The Hills Are Greener: No Freedom

The Hills Are Greener: No Freedom

Feb 6, 2012

About every week or so, it seems as if GetJar announces that they have a new free app or game available, often from some big-name publisher: Sega and Gameloft in particular have taken part in the program recently. I ask myself why they would do this, what’s the potential benefit? The thing is, these developers can’t actually give their paid apps away for free on the Android Market because of store policy. Let’s not even mention the lack of promo codes on the Android Market. It makes promotion of apps by giving them away for free impossible…on the Android Market.

So, basically GetJar can function as Android’s FreeAppADay, or one of the other many similar services on iOS – they can help push paid apps by promoting the free downloads of them on their service. Hypothetically, developers would pay for this service as they do on FAAD, and thus would hopefully make money by driving additional sales to the paid app through word of mouth and by driving visibility of the app on the free charts.

Of course, the issue is that by not being on the same app store as where the paid apps they’re trying to eventually push. Apps that involve freemium elements might get a push regardless, because of increased users buying in-app purchases. However, this disconnect between where apps are being sold and where they’re being given away for free makes it more difficult for this to work effectively. Perhaps GetJar is financially compensating for this. (Editor’s Note: A developer has confirmed to us that larger free apps do receive compensation from GetJar)

While FAAD is a mixed bag on iOS, it is sometthing that the developers of Temple Run have sworn by as the spearhead for the game’s massive success, by transitioning from paid to free using their promotions.

This policy on Android of no free to paid transitions is one that Google needs to re-evaluate. Dropping to free is a valuable promotional tool, and it’s something that is clearly driving developers to a service like GetJar, if it’s the best option for doing so right now. But if developers are going to use Android as a platform to sell their apps, they need to have the same flexibility and tools that they have on the iOS App Store. To not do so is to put them at a disadvantage.

The Hills Are Greener: Ratio Rationale

The Hills Are Greener: Ratio Rationale

Sep 12, 2011

As reported by ReadWriteWeb, Research2Guidance has analysis on the percentage of daily downloads that app stores are getting in comparison to the iOS App Store, and they show that the two primary app platforms, the iOS App Store and Android Market, are paling in comparison to other, smaller platforms.

The first interesting sign is that users of the two primary mobile platforms, iOS and Android are downloading fewer apps than users of other stores. In particular, Windows Phone 7 owners are downloading apps at an 80% higher rate than on the iOS App Store, with the Android Market falling 5% behind the App Store. No numbers were given for third-party markets on any platform, it appears, such as Amazon Appstore. Nokia’s Symbian operating system may be relatively unknown to the current smartphone userbase, but some how it gets 160% more downloads from its OVI Store than the iOS App Store! Even BlackBerry owners are downloading more apps per user than the iOS App Store. Are users of these other platforms more enthusiast-focused audiences versus more casual userbases on iOS and Android?

Still, the numbers are kind of shocking. Well, except for Palm users not downloading apps on a daily basis at all, it seems. Still, GetJar being 90% lesser in terms of app downloads compared to the App Store is kind of sad considering all of GetJar’s apps are free, though in many cases this may be because users on GetJar’s platforms are just getting those apps from the platform’s primary app store.

Most interesting is the sign that the Android Market doesn’t actually lag behind the iOs App Store as far as one might think. Users are downloading apps on Android at only a 5% lesser rate than on iOS. This doesn’t sound good, but given the repuation of Android as a revenue sinkhole, data showing that this isn’t really the case is ultimately good. The platform is still lagging behind the iOS App Store when it comes to apps, but it’s catching up in terms of the number of apps that are being downloaded.

It will be interesting to revisit these numbers at some point in the future, to see how the Android Market in particular fares with the App Store as the OS continues to expand. Who knows what the numbers will look like a year from now, or even just a few months later?

GetJar Launches Free Paid Apps Program, GetJar Gold

GetJar Launches Free Paid Apps Program, GetJar Gold

Aug 8, 2011

Third-party app stores have to have some kind of way to attract eyeballs to them instead of the Android Market, and GetJar is trying many different methods to do this, from offering exclusively free titles to the exclusive launch of Cut the Rope, to even taking on the Apple behemoth directly. Now, they appear to be taking on the Amazon AppStore with a free app gambit of their own: GetJar Gold.

GetJar Gold differs from the Amazon AppStore’s free app of the day program by offering a variety of apps at one time for free. The service has launched with apps like Age of Zombies, SwiftKey X, and The Moron Test for free. There are 9 apps currently available for free, with a couple of sponsored listings on the page as well. This offering of multiple free apps simultaneously differs from Amazon’s one featured free app per 24 hours system, and it may lead to apps being able to be displayed on GetJar Gold for longer than 24 hours. This could be more lucrative for those looking to build their userbases, as the Amazon AppStore’s 24 hour featured window only provides a small burst.

While the continuation of the free application model on Android may have drawbacks, especially making it more difficult for premium application developers to sell their apps, Android users clearly have a taste for free applications, and there is competition with so many free apps out there. Free to play games are lucrative business on the iOS App Store, and with the in-app purchase mechanisms on Android, free app distribution could become a lucrative channel at some point, even if the app is normally paid. Having this feature ability, and having something not as time-limited, could be a boon for those trying to use free price drops to draw attention. Right now, the apps are primarily from larger-name developers, but having a blend of big-name and small-name apps on the same page could draw attention in ways that the Amazon AppStore does not.

GetJar Gold can be accessed by visiting GetJar’s site from the Android browser; after installing a helper application, apps can be browsed and downloaded from the browser without registration, though Facebook Connect is available for tracking and sharing apps on GetJar.

Cut the Rope Review

Cut the Rope Review

Jun 24, 2011

Cut the Rope has finally made its way to Android. This puzzle game features gameplay that is exactly what it says on the tin – ropes need to be cut to get the candy from the starting point into the adorable Om Nom’s mouth. Along the way, there are three stars to collect; unlike Angry Birds, where 3 stars are based on some arbitrary point value, getting 3 stars in a level means actually collecting all 3 stars in a level. Later levels introduce things like bubbles that float a candy up toward the top of the screen, air gusts that can blow the candy around, and other things that make the game more about than just rope-cutting. The game comes with 7 level packs, comprising 175 levels total.

The fun of Cut the Rope comes from the simple gameplay that quickly turns ingenious; the game starts to add a lot of elements gradually to make the experience vary as it goes on. The controls never get overly complex, as everything is directly interacted with through taps and gestures. The game also features achievements and high scores through Scoreloop. The Android version is a great transition from the iOS version; the gameplay has translated perfectly to Android, and ZeptoLab made the game run on different resolutions perfectly without any skewed aspect ratios, unlike PopCap’s Android ports. All the content from the iOS version is here as well. The game is also a free download, with small banner ads displayed at the title screen and between levels.

The Android port is not without its issues, at least right away; the game occasionally doesn’t load on the Samsung Galaxy S, and requires to be closed out before relaunching. Some levels won’t load as well; the experience may vary based on phone model, of course. The game’s later content is locked away right from the beginning, so people who may have played the game on iOS a while back and haven’t gotten to check out the new content will have to play through the old content to get back to that point.

Cut the Rope is yet another fun game brought to Android. While more original content would be great, getting games like this on Android is only a positive. It is a free download, and the ads are unobtrusive. Go to the GetJar store and download the game now, although it will be propagating to other app stores in the near future.

Digital Chocolate Makes Its Android Debut via GetJar

Digital Chocolate Makes Its Android Debut via GetJar

Jan 11, 2011

Digital Chocolate announced their Android debut today bringing with it two of their hit titles Millionaire City and MMA Pro Fighter. Digital Chocolate has rapidly emerged as a leader in new digital media and social games and has become the fastest growing virtual goods game company on Facebook. Best known for Millionaire City, MMA Pro Fighter, Rollercoaster Rush and Tower Bloxx, Digital Chocolate has decided to break into the Android market, only they aren’t doing it via the Android Market.