In support of paid apps

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Mobile Apps

Mobile app development can be a tricky minefield. An individual may have jumped into mobile app development as an enthusiast. This is usually at a young age, full of ideals and without a lot of responsibilities. Usually, life happens to him and suddenly the picture changes – bills and obligations.


From that point on, he must find a way to strike a balance between enthusiasm and business, or he will end up a very broke enthusiast.

I think that commercial apps should be supported more by users. I’m not a fan of the (often ad-supported) free model. In my opinion, it sucks. People should be paid for the skills, resources and time that they put into the apps that they make. If they are not, a number of consequences are possible.

One, the developer may eventually pack things up and go find a real job. Perhaps he becomes a banker or takes a desk at a telecoms operator. Or even opens a shop somewhere. I don’t blame him. He lives in the same world that you do – a world of bills and obligations.


Another option, which is related to packing it up, is that he may sell out. You may have heard that a particular mobile service or app has been acquired and then shut down by the new owners. Usually, the company/business was acquired for the talents of the developers.

Remember Torch Mobile, makers of the superb Iris web browser years back? It was acquired by RIM, the browser discontinued and the team set to create the excellent new browsers that we now see on BlackBerry smartphones and on the PlayBook. That’s an example of talent acquisition.

Talent acquisition means that your favourite app or service is shut down because it likely isn’t profitable enough for the developers to refuse an acquisition offer. Of course, there may be other reasons. I loved Iris web browser. It was a free app. I missed it when it was shut down. That is what talent acquisition does.

Put yourself in a developer’s shoes for a minute. If I was making a great mobile web browser that is free or being sold for pittance, and I was offered several million dollars in acquisition, I’m not crazy! I’ll take the deal too and smile home to my wife and kids.

I want to see app developers properly appreciated. Paid. Like everyone else. That’s not too much to ask. Or is it?


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17 comments

  1. I have no problem with paying for apps. Only issue being that one should be able to try them out before purchasing, or the option of being refunded if one is not satisfied with the purchase. The 15 minute window period for refund on Google store is grossly inadequate.
    I have quick office HD and Documents to go on my tablet but I was not satisfied with either of them. I eventually got Kingston Office, which is free, and it offered me the functionality the two paid apps could not offer me.

  2. I don’t support anything that is free because nothing is free in life. But the only challenge is the payment option our banking and payments system is not in conformity with international standards thereby denying millions of people from paying if not for free applications our devices will be useless in this part of the world.

  3. Personally, I have no issues paying for app however, it’s a bit tricky. I have paid for certain apps only to discover they didn’t meet my needs. For instance bought the swift 3 tablet keyboard app only to realise that it offered nothing special from the default Samsung keyboard. Now I hardly use it. I also have free apps to provide functionality that some paid apps don’t provide. Normally, l avoid free apps but in some instances , I mark an exception.

    As Austin rightly pointed out, the 15 minute window for apps refund on Google play is too short, we should be given reasonable time try out apps to see if it meets our needs.

    I use my GTB issued MasterCard for purchases on Google Play and I have never had any issues with payment.

  4. I support purchase of paid apps. Must have spent about $300 on paid apps, both on android and iOS. Though some may not really meet those needs of yours as rightly mentioned earlier. The trial window on android play store needs to be reviewed and increased.
    @keweno, I think a lot of work went into swiftkey 3. You cannot compare it to the Samsung keyboard at all. Its predictions are outstanding if you are typing English vocabulary. You can type out your sentences without pressing the space key and it will automatically space all your words for you correctly. I think its worth every penny. The company that developed the app was recently featured on CNN as one of the most promising young businesses today.

  5. There’s nothing bad in paying for apps. Infact, some paid apps are so lovely compared to the token you dropped.
    I recently bought Gravity twitter client from a friend and I’m seriously enjoying it on my s60 device.

    Yes! Paid apps are good but watch out (Especially in Nigeria where opportunities to purchase online are still a bit difficult).

  6. a few points.
    Paid apps are the sustainable apps but the question is who is paying? The end user? Advert companies? Some other less-than-clear third party? someone’s gotta pay!
    Come to think of it, a lot of very good tech things we enjoy are free (at least to the end user) emails, Opera mini browser, base subscriptions of skydrive, desktop browsers etc.
    It all boils down to the business model one adopts.

  7. I think there is room for the ad-supported model in the mobile app ecosystem and this is evident in a lot of succesful free ad_supported apps in the different app stores today. I think the kind of app being developed determines the best model of revenue generation to be used. If the app is a mass market app, i.e one that would be useful to potentially all users of that mobile OS ecosystem, then the ad-supported model becomes a viable option because, despite the fact that the renumeration per user is low, the fact that your app is free would open it up to a wider user base which would in turn rake in more revenues for the developer. If you’re developing a niche app though, you’ll do well to stick to the paid model because, even though this would mean you will not get as many users as you might have if your app was free, you probably wouldn’t get as many users to make an ad-supported model profitable anyway, so make d little cash you can!.

  8. There are number of reasons software companies may be acquired, both big and small, profitable and non-profitable, and paying for apps is no guarantee that a software company will never be a acquired or go under.

    We are living in a world where if you intend to remain relevant in the software business, you need to keep innovating and that means, where upcoming software companies are not stymied with bullying and patent litigation like Apple and Microsoft like doing, the new companies need to innovate really hard to be noticed and may need to offer there software for free to make their software very popular in a short time.

    It is the responsibility of every new software company to fashion out a business model for them to operate and be profitable as well as being very competitive. A software company that choose to offer its product free first to make it popular and probably taking market share from some other bigger and established companies should be well prepared to endure similar fate when it starts charging money for its product.

    If I’m obliged to support software companies that make good products that I use, my payment is not always a guarantee that there business will not be acquired or that they won’t go under someday because of the effect of competition. Even if I’m paying for a software and a better one comes up that is offered for free or otherwise, should I stick with them just so they don’t disappear from the software scene?

    Many people believed that QuickOffice that was acquired by Google recently is the best there is for most mobile platforms and yet they sold out to Google. My conclusion is that it is not the duty of users to keep companies afloat but the duty of the software companies themselves to fashion out a business model and software solutions that will help them withstand competition and remain in business profitably.

  9. I eventually got
    Kingston Office, which is
    free, and it offered me the
    functionality the two paid
    apps could not offer me.

    I have the Windows DeskTop Version of Being happy with it, I tried out the Android version when you mentioned it.

    I found it cannot do word_reflow when previewing PDF dox. That is a BIG let_down.

    Having to pan incessantly from left to right is not my idea of fun.

    Being a free app, i suppose i have no moral justification to complain.

    Am sticking to the preinstalled Adobe Reader for PDF dox reading…# uninstalling immediately

  10. I eventually got
    Kingston Office, which is
    free, and it offered me the
    functionality the two paid
    apps could not offer me.

    I suppose you mean ?

    I have the Windows DeskTop Version of Being happy with it, I tried out the Android version when you mentioned it.

    I found it cannot do word_reflow when previewing PDF dox. That is a BIG let_down.

    Having to pan incessantly from left to right is not my idea of fun.

    Being a free app, i suppose i have no moral justification to complain.

    Am sticking to the preinstalled Adobe Reader for PDF dox reading…# uninstalling immediately

  11. I meant Kingston Office. I was actually referring to the spreadsheet functionality.
    As a matter of fact, in my quest for a good mobile spreadsheet application, I once purchased Kingsoft office, but quickly asked for a refund when it did not meet my need.

  12. My major problem with paid apps is paying for them and that’s why I’m with NQSecurity ’cause they simply deduct your bill from your airtime without fuss 😀

    Some apps don’t offer trials and thus there’s no way I’m trusting them with my hard earned cash. Ain’t nothing as annoying as buying an app only to realise that a free app exists that performs better than it.

  13. While I’m all in favour of paying for apps, my big problem with some apps is that they don’t offer a paid alternative.

    For example, I have a great word game from Magma Mobile. There is no way I can pay for it, a paid option isn’t available so either I look for a paid alternative or put up with the ads.

    Fact is, paid apps keep the money coming in for developers in a way a one-off app payment doesn’t. So when a company gets bought out, it’s usually with the contention of seeing the survival of its product,even if it’s merged with another product. For smaller developers, in-app ads are a necessary evil for their continued survival.

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