Why Android development is not a priority

The last few weeks have seen a lot of attention given to a report from IHS Screen Digest giving the overall amount of revenue being generated through Apple’s AppStore, RIM’s AppWorld, and Google’s Android Market. While Apple’s store is far and away larger then the others, what I found interesting is how BlackBerry AppWorld continues to generate significantly more revenue then Android’s market, and gave some numerical confirmation to some gut feelings I had in regards to the Android ecosystem.

Given Android’s growth over the past year, many people have suggested that I spend some time developing for the platform. However there does not appear to be as much of a market there as one would think based on the number of devices sold. As shown in the above chart significantly more money was spent on BlackBerry applications despite there being more applications available for Android. Not only does the platform have a reputation for mostly free applications, as shown in the below chart even the paid applications are not making as much money.

Jeff Bacon compared these numbers based on the number of applications in each store. The most interesting of these comparisons is revenue per paid application as show in the chart below.

Not only does RIM do much better then all other platforms, but Android in particular does exceptionally poorly. By not including the free applications, you can see that Android’s problem is not only an expectation of free, but that the paid applications to do exist, are not making all that much money either.

As such, while Android remains an interesting platform, there is no compelling reason to focus on it when such work would have to come at the expense of BlackBerry development.

See also Is Android the new Linux?