The Android is gaining ground on the iPhone app market. The last count of applications shows Apple’s App Store at approximately 325,000 apps and the Android Market at about 150,000 to 175,000 apps, depending on who you believe. Sales of Android phones (as of January 2011) have also gained ground on the iPhone, equalling their quarterly sales. There’s no doubt the Android juggernaut is gaining momentum across the board, and Android has made some much needed changes to the Android Market to keep pace.
Improved Buyer Experience
Google has recognized the need to improve its app sales process and has recently made improvements to the Android Market to allow developers to better market their apps. The improvements are being rolled out now and give developers new and enhanced features to assist in marketing their apps. For starters, Google now allows buyers of apps to have their AT&T or Verizon accounts billed for app purchases. This makes it a lot easier for some who prefer not to use a credit card to purchase their Android apps.
Another example: The number of app screenshots on the store has been increased from two to eight. This is significant because pictures help sell products and services, and selling an Android app is no different. Customers want to see as much of the app as possible before they buy. App developers can also link to YouTube videos of their apps, showing them in action which will also help showcase them and improve sales. Every app developer who wants to improve their sales should make use of all eight screenshots and create a YouTube video. The more ways you can let your prospect experience your app, the more likely they are to buy it. A video is one of the best ways to let a potential buyer experience your app before buying.
And another new Android Market feature (currently found in the Apple App Store) is the ability for developers to publish release notes detailing updates or changes with each new version of an app. The ability to view these updates is important, and allows potential customers to review updates for specific features they are looking for in an app before they buy. Content ratings have been added along with error reporting capability, which helps developers create a connection with their customer.
App listings have been redone on the Android Market so that each app is viewable on a single page. This allows an app to be showcased with all pertinent information without having to navigate over several pages, and increases the likelihood that someone will purchase it because he can readily view it. Any phone running Android version 1.6 and higher can take advantage of this new feature.
Google has also made a major overhaul to its user interface with its ability to highlight apps in a “carousel” fashion on the front page of your phone. New categories such as live wallpapers have been added as well, making the app review process much easier and more inviting. Google has also tightened its app return policy from 24 hours to 15 minutes, which means hopefully less returns for app developers.