An interesting study caught my eye. When taken at face value, it proves that in order to really make money with apps you have to switch to the BlackBerry platform.
A company I never heard of, MPlayit (its URL curiously opens a Facebook page), is apparently creating an “app discovery app” on Facebook and polled its users about how much they’re willing to spend on apps.
Note immediately that this poll represents only the top of the market: the participants are people that are so interested in apps that they’re willing to use all kinds of tools to discover them. Besides, they’re all on Facebook. So they’re not representative of smartphone users at all. Still, they form an interesting market for app developers, so the research is relevant after all for anyone who’s trying to make money with apps.
Anyway, the result that caught my eye was the median price users were willing to pay. On iPhone it was $1.99, on Android $2.72, and on BlackBerry no less than $5.99!
The conclusion must be that if you really want to make money with apps, forget about the iPhone and switch to BlackBerry.
That’s ... unexpected. And interesting. I wonder how the Apple fanboys are going to talk themselves out of this one. Everybody knows only the iPhone is important, after all, so this report must be wrong.
The high price BlackBerry users who are already interested in apps are willing to pay is understandable. App-savvy BlackBerry users have nearly all got their phone from their employer, and they’re already used to downloading and using productivity apps. So the higher median price is likely to be caused by a cultural difference between BlackBerry and iPhone users.
Another interesting tidbit is the share of games in the “most popular apps“ (no definition given, unfortunately). On Android 21% of these apps are games, on BlackBerry 27%, and on iPhone a staggering 68%.
That confirms something I’ve been thinking about for a while: one of the unique selling points of the iPhone is that it’s a fantastic gaming platform. When I’m going to switch away from my iPhone (probably to an HTC Legend) I will nonetheless keep it around exactly because of its superior game quality.
Still, this could be a danger, too. If the iPhone becomes a gaming platform first and foremost, that might hurt other use cases, not so much in the mind of its users as in the mind of app developers. And that, in turn, might strengthen the iPhone’s profile as a gaming platform primarily.
We’ll see. The iPhone still has plenty of chances to break out of this circle. But it’s something to keep an eye on.
I’ll be around at the following conferences:
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