Astro Moves to Ad-Supported Model, Market Commenters Riot


In a move that everyone saw coming (basically because Metago’s announced they’d be introducing an ad-supported model for months), Astro File Manager’s been updated to support the company’s new ad-supported revenue model. Much like many other apps in the Android market, the app was updated to include ads which can be done away with by purchasing a full unlock key.


Something else that doesn’t surprise me is all of the flack they’ve been getting in the Android Market comments. They’ve been called “shady,” “wrong” and “stupid” for pulling a “bait and switch” on hundreds of thousands (potentially millions, but the Android market can’t verify this) of users. I don’t want to dive too deep into  my thoughts regarding developers in the market and why it’s wrong to attempt to tarnish their reputation because of ads (you can find my thoughts in full about that here), but it does embarrass me to see how selfish a lot of people truly are.

I could go on and on, but I won’t. The app’s updated and it can now be found in the Android market (with support for plugins to add additional functionality such as Bluetooth FTP support and SMB on Windows).

[via Android Central]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. really? its just adds people, dont click on them if you dont want too. this is how people make some money, or else you wont have any apps for much longer. Android needs this to be a big player

  2. good for them introducing ads, they need revenue and it wont kill us, seriously how much time do you spend in the file manager anyway

  3. I like ES File Explorer better anyway.

  4. Gotta agree this software rocks and ad’s are a great way to support their business. They can’t just develop this stuff for free.

    We are kinda spoilt on Android too as heaps of software is free / ad supported unlike iPhone which you have to pay for most of.

    Anyhoo I’ve tried many different file explorers since my g1 and now my nexus, but keep coming back to Astro, it’s great. I will happily fork out the few bucks to support this developer as it’s well worth it.

  5. lol. funny how some ads can cause such a response. Its just ads, deal with it. or pony up the cash and buy the pro version. Either way, it will provide some nice income to the devs.

  6. I feel bad that I use ad supported apps where the ads don’t appeal to me, I hope these guys get some revenue.

  7. If you hadn’t told me about the ads, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed, well at least didn’t notice that they weren’t there before now that they are there. Most of my free apps have ads, I give it no mind.

  8. I personally had been using Astro for a long time and it really is a great file explorer application. When this update came, I too switched to Estrong’s file explorer. I do wish Astro the best and still rated them 5 stars, but it isn’t because of ads that I ended up switching.

    I was interested in the pro version, but unfortunately you have to download ANOTHER app that you pay for, that acts as a key to unlock the ad-version. It is terrible business model in my opinion as it just doubles the apps you are managing the apps to uninstall, etc.

    I have purchased apps in the past and don’t mind, but I prefer pro-versions where everything is self-contained in an app, not downloading another smaller app to unlock the original.

  9. I see no major “wrong-doing” at hand here. I have however dealt with apps that sort of “forced” me into clicking the ad. Like at a prompt screen I’d go to hit something and it would suddenly move down and I’d click on the ad. THAT’s shady, this is business.

  10. You have to download a seperate app not because of Astro but because of the way that Google set up the Market. Their rules say that once a Free app is submitted, it can’t be converted to a paid app. So what else is a developer to do but require you to download seperate app.

  11. “You have to download a seperate app not because of Astro but because of the way that Google set up the Market. Their rules say that once a Free app is submitted, it can’t be converted to a paid app. So what else is a developer to do but require you to download seperate app.”

    Or you can just submit a PRO version like everyone else, so you don’t have to have the free version at all. I’ll stick with Root Explorer just for this reason, and root explorer is more powerful.

  12. @doctagadget The key thing is simple, and savvy devs can even make the app “melt” on use, basically causing it to not exist in your eyes since it appears to be such a problem. I say if you have confidence in an app that people will pay for, god damnit make it a paid app. Offer up an apk demo limited version for people to see interest, and there you go, problem solved. Google set up the market that way because if something is free it’s free, if it’s not, the dev will make them pay for it. (E.G start off paid or go pro..or stfu about it and click an ad every once in a while)

  13. I like the way Meridian media player have done it, where you can pay from within app through paypal and get a license key to get the pro version. It’s still a lot of us thats not allowed to pay for apps. :-(

  14. while i love it when a dev can make their money off of ads instead of charging, i myself am practically impervious to ads. i pretty much, by rule, never click on ads because of the inherit bias. my amazing zoning out skills developed in high school keeps from remembering virtually any ad that’s not a funny commercial. i sure hope some of you guys are clicking on that stuff though…

  15. I’m currently wondering if I’m gonna:

    1) Live with the ads
    2) Pay for the pro version
    3) Use another app

    Complaining is not on the list. If you like the app, support the developer. If it’s not worth it, don’t use it anymore.

  16. Most of the time I don’t even notice the ads on apps unless there’s a pic of a chick on it or something. LOL

  17. It’s important to have adds to make money from the application, also at least it isn’t an add that shows up in the center of the screen, it’s on the bottom of the screen and it’s passable.

  18. In the beginning it was only a small tax for everyone, now it is 34%, funny ads are everywhere now,high shools have Coke as sponsors, now they have devised ways to put ads on our phones phones that we pay for the service only to be bombarded by ads.
    Why don’t companies just implant ad chips in everyone and be done with it!
    Any ad I am forced to watch I will not purchase their product. You can push it on me all you want, but I decide when and where to buy , and what to buy.

  19. The only problem I have with advertisement is that they can sometimes get in the way of things I’m trying to do.
    As long as it stays out of my way, I’m totally for ad-supported apps.

    Ah, also, as long as I don’t get pornographic advertisement when I let other people play with my phone.
    That’s pretty important too.

  20. Support the developers! It will come back to you ten fold!

  21. I didn’t have a problem with the ads per se, I have a lot of applications with ads and the only time they get in the way is when I’m using VNC.

    However, when I updated Astro it simply stopped working. Nada. Nothing. Crashed upon opening. Bye bye.

  22. See that’s why having root is so great…I never see ads to begin with. ;)

  23. @doctagadget: Actually, Documents 2 Go works in a way where you download a free version from the Market, then you can register it and upgrade to a pro version without having to install another app.

    So, yes, there are other models than the one Astro chose to use.

  24. It’s a hardly intrusive advertisement. I don’t mind it at all and am happy to be able to support the developer like this.

  25. Ads never bother me… I usually don’t even notice them. I mean we’re so flooded by ads in our everyday world, why wouldn’t there be some on our phones when we are using another persons hard work for our benifits.

  26. Oh no! People that use the app will have to pay a whopping $2.99 if they want to get rid of ads!!! If you use the app spend the cash! If people want quality apps on the Android platform, they need to start shelling out money for apps they like and use instead of bitching about having to look at some unobtrusive ads. Developers need to make money one way or another – you had a free ride with the app for a while, and now they want to get paid!

  27. Ad supported free applications are a win-win in my book.

  28. I never understood by people feel so entitled. They all want all apps to be free, and if you put ads in the app you are a D bag to them. Do these same people go to work, work an 8 hour day, and then when the boss comes with the paycheck go, “No really, you can keep that Boss, i do this work for free.”???

    Coding an App takes HOURS of work, plus testing and making sure it works on top of that, then re-writing the code again to make it work right. It isn’t some 3 minute job they do. It takes time and effort, and most people do it in their spare time, on top of a job elsewhere where they work 40 hours a week.

    They want to be paid for their work and effort. I think that is more then fair. Why does everyone expect apps to be free/ad free?? On my Blackberry if i downloaded a free app and loved it, i’d always donate to the maker. It helps the creator know people appreciate their work and effort, so maybe they’ll do it again with another app.

  29. People did the same thing with Shazam, though the circumstances were a bit different. Shazam now only allows 5 tags per month without charging unless you tagged before July 13, 2010. Otherwise, it’s $4.50ish (depending on the exchange) for the full, no-ad version. I bought it just to support the developer.

    Seriously, to all of the commenters in the Market, it’s $3 or a non-invasive ad at the bottom of the screen. They’d said it was a beta for a long time. Shell out a few bucks and support them or shut up.

  30. I still don’t feel like paying to get rid of ads is a good idea. If I like the app, I will pay/donate. By having the free with ads version kinda gets on my nerves and I usually end up not using it at all.

    I prefer Estrongs/Es File Explorer anyway. Lol.

  31. @Lulu

    I bet losing you as a customer was pretty hard on them.

  32. Just bought it. Best $3.99 I’ve spent in awhile.

  33. I didn’t upgrade for this specific reason and I don’t plan to

  34. Personally I love this app and since it is one of such high quality, I have no problem paying for it. I probaly would have done that earlier just to support it. I will definitely be trying out the bluetooth app as well. There is nothing wrong with having an add banner to make money, as long as you don’t make them pop up. After all, the devs are there to make money, and you can not fault them for that.

  35. Yes but can you see the pro version key if you are on a rooted droid? Many devs still retardedly enable copy protection on their app (which is useless) and all it does it end up filtering out many devices that now can’t see the app. Documents to Pro does this. I bought it a while ago, they have the same business model, a seperate app that is the “key”. When I rooted my phone I can not redownload the key anymore since its not visible on the market! They have stupid copy protection turned on.


  36. Yes sure enough

    See these dumbasses have copy protection turned on with the “key” for the pro, so I cant download it to my rooted droid anyway!


    Way to block customers from buying!


  37. IMO they deserve some flack, because one way to really piss of users is to have forced updates. Basically adding ads is fine for “new” users, but current users should have the choice just not to update if they dont want to! They should have though their business model through better ahead of time if this is the only way to can get people to see ads (why not have added them long ago?).

    It’s the forced update that makes people angry, when they are forced to update and have less or annoying features that are basically forced upon them. It IS like a bait and switch.

    ULoops had the same thing happen, they did the same thing. I think developers need to get a clue and realize this is not good behavior period.


  38. Brad: If you don’t like the ads then remove the software – nobody is forcing you to use it. Just like nobody can force the developers to spend hundreds of hours of their own time writing something for free. They’ve decided to try and recoup some of their costs after finding out there is a large demand for their great app. Live with it. You owe them nothing unless you want to use what they have, on the flipside – they owe you nothing as well and the’ve decided to give you exactly that for free.

    Writing software is not just “typing for a couple of hours” – or even worse, dragging and dropping blocks on the screen like in some awful hollywood movie. Developing (good) software takes a great deal of effort, thought, skill and time. Some people are happy to do that for free and hats off to them. However, most people will eventually decide they want some renumeration after the hundreth email from users with attitudes such as yours complaining that something has gone wrong and insisting on a fix immediately.

  39. big friggin’ deal! all you bunch of free loaders need to put on some emo music and get over it.

  40. @Russell,

    I am an android developer and have two successful apps on the market, and I don’t play these stupid games. If you arent sure what market you want to target, then keep your betas private. Don’t screw early adopters with forced upgrades. Simple as that. Anything that is forced to a customer is going to make them feel used. It’s the “taken away” principle at work. If you give people something, and then take it away, they will always get upset.


  41. To clear this up, I’ll toss my two cents in.

    There was an update that moved the expiration date of the beta app two days after the update with ads was dropped. At this point there was no mention of a Pro version. People complained about the new expiration date, and the lack of a paid version. Dev responded saying he was trying to sort it out. Then came a Pro version because of all the complaining. I never saw anything informing users of these things until they immediately happened, in the market or on mirago’s site.

    I don’t mind supporting devs. Either with paid apps or ads. I bought the premium ROM manager when it was available, and when koush added ads, I chose to turn them on. The problem arises with how the dev choses to introduce the ad support. Especially since android is international, and not all providers allow paid apps, those people who can’t buy an add-free version feel slighted.

  42. Anyone who stresses about paying three dollars for anything is a broke-ass loser.

  43. And forgot to add, I’m another rooted user who can’t see their DRMed Pro version in the market. So now there is only the option of not being able to directly support the dev, so I have moved back to Estrong. Titanium backup (I paid for that too) does anything extra that astro did.

  44. Free market capitalist here. No problem with someone trying to make a buck. No problem with ad-driven industry (I work for one myself). Nevertheless, it still feels a little unethical to use people to test for you, then employ tricks to force them to upgrade, pay, or get out, with no option to keep using the original deprecated versions. The “free-loader” epithets some of you are slinging about are really just strawmen. It’s not about the money or how much. It’s about the principle and the ethics of the developer.

    Fortunately, there are better free and pay options in the market and the Market.

  45. Watch, I foresee Estrong adding ads too. Most of these comments on the market are from ignorant people anyways. These devs don’t even make much on ads since rarely anyone clicks on them. Isn’t it better to have the app rather than not having it anymore? For crying out loud, why aren’t people complaining to TV networks about ads? No wait, it supports the actors so it’s okay. Well, these ads support the devs.

  46. Viewing ads is fine – it’s the forcing me to upgrade my software so I can view ads, that’s not fine. I should still have the choice of whether to upgrade or not.

    And I WOULD buy the pro version, but I can’t since I’m rooted and they have copy protection turned on, so I can’t see it in the market. It’s basically a giant screw up all around in my opinion. I’m an android developer and I would not do this to my customers.

    For now I’m also moving to EStrong

  47. My biggest problem with ads is that they take up precious screen real estate. Dev’s, make them go away after a few seconds!

  48. Ads can slow down the app and waste your internet connection pulling the ads down. I have no problem paying for an app that I use, and that’s what I did with Astro. It’s worth more than the $2.99 it cost.

  49. Simple is that this is an app that should be in the core of the phones, it’s not… Dev’s need our support or app’s like this will slowly disappear. Ad’s, no ad’s, pay, don’t pay… doesn’t matter. But the complaints will certainly flourish when there are NO APP’s to find when all the Dev’s move on to greener pastures or figure something equally satisfying to waste their time on. SUPPORT the APP’s and watch Android grow and grow… and grow! :)

  50. Ads are a good thing people.
    It allows devs to release Free versions of their apps to you cheapskates out there. Would you rather a free version with features cut out or with full functionality ad a small ad banner?
    Don’t want Ads? Pay for the App. It’s pretty simple if you ask me.
    Paid Apps with ADs on the otherhand… Unforgivable.

  51. Coincidentally I just released a free-forever-no-adverts file manager today, called File Magic, available on Market. Good timing or what ?

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