Mobile applications are everything. I feel like I've said it a million times (probably because I have). And to make all of my devices more interesting, I try to keep an eye out for any new ones that will make my life easier or more enjoyable. Over the course of five years or so, I've come across a lot of apps. Too many.
Not every app comes without its price, though.
In comparison to PC software, mobile applications that do similar things are relatively inexpensive. For instance, Quickoffice Pro, an office suite for both iOS and Android, costs a mere $14.99 (plus applicable taxes). Microsoft Office 2010, on the other hand, starts at $119.95 and jumps to $349.95 for professional versions. While it (along with most other mobile-based office suites) is missing some pretty major features of desktop software, mobile versions are more than most users will ever need.
While $14.99 is a fairly common price among more functional apps that try to blur the lines between mobile and desktop software, most applications are free or much cheaper. The vast majority of applications are ad supported "lite" versions with "pro" or "premium" versions that remove ads for a few dollars. And a plethora of $0.99 apps can be found throughout every mobile app store.
The price of these apps, however, vary greatly between operating systems. An example of this can be found in some of my most recent top five app lists. Pocket Informant (tablet) costs $12.99 on iOS and only $9.99 on Android. On the other hand, Death Worm costs $0.99 on iOS while it's $2.99 for Android users.
Coming from Tom's Guide, a recent report from Canalys that Android apps, on average, cost more than iOS applications. In the US, the top 100 paid apps in Android Market sum to $374.37, an average of $3.74 per application. The top 100 paid apps in App Store for iOS would cost a total of $147.00, or $1.47 on average per app. It's worth noting that these top 100 applications are of a different breed, though, as only 19 apps appeared in both stores' top 100 paid apps list. And 82 of those 100 apps on iOS cost $0.99. Only 22 top 100 paid Android apps cost $0.99. The top 10 and 20 paid apps for Android cost and average of $3.47 and $4.09, respectively. For iOS, the top 10 and 20 paid apps cost an average of $0.99 and $1.04, respectively.
Still, when you consider what you get for the price, it's not a bad deal, even if you pay a little more on Android than you would on iOS.
I, personally, have no problem with putting up a little money for some extremely functional applications. I don't know the actual number, but I've put somewhere around $200 into applications for both iOS and Android in the past two years. Most of those apps were less than $5, though.
That said, I have been known to purchase some slightly more expensive applications at times. When the Adobe Touch Apps Family was announced, I could barely contain myself. As soon as Photoshop Touch and Adobe Proto hit Android Market, I didn't think twice about purchasing them both at $9.99 a pop. And I've been debating the others, too, but they're not as important to me as Photoshop or a wireframing app were. And back when I bought the original iPad, I couldn't turn down the opportunity to buy KORG's iElectribe app while it was 50 percent off for $10 (full price is $19.99).
A few months ago, SPB Shell 3D, a launcher replacement app appeared on Android Market for a mind-blowing $14.95. Most other launcher replacement applications are either free or under $5. But SPB offered some unique features and is well worth the money, depending on who you ask. With over 27,000 reviews, it touts a respectable 4.1 (out of 5.0) rating.
As if SPB wasn't expensive or fancy enough, though, yet another launcher replacement entered the Market on Leap Day, TSF Shell. After watching the demonstration video (seriously, watch it), it's hard not to want TSF Shell. The actual look of the launcher is ... okay. But the way that you can setup and navigate your home screens is totally different from stock Android. It seems more intuitive and quick, although I'm sure there's a bit of a learning curve. That said, TSF Shell is even more expensive. It will set you back a whopping $16.80.
I have no problem putting the money down if the software is worth the money. But I'm having a bit of a struggle over whether a launcher replacement app is really worth nearly $17. Then again, $17 is nothing compared to CrackBerry Kevin's ill-advised purchase of a $500 Desktop Clock App for his BlackBerry. Maybe I should just suck it up.
Tell me, folks, what is the most expensive application you have bought to date? What is the most money you're willing to put down for a mobile application? $10? $20? $500? Have you ever had buyer's remorse after the fact?