Where does your App make it’s money

This week has been just as crazy as any other week, but I guess that’s a good thing. Had a great time this week at my first every iOS Meetup (a sister group of TMUG). While the group was small, we had a great time sharing new apps and ideas about using our respective devices. This got me thinking about all the cool apps I’ve been using on my iPhone and iPad, and how over time I keep rotating which apps I use. I’ve tried multiple news readers (Flipboard, Feedly, and others), but always come back to Reeder. I’ve played with multiple Podcast players, but alwayes come back to Downcast. I play so many games, but pretty much always come back to a variant of Angry Birds.

And so, as a developer I wonder how do others make their decisions on whether to create a new app verses upgrading their existing apps. New Apps, tend to mean new revenue, while updates are free on iOS. I recently picked up an Android device, and have yet to buy any apps on it, but I am loading many of the same apps that I use on iOS. I am betting; however, that on Android you will be able to paid upgrades in the long term, without having to release a new app name. The reason I think this will be the case is that we are starting to see parity in the number of apps between platforms. But iOS still makes app developers more money. Developers will not be content to give out free versions of their app and the upgrade path on iOS will not allow your to access your data between versions; making it even more difficult for your users to experience a seamless upgrade.

A recent story on TechCrunch shows that for now iOS is still the dominate platform for developers to make money. While more and more developers are working on multiple versions of their app (across platform), Android will need to do something to help developer make more money on that platform if app parity is to continue. Right now developers are investing in market reach, but unless that reach is profitable, that investment should end.

The Gaming Community in RTP

It’s right around the corner! The East Coast Game Conference! I’ve gone a couple of times, and if I were not traveling overseas this year, I would certainly make my way to this conference. If you get a chance to go, I’d love to get some of your impressions of this year’s conference. Either comment to this entry, or let me know and I will collect the links for people.

The Facebook Phone

I was sitting in a long meeting yesterday, and had completely forgotten about the “big” Facebook announcement, when I saw a live stream tweet come across my screen. Figuring I could watch a live blog, and still provide the appropriate engagement in the meeting I was in, launched the link. To my surprise, it wasn’t a late April Fool’s joke, Facebook was announcing their Facebook Phone.

Well not really a phone, but a new app launcher for Android, which would replace your default launcher and wrap you up in the Facebook experience. My first reaction was, oh no! Here we go again, we are going back to Q-Link, Prodigy, and AOL. A closed ecosystem whose goal was to keep you locked up in their space. Then I realized, no, it’s not that bad… it’s worse!

Facebook’s value is you as a data source. That is why it is free. And by wedging itself between you and your apps, messaging, and phone service, they gain even more information about you. I even tweeted my worst case thought. As an app developer, there is some value in using Facebook as a sign-in message. You can get access to your users’ information, timeline, etc. The social graph that I get on our Facebook page provides all kinds of neat demographic data about the type of people who follow this site.

However, what if Facebook decides that they don’t want to launch your app on a Facebook phone?

The fact that many of the major carriers have immediately jumped on this and will be offering devices in days using this new interface as the default launcher (Can you opt out if you get one of the phones and don’t like it?), is another worrying event. Facebook also has made this capability available in the Android version of their App, so users can turn it on themselves as soon as the service is available! Given the history that Facebook has on user security policy and how confusing and complex they make their settings, all with the goal of getting more and more of your data out of you.

What do you think of yesterday’s announcement?