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Developer Makes $13k/month on Android App

03.02.2010
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Edward Kim, an independent Android developer, says he is now making $13,000 a month selling his "car locator" Android application on the Android Marketplace.  Even though it's no where near the highest profits coming out of the Apple App Store, it's still a healthy sign for growth in the Android Marketplace and the legitimacy of Android development.  Kim offers some useful advice for mobile developers through his experiences in the Android development space.

The "car locator" application itself is fairly basic.  It saves your parking location and gives you a google map displaying your location and the location of your car.  The app also records how long you've been parked (great for paid parking) and your distance from the car.  The application has been out for five months, but it took about two months for it to get noticed.  After it started to average $20/day, winning 3rd place in Google's Android Developer Challenge 2 probably helped boost sales.

                                   

What really took sales over the edge, Kim says, is when his application became a featured app on the Android Marketplace.  Before that, Kim's app had made it up to $80-$100/day.  After being featured, the app started netting $435/day on average with a record of $772 on Valentine's Day.

Tips from Kim:
He says that there are clear peaks in sales on weekends and holidays.  Unlike the iPhone App store, the featured apps in the Android Marketplace are cycled in and out of the featured apps list in a "pseudo-radom fashion."  This means that more apps get a chance to be featured.  Kim also had some interesting price observations.  After his app had gained more popularity, he increased the price from $1.99 to $3.99.  Even though he doubled the price, Kim says the number of purchases did not decrease by half.  He thinks Android users have a willingness to pay more than $2 for an app.

Kim also said that piracy is a growing problem on the Android Marketplace.  He found links where people could download the .apk file for his app without paying, but he says he's not too worried about it.  He would really like to see some statistics on Android piracy.  

Edward Kim's success story proves that if your app is good, you can make enough to live on.  The continued success of Android developers will undoubtedly entice new developers to join the ecosystem and grow the Android platform.  Kim addresses developers in the last paragraph of his blog saying,  "If Android development is something you've been mulling over, I encourage you to make the leap. Though my experiences are clearly not typical, I definitely think Android is the ideal platform to be in for an individual developer."  Kim believes that the Android app economy is currently only a small fraction of what it will become.

Comments

Joseph Schmidt replied on Wed, 2010/03/03 - 5:31am

Somehow I don't buy this.

This looks to me like the exception from the rule.

Most users complaint that Google Checkout is very user unfriendly and they can't handle it - so most of the time, they simply don't buy because of it.  Since Google Checkout is the only option to pay, no wonder that there are so many pirated apps.

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