Developers love the Android Market because there’s no approval process required, unlike in the Apple App Store. But that same freedom gives rise to one major problem: A lot of the apps in the Android Market aren’t that great.
Noah Bordner, a game developer, detailed his experience with his app, Battleheart, on Android in comparison to on iOS.
Apple has around 500,000 apps available on its iTunes App Store, while the Android Market currently has around 300,000 apps, though a recent report indicated that a full 32 percent of Android apps can not actually be downloaded, compared to 16 percent of iOS apps.
When it comes to making money, Bordner wrote that he was surprised by his success selling his paid app on the Android Market. Revenue from Android, he says, is within 80 percent of what it is on iOS. He attributed this success to the fact that Battleheart is within the top 50 on Android. Though the iOS version of Battleheart is not in the top 200, it still outsells the Android version.
Bordner actually writes that “a polished, high quality product is more likely to be embraced on Android than on iOS because the quality bar on the android market is so pathetically low.” Battleheart is reviewed more highly and more often on Android, which he credits to a “lack of competition.”
But Bordner also expressed his frustration at the administrative snafus that characterize the Android experience, calling the market a “loud, obnoxious baby.” He described being bombarded daily by emails from users having download and installation problems that stem from Android Market and Android OS issues rather than from the app itself.
“Based on the amount of e-mails I get every day, download problems affect 1-2% of all buyers, or in more practical terms, somewhere between two and three shit-loads,” he wrote.
Even worse, he wrote, Android developers must be vendors through Google Checkout, making them responsible for dealing with billing issues, like refunds–on iOS, Apple deals with these problems.
“There are days where I just want to pull the plug on the whole thing because I’m sick of 12 year olds (or people with comparable communication skills) trying to convince me they’ve been wronged and I should give them their 3 dollars back,” he wrote. “I just remind myself that my user review average would indicate that it’s a vocal minority that has these problems, and I shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”
He later clarified,
Just to be clear (since I’m getting more traffic than expected), my experience with Android has been overwhelmingly positive, and I have every intention of continuing to support the platform. It’s just that without the iTunes “shield” between myself and customer, I’m having to wear my customer service hat a lot more than I’m used to.
Bordner is not the only one to malign the Android app store. Apple recently criticized Android apps for being struck with high levels of security risks, referring to the high number of malware-infected apps that have had to be removed since the store’s inception.
Other critics have bemoaned the fragmentation that results from Android’s running on different platforms, as well as from the various different app stores that are offered. A full 86 percent of surveyed developers saw this fragmentation as an issue. Apple, on the other hand, has one app store and one platform, an advantage Steve Jobs has repeatedly touted.