Developer Pulling in $10k a Month Thanks to Android


logo-marketSomething tells me I should have stuck with computer programming courses past high school, as one successful Android developer has made quite the living off of just one offering in the Market. Aaron La, developer of Advanced Task Manager has pulled in just over $77,000 dollars through sales and ad revenue related to the app.

At $0.99 for the paid version of the app, 2009 saw gains of $18,060 while the first half of 2010 has netted $30,400. Ad revenue since November 2009 brought in $28,640 as of August. Quite the impressive figures.

La attributes the exponential earnings to new Android versions that made the market easier to use, though also stating there is a long way to go in terms of providing a better experience for customers to locate new and useful software. Better payment methods and paid apps in more countries are a just a few of thing complaints Aaron La registers.

[via TalkAndroid]

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  1. Good for him.

    It’s good to see a success story like this. It might attract more developers to the Android Platform.

    The market could use some help though…

  2. Oh man, developing makes lots of money and has a bright future.

    But the problem is that I am not that into programming, what to do?:<

  3. What app?

  4. @Eddieistheillest


  5. Regardless of one’s computer science background a successful app is more of a crap shoot than anything else. Someone else posting the same kind of app at the wrong time or with a few variations may not have had the same success at all. Another way to get rich is to get a dime for every idea that some software company had that they were sure was going to make money and didn’t.

  6. I assume nobody proof reads their atricles before posting?

  7. amazing success story, i was astonished by the numbers of the ads revenues, it definitely encouraged me to work on a free app that’s ad supported

  8. I’m the developer of Electrum Drum Machine, and so far this year I’ve already made over $20,000 (after the 70% cut), I expect to reach $45K by the end of the year.


  9. Love all the developers and their apps on Android. I used to buy apps on iPhone but no more. All my money goes to Android apps now.

  10. Correction, since April 2009, when My Electrum Drum first came out, until now, I’ve made $32,219 (after the 30% cut) so far. Not bad…And the most money has been this year. Last month I made 4300

  11. Congrats Brad!

    How about those Robo Defense guys? They’ve sold over 250,000 copies (maybe even over 500,000 copies) of their game at $2.99 each. They deserve it too, that game is awesome.

  12. Ya I figure those Robo Defense guys must be in the high thousands, easily.


  13. Donationware is less fortunate. Of course, I pretty much encourage my users to not donate, but I have earned a total of roughly $9 through Floating Image.

    I’m not afraid of someone coming in cloning me, though, as it’s fairly complex. Even that guy who started releasing copies (the source code is free) haven’t had much of an impact on the download rate. Which is the thing, isn’t it. A lot of people come out with a really great idea and earn some money on that. But an app that has had real work put into it cannot just be killed by a similar app with variations, as it takes a lot of time to even get something on par.

  14. @Matt, you are right. “Better payment methods and paid apps in more countries are a just a few of thing complaints Aaron La registers.” WTF?!

  15. My app has made $25,304.67 since late March this year.

  16. Jesus. Good on him and all, but possibly the most annoying thing is that there isn’t a task manager built into any manufacturer’s build of Android, let alone the vanilla OS.

    However I suspect if anybody else wanted to make a fortune on a whim with a decent application at this point then they’d need Google to clean up the market a little.

  17. There is a task manager built into the OS. Android OS closes tasks as it needs to. Everyone told me I needed a Task manager when I went to android so I got it. Ran it for a year; then decided to remove it. The phone runs much better without it; at least in my case. The need for a task manager is way over rated.

  18. ditto, my droid1 is running just as fast or better without an app manager.

    however, i’m loving that people are making money off of app development. LOVE IT. way to go and congrats!

  19. @curt, Agreed. It’s unfortunate all his money was made on an app that truly is “worthless”, in that it is not needed, especially on higher end devices. Maybe it seemed to help on low end devices though.


  20. Nice.

    Brad, how many hours have you spent developing “My Electric Drum” so far?

  21. @ matt

    atricles???? How about you buddy? You are one to talk!!! SMH!

  22. i bought la’s advanced task manager back when I had a G1, and it was SOOOO slow on startup until i used it. his was the first to allow you to monitor services as well as end tasks with a widget (and have exceptions!).
    I still use it on my Nexus, and have used it on my previous Droid.
    Finally, I recommend the free version to any one using a phone that gets… slow, or has apps crash/become unusuable (this happens a lot when you are running nightly builds of custom roms).

  23. Congratulations Aaron! It is good to see that there are apps out there making money… and that users seem to be happy that there is success out there as well! It is a lot of risk and opportunity cost developing on this platform.

    Shameless plug from another developer :)
    For those looking to entertain a group of people from 4 – 20+ check out PhoneFraze or PhoneCharades… we have put our best foot forward in making some polished apps.

  24. I’m sure you people are paying taxes for these sales, right? If not, not smart to be talking about how much you’ve made.

  25. Um duh yes we’ve paid taxes

  26. What a bunch of tools

  27. Brad, Aaron and all other developers reading this.. Great work guys!! As a .NET, XHTML, Javascript, and C++ programmer I know all the hard work that goes into programming useful apps (especially ones that work smoothly). Congrats, you guys deserve all the money you’re getting! Keep on making us some great apps!

    Btw, if you’re already making this much off of one app, then how about expanding it to other related apps and have even more money rolling in?

  28. Yay! Good work guys.

    Brad2 – do you make money on registered versions or ad revenue? If both then what’s the breakdown? (if you’re willing to share the info that is).

    It’s great to hear people making reasonable sums of money as small one (or two) man (or woman) operations.

    If you’re (a) doing this or (b) thinking of doing this I recommend you read Micro ISV from Bob Walsh:

    And anything by Joel Spolsky:

    They both offer good insight into some of the non-coding aspects of this (although they’re from a pre-app-market period of time).

  29. Well, after google’s share and after income taxes, you only get to keep about half that. :-(

    You may be able to get away with not reporting a couple of thousand, but the IRS is not going to be happy if you “forget” to report $50,000

  30. Dont forget though the other advantage is you can deduct any business expenses now before paying those taxes. And another nice thing is you can deduct up to $5000 and you don’t have to itemize if you stay under that (user can use Schedule C EZ). So it’s not hard work to do the taxes correctly anyway. But yes after all the cuts you certainly wont be as high.

    @John, I have NO ad supported apps at all, all my numbers are from paid apps. I have two paid apps both in a similar genre. But only one is the core money earner right now. I also have an idea for a third app, but I want to finish some of the features in the second app before I move on. Maybe someday I can quit my full time job and do android development full time :)


  31. PROTIP: When you write “$77,000” you don’t have to add the word “dollars,” that’s what the funny little squiggle in front of 77,000 means.

    And bloggers wonder why people don’t take them seriously.

    As for the story itself, that’s great for Aaron and the rest, but those people are definitely the exception rather than the rule.

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