Despite the fact that all reports indicate Android dominates the smartphone market, being able to brag having an over 80% share, app revenue continues to lag behind Apple (by a shocking average of almost $4 million dollars per day). Understandably, Google would like to do something about that imbalance –especially with such a firm position as Android’s biggest cheerleader.
You’ve likely heard that there are statistics for anything, and generally they don’t mean much. In this case, the details aren’t known but would tell us a lot. Are there fewer paid apps in the Google Play Store as compared to the Apple App Store? Does the average price differ between the two stores? These and more questions abound.
One option Google is courting appears to be the idea of offering a trial version of paid apps and games. This would allow users to take things for a test drive before taking the plunge (even if it is just $0.99). My immediate question is how this might work. Most reporting on this news are suggesting Google would offer a smaller, specific portion of the app or game –making it a smaller download than the full version, and offering demo-like functionality.
This would be a mistake.
I don’t want to deal with or download an app twice. Even though the idea of a quick download and peek sounds romantic, it also seems like a lot of hassle –especially for something that may cost a dollar. Generally speaking, most apps aren’t that large anyway. Plus, a subset of the full functionality may not actually give an accurate forecast of what it would be like to use.
Is there a way it could work? With Google offering refunds when you dislike an app (if you decide quickly), I’m not sure it’s really necessary to offer a trial, but there may be marketing appeal for saying it’s available. I suppose I could be persuaded to support an expiry function, forcing you to either make the purchase or delete the app after a specific period of time… but only if it’s virtually effortless to do so.
None of this addresses the fact that Apple is already making far more money in their App Store than Google without offering this feature. Perhaps Google should consider other ways of monetizing apps that more closely mimic the competition they are trying to dominate.