"You're a software engineer, and you desperately want to make a living doing what you love. Unfortunately, the platform you've embraced seems to be working against you. Action!"
Programming for the Apple App Store is tantalizing because there are just so many success stories. Coders around the world are quitting their day jobs to work full-time on their next iPhone app, or even to retire on the profits from their first.
These instances are rare of course, but not unheard of. And sampling the population of developers who are just able to get by strictly on App Store sales would surely give you a larger number. Paying the bills is a real possibility. Not so for third-party Android programmers. I have yet to hear of a single coder who is making noteworthy profits.
William Volk over at The Huffington Post (check his article for numbers from the Apple App Store and the Android Market) selects some choice quotes from an Android discussion forum to highlight the problem:
"The sales aren't disappointing; they are jaw-droppingly terrible."
"I got nearly a hundred thousand downloads of my [FREE] demo, but the sales of the (very highly rated) priced version have been appalling. And I'm ABOVE Guitar Hero in the rankings, for Heaven's sake!"
I'm no businessman, and I can't evaluate the accuracy of Volk's assessment of Google Checkout's culpability in the lackluster sales or the return policy's actual impact on final numbers.
What I can say is that the Market needs work. One million G1's have been sold, and the shop still feels like a rolling hot dog stand. A large one - possibly a burrito trailer - but it's time for a major overhaul.
Maybe it's time to up the ante and increase QC at the door. Apps could be billed to our carrier account, as Volk suggests (please don't do that - the cost would likely double). Perhaps we should be able to pay via Paypal. I don't know what the solution is, but I know that I still can't sort my purchases alphabetically.