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5 Responses to Discussion

  1. Bruce says:

    Since the late 1980s, I have been an active participant in the electronic organizer -> PDA -> Smartphone evolution that included HP, TI, Palm, Treo, Sony, RIM, iPhone, and now an Android (Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant).

    So, while I am very fond of the iPhone and its revolutionary approach, I sold mine in anticipation of a new breed of Android that in my opinion now delivers a superior product. I have disappoint in only one regard, that some of the high quality apps available from Apple’s App Store are not also available for the Android Market. My hunch is that Android will gain momentum over Apple in the coming months, especially in light Apple’s antenna troubles.

    In summary, Android is legitimate. We need developers to publish quality apps, like Economy, for both platforms. Please hurry. Thanks.

    • Ram says:

      Thanks for the kind words about the Economy app, Bruce. I’m glad you like the app.

      I agree that Android market share is increasing and that the antenna troubles will hurt Apple. I was impressed with the Android beta when I built my first Android app (this was long before the first Android phone launched)

      However, my assessment is that, for now, the market for paid Android apps is too small (in terms of revenue potential). So we don’t have any immediate plans to build Android apps. Of course, this could change at a later point of time (and I’ll email you if that happens)

      As I mentioned in last month’s post, many developers with apps on both platforms have suggested that the revenue generated from an Android app is generally 10-20% of the corresponding revenue of an identical iPhone app. That post also provides additional analysis/comparison of the mobile platforms.

      A couple of recent reports provide some additional data on the two app stores. One report indicates that the average Android user spends an estimated $0.50 on all applications, while the average iPhone user spends an estimated $5.00 on all applications. Another blog pointed that no paid Android app has exceeded 250,000 downloads and only 13 paid apps have exceeded 50,000 downloads in their whole lifetime. These are tiny numbers when compared to top iPhone apps. For instance, the current #1 iPhone app (“Angry Birds” app made by a small company) has exceeded 4 million downloads in less than 4 months. Of course, paid news apps typically get much lesser downloads that paid apps in other categories such as games, entertainment, productivity, sports, music, photography etc. So unless the apps are inexpensive to build, it makes even lesser financial sense for iPhone news-related-app developers to port their apps to Android.

      This disparity in revenue potential explains why many good iPhone developers don’t create Android apps and I think that this explains why you found that “some of the high quality apps available from Apple’s App Store are not also available for the Android Market.” It is possible that this revenue disparity will shrink or go away at some future point, but I don’t see that happening in the near-term.

      • Ram says:

        As a follow-up to the parent comment… occasionally, we get emails asking for Android apps and I replied to the latest email today afternoon.

        Unfortunately, at this time, I don’t see Android as a viable platform for most non-trivial paid apps.

        Numbers mentioned in the parent comment made the point of how Apple’s app store compares with Android’s Market. In addition, as this recent TechCrunch post points out, Apple’s app store revenue is more than 17 times higher than that of Android’s market.
        To add insult to injury, Android is not even in 2nd place. With only 4.7% of revenue share, Android is 4th, behind Blackberry App World (7.7%), Nokia Ovi store (4.9%) and Apple’s app store (82.7%)

  2. Alexander Polsky says:

    Hi there,

    I’d like to echo the praise for your applications. So much of public discussion occurs in a “data-free” zone, and that’s damaging to our democracy.

    There is one missing bit of functionality which I think would add value: statistical significance. The iPhone app compresses scales data to fill the screen when it graphs, but this can leave a misleading impression of magnitude. Take, for example, the data on health insurance coverage, which takes a range of values from %86.3 to %84.2 — and scales the Y axis with the lower number as a lower bound and the higher number as the ceiling.

    It’s not clear that there’s any statistical significance to difference in these values, and a graph doesn’t actually help anwer the question: “is there any real effect here, or are we looking at noise?”

    On that score, it would also be very helpful if the data series had a “more information” button which identified just what series we’re looking at.

    PS: i would purchase an “Historical Statistics of the United States” app (eg https://www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/statab.html )

    • Ram says:

      Thanks for the praise and for the feedback.
      I agree with your commentary about public discussion. People often tend to argue with opinions instead of facts. Opinionated tv/radio news shows tend to be far more popular than objective news programs and that problem is just the tip of the iceberg. In a column yesterday, Bob Herbert writes “instead of exercising the appropriate mental muscles, we’re allowing ourselves to become a nation of nitwits, obsessed with the comings and goings of Lindsay Lohan and increasingly oblivious to crucially important societal issues that are all but screaming for attention.”

      With respect to app functionality, I agree with your point about statistical significance.
      The “Info” button on the top of the page provides some additional information for most economic indicators, but it doesn’t provide suggestions on how to interpret small changes such as the change in unemployment rate from 9.7% to 9.5%.
      Providing a graph option to let users change the scale (e.g. 0 to max-value instead of minValue-to-maxValue) will alleviate the problem a bit, but this needs to be weighed against increased complexity of the user interface (for users) and minor increase in code complexity (for implementing the feature). Given these tradeoffs, it seems like retaining the current user interface may be a good option.

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