight from the market. Just do a quick google search of “best android apps”.

    I also believe that Android has better free apps in its marketplace powered by ad-revenue than the iPhone’s free, or “lite”, apps. When it comes down to it, I’m only going to pay money for an app that I use consistently everyday. While there are some great paid apps in the Android market, many aren’t “must-haves”. A developer that turns towards ad-revenue is going to make much more money than one that requires a purchase or only wants donations. In the dev community, donations are frequently given, but when they release their apps to the general public, they have to be aware that most of the general public isn’t going to feel the same way about donating their money.

  22. I wrote up a few thoughts on this topic:

    Why folks aren’t making as much money on Android as they are on the iPhone:

    What one should do to try and develop money making apps on mobiles:

    Comments very welcome!

  23. With ad-revenue, the dev is basically getting paid for almost every download. When there are several free apps that are good, and do the same thing, I’ll switch the ones I use around and alternate between them to try and help support as many developers as I can.

  24. Not that FREE should be the key..but what i have noticed is that a Request is made in a Forum post, on some Application that many desire..and then some programmer jumps in and codes up a Beta Then it’s off to the Droid market with it for a buck or two…
    You can’t beat that, and with taking requests and suggestions from the user get a better product in the end… The OPEN Market of Android will do well…

  25. I think there are 4 main areas / issues:

    1) Google market is crap generally – search function does not work (quite irony for company like Google, right?) and it is not even possible to purchase paid apps in most of smaller coutnries (I live in one of them) w/o rooting the phone -> huge shame on Google!

    2) Missing desktop interface to market – totally agree with Ben that searchning for app on the phone is a real pain and people rather don’t do it at all and stay with what they have.

    3) As somebody wrote above there is big competition to paid apps – free ones. They are generally fairly good on Android.

    4) And last but definitely not least – there is no good HW available at the moment and as such people are not widely buying Android phones (note Droid is not available too widely yet and all other models are shlock comparing to iPhone).

  26. I do think we need to see more apps in the market. There are too many apps trying to be like one another. Not too say that the iPhone app market isn’t saturated, but I think the Android Market needs an overhaul. Google should hire a team of programmers to start busting out new apps and even emulating apps in the iPhone market. And when the hell is the Facebook app for Android gonna get an overhaul. It blows. Although I did just download PDAnet for my Mytouch 3G and I am loving tethering it for my laptop. Brilliant!

  27. Does nobody question the fact that iphone sells 400% more of a product to a user base much, much, much larger than android users? Of course Gameloft makes more from an iphone app— you have more iphone users.

  28. There are a lot of arguments defending developers, but what about the developers that want to create sub-par apps to sell for $2 or more? I own an iTouch and the Droid, and I have to say, there are many apps in Apple’s market that simply don’t deserve the price tag attached to it. Another thing, Android is also missing out on a lot of bigger named apps. For instance, the Apple market just got the Rhapsody app months ago, which basically allows you to use Rhapsody on the go. The only Rhapdody app in the Android market is one that is questionable at best. Maybe the problem is that developers really don’t think Android is a big enough market share to really start pumping out quality apps.

  29. In terms of bad android games, I have yet to see a truly good cell phone specific game on any phone. For gaming xxxoid series of emulators on android meet all my needs.

  30. I feel they need to impove the Market so i can get a better idea of what I am going to buy. Clients sutch as myself do not like spending money blindly.
    The Market should have screen shots.
    The Market should have donate buttons.
    The Market should have works with “XYZ phone” and “XYZ Android build”
    The “pay” Market should be avalable in other places sutch as Canada.
    The Market should…. i could go on all day but its not going to change anything…

  31. Problems with Android compared to Apple:
    1. Android fragmentation – yes it’s real. Developers need to support the least common denominator to cast the widest net and assure wide adoption of app.
    2. Distribution method sucks. Google needs to make a desktop program similar to iTunes like as soon as yesterday!!
    3. Google put too much control in the carrier’s and manufacturer’s hands from the beginning. Google should have maintained control of the update process. Because we all know that carriers don’t know what the hell they are doing right!
    4. All the Android device marketing I’ve seen is a joke compared to Apple’s which aims at mass market. For crying out loud Verizon is targeting geeks with their advertising with asteroids, robots, and stealth bombers. Show some apps running on that beautiful screen. Again carriers don’t get it.

    I think Google realizes alot of this – thus the reason we’re hearing rumors of a Google phone. They know Android is splintering like crazy and now they have to undo that.

    Another thing, we all bust on Apple for having so many fart apps yet did you see the recent T-Mobile ad showing the top 15 PAID apps on Android. 4 of them were task killers. Why isn’t this part of Android from the rip. Normal non-tech users should not be told “download an app to get speed back”. Google is really making themselves out to be the geeks device. I don’t see mass market adoption happening any time soon. The web is rampant with stories of people taking Droids back in droves due to failing proximity sensors, random reboots, quick-scroll issues, crashes, no bluetooth dialing?!?!

    Google rushed Android 2.0 or Motorola didn’t do enough QA testing. Either way it’s a major black eye on Android/Google/Verizon with them touting Droid as the “ultimate smartphone”.

  32. Hands down the App Market is the worst product to ever come from Google. It’s full of clutter and reminds me of an overflowing garbage can more than a well laid out retail store. It reminds me of before they had Google search.

  33. Agree with Tim mostly. I think alot of developers are seeing Android splinter into a clusterf#$k of a mess right now. That means longer hours of support and less cash in their pocket.

    As much as I hate Apple’s monopoly. Developers are still flocking over there because they really have the best distribution method out and they have great marketing behind it.

    Google is way too deep in the nuts and bolts to really sell Android. They need to invest big time in marketing and advertising. And…yes they need to take back control from the carriers. Carriers will do nothing but splinter it in a million pieces, screw it up and walk away when it doesn’t work anymore. On to the next best thing.

  34. the big problems here are

    the few people who want something for nothing trash talk all the good paid apps without ever trying them out and us who actually use them just sit back cause we won’t or are unable to comment about the good apps.

    then we have devs who blanket the market with every crap app you can think of and they get rave reviews cause thier free. this turns off development in the apps area for major companies.

    it high time that google gets off thier ass and start banning all the crap devs out of the market. the weeds have grown so high you can’t tell thbe good devs from the bad ones anymore. time to do some pruning google. start running a three strike your out rule for all these paid app devs to get their apps together or find another market to advertise there sub par wares

  35. One recommendation I would have is for the Marketplace to be updated to display screenshots. Windows Mobile Marketplace has this, and is a good help in determining if I want to invest the time and money (regardlesso frefunds).

    There are too many items to not be able to view some sort of static preview before comitting.

  36. They need a web based version of android market you can access from your browser.

    Like Cyrket, but a little better. Too bad Cyrket is gone.

    Android library sucks.

  37. also start a infraction based warning system so us the buyer knows not to even deal with the guy cause if google say this dev is questionable then we would listen. the stars system does not work cause google does not police thier own market unless it infringes on other people.

  38. Remember, there are two different android marketplaces. Android 2.0 has screenshots, better search, better categories, etc…

  39. @rigamrts Isn’t what you’re suggesting kinda what Apple does now with their approval process? And they’re being critisized for it. Kinda a double edged sword.

    Google just didn’t think it through at all…and it’s coming back to bite them in the A$$. Just think what’s going to happen when all the non-Google experience phones hit the market and carriers are allowed to screw with the OS. You want to see pi$$ed off consumers. I fear we haven’t even seen the worst yet. It’s really disheartening as a developer.

  40. the way i see it is that if the big companies want to flee the mobile markets it leaves more room for the underground dev who just needs to make rent and bills to pay his way through college(much like my crew)which is where this market should be.

    all these ‘worst episode ever people’ who talk all their shit about the devs/market/apps/google or anything else they can say sucks, need to try writing apps themselves… or release a product the way they want it and see just how many people slam on them…worst episode ever

  41. @Aman Yes…but only droid users can see that stuff. Most won’t have 2.0 because there are upcoming handsets from Dell, LG, Sony that are launching with 1.6. Again…fragmentation biting everyone in the butt.

    If Google would get off their duff and create a desktop Market program, alot of problems would be solved quickly.

  42. I think this is poor reporting on behalf of Reuters. Who are these “other software developers” who are also leaving? Can I get a name or two before I judge? I have had my Droid for 2 weeks and from personal experience I am seeing apps being added at a fast rate, like Fring for example.

  43. Agree with Keller. Seems there are too many geeks at Google and not enough experience engineers and marketing folks who think about human interaction issues. That’s why Market is so damn clunky!

  44. @31 Tim

    “Another thing, we all bust on Apple for having so many fart apps yet did you see the recent T-Mobile ad showing the top 15 PAID apps on Android. 4 of them were task killers. Why isn’t this part of Android from the rip. Normal non-tech users should not be told “download an app to get speed back”.”

    People are downloading the task killers because they are thinking Android operates like their old phones (I know Blackberry’s specifically.) The task killers aren’t needed on Android as an app that isn’t actively being used is using almost no resources.

    Here is a post discussing it if you want more info:

  45. gameloft and others pulling out havnt even made a good game yet. what pacman??? what uno????? tetris???? whoopdy dooo!!!! ive seen better games come from the likes of Brian and his buddies. how about making a game that people want to buy????? Gameloft = crap

  46. 1.
    As a swiss dev, the main issue for me is that in my country i can only buy apps but I can sell it!
    The payment method must be change:app price in the montly bill will make easier for the teenagers (big market) to buy apps…
    The procedure to integrate ads on the app, is not well documented for the android developer.
    Gameloft can suck my +++

    This 3-4 things are not things that make me go developing for iphone,
    because there are 10-20 things that make the iphone developing a shit’s dust.

    sorry for my english.

  47. The data cited is for Q3 which is *before* the Droid. Gameloft is being short cited and this story is being over-blown. Q4 should be better and Q1’2010 even more. Also, everyone I know with iPhone don’t spend any more on apps than Android users.

  48. this is in general for all people who create paid apps

    1 i’ll use a dev who i know personally create bad apps and infringes on other peoples patents “sharkey” this guy is all about being the first to do it not about quality. plus he creates the app and provides pieces that where never part of the source and charges money for it which is stealing. he’s changed his name 3 times cause of all the bad publicity he’s gotten for his crap apps. has google done anything about it No they turn a blind eye cause the the infringed party has not voiced thier case. cause it pads thier app count.

    2. if your app is not ready to be sold don’t put a price tag on it cause your car payments going to be late keep it in beta till you get the bugs ironed out take some pride in developing apps don’t just rush it to the market.

    3. if your going to charge for an app make sure it’s inovative not just some pong port you created in your bedroom. people don’t like seeing apps that cost 99 cent that sould have been free to begin with.

    4. and “browser” stop creating apps that all they do is direct me to a webpage i could have typed in the browser myself thats just lazy dude i know thier free but you flooded the maket with like 200 of these apps and get rave reviews from people who are too stupid to go to the webpage themselves to find out your a fraud and took 100k of thier already small app capacity for something they could have added to thier favorites tab.

  49. @11, what are you talking about? Android gives you a 24 hour refund period if you want your money back so that you can try out any app if you so choose.

  50. As a user, the lack of categorization makes it impossible to find what I need. For example, if I am buying a game, can I at least narrow down by type of game such as RPG, puzzle, sports, shooter, etc.. (not unuseful categories like “action” and “casual”). Can I at least sort my results by rating, number of downloads, or by price?
    Marketplace needs to be set up like an actual store, not an amateurish list of with no way to sort search results.

    Lastly, there needs to be screen space for developers to buy advirtising. If any company is going to invest a lot of money into a game, they need to be able to buy advirtising in the search results. How can google not understand that concept?

  51. The Market needs some good games, besides the different emulators for SNES, Genesis, Gameboy, etc.. there isn’t anything worth playing except a few. Compared to the iPhone/iPod touch we have crap for games, especially with any decent graphics. I don’t have any real problems with app selection, I can find just about anything I need although some dev’s charge way to much. One thing that bugs me about the supposed 10,000 apps in the Market is how many of them are skins/theme? OpenHome, aHome, DxTop, PandoraHome, GDE, and Better Keyboard each have 100-400 themes/skins, those aren’t true apps and they make it look like the Market is bigger then it really is.

  52. Well I’d think it be obvious it would sell more on the iPhone now because of the number of people who have one, along with iTouch sales. I’m not a developer though,lol.

  53. Money for nothing and your chicks for free.. I will buy an app if I think it’s worth paying for. If you can’t make such an app then I am not your target market, and maybe you need to go only iPhone. To those that have made awesome free apps, I thank you, and I will donate if I am impressed enough, or even buy an updated version. There is nothing wrong with this business model.. yes it may be a tougher one to make money at, but it is what it is.

  54. @rigamrts’s #4: Verizon is even guilty of doing that… lol

    The biggest thing the Android Market needs is a way to get apps from your computer. I’m not saying they need a client like iTunes, and I would actually prefer they didn’t. But, I would like to see a web page (maybe a redesign of the android market site) that lets you browse the market from your desktop, then queue something up to download if you want it. They then could either have it download automatically or have the item appear under Downloads as “Ready for download” in the Android Market.

    I also wish they would give topics to rate on, and not just a general 1-5 star rating. Especially since there is no approval process to pre-judge the apps. Just give us 2-4 categories like the ADC app has.

    My third complaint has already been mentioned, but I’ll say it again. The Android Market should be updated separately! On the Droid, Verizon’s voicemail app lets you download updates from the market to its pre-installed app, and if you uninstall the update you just get the original version. I don’t know if they are worried that something might happen then you wouldn’t be able to use the market again or what, but something needs to be done.

  55. One thing that Google can do to get rid of the clutter: instead of an Apple system of approving apps, users would vote. If an app gets a majority of 1 or 2 star ratings after 2 months, it gets off the market.

  56. I have only tried Gameloft’s (free) Solitaire, but if that product is representative, it should come as no surprise why their Android sales are extremely poor. This games is so horrid that I simply don’t want it on my phone. It appears to be a port from some lesser spec device.

    For example, when playing FreeCell, there’s a man in the lower portion of the screen who looks around, nods his head, and emits little “Z” graphics if you take too long to move, i.e., indicating that he is tired. Who is this guy? Are they familiar with the fact that Solitaire is a single-player game? It is, after all named a derivative of the word “solitary”. And it doesn’t help that the graphics in this game appear to use a 256-color palette.

  57. Android’s market is underwhelming and i’ve read such comments numerous times on “Android Dev” google groups so people need to stop bashing gameloft, it’s one of the best cellhone games studio out there and such company having trouble in marketing itself on Android Market is obviously a problem.
    – First google need to allow more countries to buy apps
    – They definitely need to add payment via paypal
    – Recent added good apps/games (not necessarily most downloaded) must be added on the front page
    – They should make better web interface than what we currently have here >>
    – Google should encourage the carriers to accept payment on monthly bills
    – Lastly, google must do from time to time a clean up for some unneeded apps out there or apps that are not working. Yes this is apple’s way but a little control will help in cleaning the market from massive unwanted apps that result in hiding the good apps/games
    – GAMES GAMES GAMES. Android’s support for games is ridiculous, the limited internal memory has to be fixed and buyers should be allowed to download games on their SD card (dont tell me about piracy, there are many solutions for this, for example hardware fingerprint or IMEI on the phone’s internal memory for that specific app or game).

    One of the factors that made apple’s store succeed is games and underestimating this is totally stupid.

  58. @jeremy I think you’re missing the point. If you ever saw some of GameLoft’s games on iphone/ipod touch you wouldn’t be saying their games are crap. They are some of the best 3D games on the market. What this article says is they aren’t going to invest in making iPhone type games for Android. Which is sad for our beloved OS.

  59. Yeah, as many people have mentioned… I think poor sales have more to do with the games they made being total terds and Android users are probably less likely to fork out cash on pay apps which suck because we have gotten used to well-made apps for free. Games such as Robo Defense seem to be selling quite well because they happen to be kick ass games with great graphics, fun gameplay and they are made to take advantage of the hardware (because they are designes specifically for Android devices).

  60. One quick addition though… I do agree that the Market needs some way to display or feature games and apps because right now it is fairly difficult to find good stuff. The games at the top of the page are the best selling (or most downloaded) games.. but that makes it almost impossible for new games and apps to be recognized. Every time I’m in there I wish I had to way to sort by popularity AND by review scores. Google needs to use some of their Search Engine algorithm guys to design a few new clever ways of sorting apps in the Market.

  61. forget review scores catogory cause the the review trolls have bagged on really good apps from everything from ad supported in the app which does not take away from the app cause the ads are real small to the i don’t like it cause i don’t like these types of apps. the star ratting system needs to be redone before they sort by rating cause alot of good apps get 2 – 3 stars cause of the trolls

  62. The Andropid OS really hasn’t been advertised to the public as it should until Verizon began it’s ad campaign for the Droid.

    Yes we know T-Mobile’s G1 was the first, but to the average consumer it was just another phone, and that’s how the other carriers have advertised their Android phones as being.

    Verizon was the first to come out and say (via commercial) what the Android OS can do over the iPhone.

  63. @V Yes Android is awesomeness, we all agree…but as an advertising manager I can tell you Android will unfortunately never be advertised. Surveys show that “normal” consumers – not anyone reading this blog – don’t even know what operating system is running on their phone, nor do they even care. All they want is drop dead simple usability, ability to load apps that help make their life easier …and yes, they also want “cool” design. It’s correct, sexy sells, no matter what the product is. That’s one of the reasons the iPhone sold.

    My geek side likes the Verizon ads but they won’t help mass market adoption. Droid ads are the worst from an ‘advertising message’ perspective. They alienate (no pun intended) the mass market with way too much of a science fiction theme. Geeks (I’m not using that derogatorily, I’m one) do not need to be sold. They are already sold on the device…even before they ever saw the commercials. Right? Verizon needs to cast a wider net if they want to attract everyone from soccer moms (Verizon is actually ignoring the female demographic totally) to business folks to students, to young professionals, etc, etc, to gain mass market adoption. Enough with the robots, asteroids, terminator eye. They are lacking any type of “human” element. It’s more about how people can use a device to simplify their daily lives than it is about the actual hardware and software.

  64. here’s a quick lesson on how to make a bad app sink to the bottom like they belong. don’t download it to give it a bad rating cause this only makes it go up the ladder in the most popular catagory. most popular is based off of how many downloads the app gets not how many stars it gets so by giving the 1 star review does nothing except make good apps sink to the bottom.

  65. This is misleading. The Android market will do fine. It has only been around a year. Comparing Android and Apple at this point is a bit unfair. The fact that the question is even being posed is interesting and indicates that Android is a threat even though it is an infant. Apple is making the same mistake it made twenty odd years ago with the PC. Closed hardware, closed software, control everything. They will be a nitch 10% market forever. And there is nothing wrong with that since it is consistent and there will probably always be apple fanatics around. Already in my IT shop Android phones outnumber I-phones. We are the people who recommend things to the average computer user.

    Missing Sync – is already addressing some of the computer based client stuff and supposedly Google has something similar on the way. For developers to expect the same type of returns as the I-phone ever is questionable. Mac software is generally more expensive based on it’s market size and model. PC software generally cheaper because there are more products to choose from. I think the same rules will apply over time to this market.

  66. Well, good riddance Gameloft. The android system will be taking off now with all the major carriers carrying at least one android phones. My friends are all eyeing my phone over the iphone and all are planning of getting one through Verizon.

    Of course they are going to sell more games on the iphone, duh…there is more of them out there. Android users have been enjoying really nice apps for free or fairly cheaply compared to the prices on the iphone. It is like sticker shock when I saw some of the prices on my friend’s iphone! But also if it is a quality, fun game people are going to buy it. I’ve brought some games because I really enjoy it.

    You have to look at the long term and name brand. Fine if you are ‘cutting’ back but don’t go crying again when some other has stuck with it and all of the sudden is making money. I rather put my money in someone is is going to stick with it.

  67. I agree with this, sad to say. The iPhone app store just has a much better categorization setup than the Android marketplace does. With Android, it’s much easier to find something by searching for the name, which means you need to know the exact name of what you’re searching for. Also, I’ve heard the search function is fairly picky about the way you use keywords. And last, but certainly not the least, Apple has provided a full app store interface in iTunes, meaning you can easily preview and download apps through that. Android has no official syncing software that can load music/videos/pictures/applications/etc. onto the phones it runs on. DoubleTwist is a good start, but it’s still in beta with very limited features, and it doesn’t contain any links to an online version of the app store. Sorry, but the iPhone wins this battle. I just hope Google gets in gear and beefs up the marketplace soon. If they don’t, Apple might just win the apps battle. Let’s face it. The geeky people don’t mind hunting down the apps they want, but many of the average joes are just going to get frustrated and give up.

  68. I love Android, but as someone earlier wrote; we have bills to pay. I can’t sell my app from my country, so I must give it for free. I worked hard, day by day, more than half of year, with hope, that Google give me soon the chance to sell my app. Month by month, nothing happens. And its “return policy”.. it’s STUPID.

    Now, my app is free, donation model totally not works. ZERO. Nothing. The problem is, users are used to use free app. When I switch some day to paid, will anybody pay me ? How hard I must work (AGAIN) to create another, MUCH BETTER version of my app to sell it later ?

    Do you heard about “World of Goo” promotion ? “Pay what you want”. Most of “buyers” do not even pay a DOLLAR for this game. Shame. This shows up, that users don’t pay if they don’t have to.

    Additionaly, when a software is free, most of them think, that this software and work of its creator is worthless.

    I really do not know what to do. I do not want to my app die, and I do not want to work for free. 90% of users do not even imagine, how hard this work is. They do not imagine, that “pizza’s are not for free”, too..

  69. @Brad: I agree some way to browse apps on my computer would be lovely, but not a syncing client like itunes. I LOVE my droid, but will run it over with my car and throw the pieces into the bay before I let it tie me down with any kind of syncing app like itunes. I had an ipod once… never again. As for the comment about average joes, I agree android is targeted more for geeks and someone with weak computer skills like my dad might be happier with an iphone, but I think most teens and young adults are tech savvy enough to find the apps they want. The average computer skills in our country and abroad are quickly improving.

  70. Not too surprised if it is a game company with this complaint. I have no doubt that the Android market can be improved, but I suspect a major issue they haven’t considered is the end users and what kind of people choose what kind of phone. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. For me, it’s a tool, not a toy. If I wanted a game and media platform that made all the decisions for me, I’d go with iPhone in a flash. But I don’t, so I won’t. And I won’t be buying any of Gameloft’s products for my Android phone, because that’s not the way I want to use my smartphone.

  71. Hi,

    My name is Ben, and I work with FADE LLC. We track game sales for both Android and the iPhone.

    I can confirm that our reports yield very similar information as to what your report is suggesting. The market for Android sales is very dire compared to the iPhone in virtually every way.

    October sales yielded revenues of an estimated $55,000,000 for gaming products on the iPhone. Comparatively, Android grossed just $170,000 which was a 50% increase over September (thanks to Hero and more importantly Android 1.6).

    The average Android user is spending about $0.05 per gaming product versus the average iPhone/iPod user spending nearly $1.00 per user.

    The problem is (obviously) that Android users simply are not buying paid titles – not that people are failing to utilize the market. Although we do not conduct comprehensive research on free titles for Android, the fact is that top free titles have seen 500,000+ downloads which is a major portion of the Android userbase.

    Obligatory sales pitch:

    If anyone is interested in the reports, check out I’d love to post more, but time isn’t permitting that.

    At any rate, the fate of Android sales is souly up to Google making their storefront better. With free title sales being phenominal, and phones are starting to move (1.8 million Android phones sold in Q3 this year), it has the potential to be a beast…..If Google can make it easier for people to buy.

  72. Yes, the market does leave something to be desired. But as we speak, the Android community is growing and growing fast. There are an explosion of Android based devices coming which is going to boost that number even higher. Growing pains are bound to be there for a little while but as the user base grows, the demand for better will also rise.

    Hell, how many WinMo devices flurished and there was NO STORE. I personally never found any paid apps worth it on my iTouch and the free ones were what I needed. All of those free apps are available for Android and I actually have better functionality and performance from the Android ones. So I have equaled what I used on a daily basis on my iTouch and am ready for more on Android. Maybe I’m not a typical iTouch user because I didn’t pay for daily Asian Big Boobs or some freakin useless fart app but no Apple developer made money selling me an app.

  73. I like it all, just give it some time
    the Verizon coverage is awsom

  74. I think the key point from this article and what many people have already mentioned is the quality of gameloft games. They are horrendous and overpriced. IF they HAD actually invested money into games on Android they would be making money. There games are just horrible ports that cost little time, effort, or capital to create. It is just like a company to blame the seller rather than their product for poor sales. This should be a wake up call for gameloft to do better. Why should they though. If they are doing fine on apple products than they have no reason to develop for Android. That, in essence, is what they have gone and done anyway with their subpar ports.

  75. @dw
    I think you are probably right about the market, and I know you are right about Droid and Verizon !

  76. Btw, just sent an email to Gameloft PR and noticed that they don’t even have a dedicated link to android games like they do with the iphone and ipod touch. They don’t even provide good visibility themselves, lmao!

  77. @Ben
    Thank you for sharing the information with us.

    Unfortunately, most people on phandroid are 10 year old kids or non-developers and can’t appreciate the time and effort spent on learning how to use Android’s SDK and making an application.

  78. i think once there are more Android phones out there, and once the OS becomes more stable, you’ll see Android apps start to catch up. I think Apple got a head start and their are geniuses at marketing and creating an easy-to-use interface for everything, and that’s why they are ahead in the game…

  79. I paid for apps when I had an iPhone, and I’ve bought apps for Android now that I own one. The problem is that I had to buy those apps through the developers website and 3rd party markets. I’ll pay for quality apps if you present them to me…

    Also make sure your icon is polished and looks professional.It makes pushing the purchase button much easier. lol. The Market is getting better.

  80. Google needs to get some inspiration from WordPress. There are lots of plugins available all over the web. A large percentage of them are listed in a centralized site. If anybody could track down all the Android apps, wouldn’t it be Google?

    Then they could make a tiered setup. List them all, but test them for quality and security. Nothing is rejected (like at iTunes) but the best apps are highlighted.

  81. One of the ways that makes the iPhone marketplace better is fairness. Nothing is featured for more than a week or two before they move on. That’s what you have to do with thousands of apps. It helps discovery and is fair for everyone.

    The Android Market has limited featured apps space. Yet Google continues to play favorites with featuring their own apps forever like Google Sky Maps and Listen. But even more disturbing is that apps like Where have been featured for the better part of a year. There are 10,000 apps Google! Apple had 10,000 apps at this time last year and they were finding new apps to feature each week. If you play favorites why should a developer waste time producing a worthy app that will never be found? Even worse… maybe this is secretly pay for play. That would explain a lot.

    All of this makes Gameloft’s point even more powerful. The people at Google in charge of the market have a lot to learn.

  82. @David, I’m also disgusted with Google featured apps. Always the same list. From Market start long time ago, 5 or sth, the same apps always “on top”. There is lack of professional “reviews” page with new “top this week” options or sth.

    Users are entering Android Market and what they see ? “Again, 5 the same apps. Nothing happens here !”.


  83. When there are good games on Market as on AppStore, then I’ll buy those games… but now I see only slow and ugly apps from Gameloft.

  84. Sadly the Android Market app isn’t available if the producer of the phone hasn’t licensed it. Obviously Google should enable consumers to buy the market app directly from Google!

  85. @Ben- Thanks for the informative post. I honestly think one of the issues with Android as a gaming platform is the size restriction of the applications. You can’t even fit the top 10 games listed on iTunes (collectively 318mb) on the Droid, which is ridiculous.

  86. There are many factors and I’m only going to list a few.

    1. Apple doesn’t allow refunds, so obviously companies will make more money. Even if it’s rated good/okay, there are people that will buy it.
    2. Apple’s app store has been up longer and has more consumers than the market, so if you want to make money. It’s quite obvious which one to go to first.
    3. These game companies should actually make the game for Android and not port it from iPhone. I’ve played with many ported games and they aren’t good. They aren’t even worth the money because of controls, lag, whatever.

    As for ads in apps. That’s all in the developer. If they cannot implement the ads at the right time, then they will suffer the ratings. Although it’s stupid, but that’s how many minds work. Especially when some of these Android phones are geared to teens. One way they could go at it is release 2 different version on day one. One is free, with non-obtrusive ads, and has the main features that makes the app what it is. The second version could be a paid app, no ads, and more additional features. If people like the free one and want the extra features, then they will buy it.

    As for not everyone in the world can buy Google apps, yeah that’s on Google, not going to deny that.

  87. @Masque
    Considering that the executable file is stored in the 256mb and the rest can be written to the sd card I think you could fit those 10 games easily on the droid plus another 100 or so apps.

  88. @Masque
    Having the ability to play some awesome games on my phone is nice.. but I cant’ understand why you would want them to be 31 mb in size, or why I would need 10 of them that big.. Most people have a PC, and a gaming console at home. You will get the full on gaming experience with those.. With my phone, I have to think what type of gaming experience I want and need from it. For most people, gaming on the phone is going to be an occasional time killer. I think it’s a mistake to try and squeeze some of the full on PC or console games into a phone.. That said, what I would like to see is perhaps someone doing something with multiplayer..

  89. @Nick – I was under the impression the whole download gets installed to the internal storage. Are you saying that during the installation process of a download it identifies data vs. executable code and splits it between the internal storage/SD card? Is that confirmed?

    @Dennis – Oh, I agree completely that the phone isn’t really going to be a “standard” for gaming platforms. The article spoke about a gaming company and compared the ROI between iTunes/iPhone and Google Market/Android so I was just curious as to the top 10 sellers in the Apple Store.

    On a side note, iTunes also shows the top 10 grossing applications. Not suprising, three of those are Mobile Navigator (#2/$69.99), Magellan Road Mate (#5/$79.99) and TomTom US & Canada (#6/$99.99). Those count toward the gross revenue where as on the Android we get Google Maps for free.

  90. For the love of god would you people quite recommending a syncing app for the android market!! If I need a “G-apps” app to sync my phone im going to just carry a damn netbook and use google voice.

    Its early boys and girls….give it time.
    Trust me if the devs build it…..the users will come.

  91. I loved Android from day one and I agree with all the people who can see (people like Micronix),that Android is indeed growing and geting better and better. It is in time going to be biger way biger-Droid is its first BIG foot in the door

  92. And to JAMES, right on man you say like it is. People want to diss Android when Google was recently A dam search engine only I mean come on…loOK at the Droid-if that aint a sigh of good things to come with its 2.0 and all…someones need google up some info on the history of Android and google-and how lonnnnng apple has been in the tech bizz over Google. Apple has been in the tech biz awhile-now Google…newbees-but newbees coming up with a plain to rule all tech-are close. I believe they will rule in all tech though-they gots the money-and the right idea…

  93. Yes, Google made some mistakes but dont mistrust in them, they are still an giant innovative and creative company, look at how they put android in a family of mobile devices in less if not 1 year, which is an great achievement where as apple had it much easier making their own mobile device for it only, while already having an history of other multimedia devices, the iPod series, where google was an search engine site only!

    we have to give google some time, their not stupid, and gameloft should calm down, their games on the iphone are not always so good also with lame graphics.. its really unsporty of gameloft talking so big with only such an young OS which community is already so big.

  94. I’ve spoken with one successful iPhone developer recently who said they have the android version ready, they are just waiting to see how Droid develops.

  95. What the Android Market needs is the ability to integrate with the rest of your data ‘held’ by Google, with ACCESS VIA THE WEB!!! It’s annoying only being able to see the top paid or top free apps. I want a faceted browser view on the market to narrow down my searches according to WHAT I WANT. Not being able to see the whole list of apps outside of the Android market (on a phone) is stupid, annoying, and needs to be sorted.

  96. I’ve not played any gamesloft games, but I can see their point. I’ve invested a considerable amount of my spare time developing an app for the android platform. I’ve recently published and app to the market and sales have been shockingly bad. I know it’s reasonably good app as it got through to the ADC 2 second round. So I’m starting to question if it is worth carrying on. It seems to me you either need to get ‘featured’ or into the ‘top selling’ apps to make any reasonable return, but thats a chicken or the egg scenario.

    I think an advertising push by google/carriers similar to the “there’s an app for that” iPhone campaign. We need to get users excited about buying apps on the android platform!

    Also using SD card to store apps would make a huge difference. I’ve had the “out of storage” message on numerous occasions, this just leads to uninstalled apps.

    I think a desktop market browser would also help immensely.

  97. Hello!

    I would like to share my experience on this topic, please.

    I feel like Peter from TripComputer!
    We develop an application, investing hundreds of night-hours on it. Then, if we wish to sell it, Google does not allow us to sell in the market. “Canadian vendors not allowed in the market”.
    Ironically, they did take our 25 US dollars for the privilege of giving our free apps to the users, but no way to sell.
    So we put a LITE app in the market, and a paid app in Slide ME. The users see the LITE, free app in the market and ask for more and more features, for free. Nobody buys the paid app.

    This can go on for a while, but how long will it be until the good developers burn out and stop developing?

    In the iPhone store, the good apps are making nice money out of it (the best 5 apps make roughly 3000-4000 US$ a day). In the Android market, the absolutely best 5 sold apps (not mine, unfortunately) are making around 30-60 dollars a day.

    Free apps are nice, but they don’t put food on my kids table, right?

    Best regards,


  98. Nobody can be exactly like me. Occasionally even I have take the trouble doing it.

  99. Be not fuming that you cannot make others as you hankering them to be, since you cannot make tracks yourself as you hope to be

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