As reported by VentureBeat and others today – Apple has pulled the extremely popular AppGratis from the app store for violating two provisions of the App Store guidelines:
2.25 – Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected.
5.6 Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind.
While these provisions have been there for a while, there have been very little known enforcement until now. The practice of cross promoting other apps in an app you own via display or push notification is commonplace, and frankly is one of the major ways that app developers can earn revenue.
Particularly of concern is the enforcement of 5.6. A number of apps in the app store today are what I would categorize as “App Discovery” apps – their entire purpose is to facilitate their users to find new apps in the App Store, particularly free ones or ones that go from paid to free. Some examples of these would be:
and plenty more. Most of these apps use push notification to let their users know what apps have gone free or on sale – keeping the user from having to remember to open and check each app every single day. As users – they download these apps specifically for this purpose, opting-in to push notification and with the ability to quickly and easily opt-out if they decide the advertising is not something they wanted in the first place.
App discovery in iTunes is a major problem that gets worse each year. As more and more apps enter the App Store (with few leaving), the ability for new apps to get discovered, or existing apps to stay competitive gets harder and harder. Large developers and brands have the ability to spend big bucks on advertising – but the smaller developer with less resources often only has one good shot at buying advertising due to the cost, and need to get the apps rank high enough for the organic boost that comes from being well ranked in iTunes.
App discovery apps help solve this problem by giving smaller developers the ability to boost their ranking up through a targeted burst of ads. Because push notifications can be delivered to users at a rapid pace, they are able to drive downloads rapidly – and the rate of download of an app seems to be one of the main factors in determining an apps rank. The same number of downloads achieved through display advertising will generally not drive the same lift in rank because with display ads – you have to wait until a user goes into another app, sees an ad, and chooses to click on it and follow through with a download. A process which can take much longer, and has much lower conversion rate leading to a higher cost for the developer.
App discovery apps are also big business. AppGratis claims almost 10 million users, and has $13.5 million dollars in venture backing to support it’s rapid user acquisition. With app ranking being so important to discovery, developers are willing to pay big bucks (and give up revenue by making their app free) in the hope that the burst of new users will create a viral effect and people will start to share the app with friends, or buy select in-app-purchases. After what is often hundreds of hours of development time, it is important that they can drive revenue and put food on their table so that they will continue to improve their apps – a benefit to everyone who owns an iPhone or iPad.
We understood when Apple banned TapJoy’s incentive’s download model – it encouraged downloads of apps not because someone wanted the app, but because they wanted the incentive, creating artificial rank boosts where there was no real interest. We also understood and appreciated when Apple cracked down on “top 25 guaranteed” networks like AppMagenta and Gtekna that seemed to be relying on bot farms to push fake downloads – but apps like AppGratis others are downloaded by users specifically for this purpose. Real people are download the apps these systems promote, and not because they have an incentive to do it other than wanting to save a few bucks on downloads.
As Apple cracks down on legitimate ways to promote apps, they alienate the smaller developers who helped make the App Store what it is today. Will more developers focus their time and efforts on Android where the marketing options are larger and there are multiple distribution options, or will Apple take significant steps to improve the nightmare that is currently iTunes app discovery?
Drop us a comment below and let us know what you think! ~Aaron
We understand that developing an app is a huge undertaking. The blood, sweat and tears that go into this project shouldn’t be limited to the app itself. Being smart about how you present your app will play a key role in how it does in the app store of choice. This includes giving your app a good “face”; or app icon. Before you call up your friend’s sister’s nephew because he has Photoshop installed on his computer, here are some tips to consider when designing a good app icon.
Take the app icon design seriously
With millions of apps in the App Store and Google Play Store, standing out is of utmost importance ‒ especially if there are similar apps in your category. Think of it this way – on a crowded bookshelf, the cover of a book that catches the eye and follows good design principles will be looked at first. Consumers judge books by their covers, even though their mothers told them not to. A strong brand throughout is key; don’t make app icon design the last priority during the development process.
Research, research, research!
Unique app ideas are worth a million bucks. Sadly, someone has probably already come up with yours.Find out who your competitors are and what their icons look like. Are they colorful, do they have a unique look or a fun avatar? You may assume a Scrabble tile is a great icon idea for your new word game; maybe you should do a quick search first. Don’t copy your competitors or Apple might assume your original app is a ripped off copy of Words With Friends – or your competitor might slap you with a copyright infringement lawsuit.
Keep it Simple, Silly
Some of the best icons in the store have a simple, unique look and stand out during a quick scan of search results. Pretend your icon is a billboard on the side of a highway with a 70 MPH speed limit.If there is too much going on in the app icon, the app will most likely be skipped because someone shopping on the App Store won’t have time to process everything. An icon is also not the place to throw in every Photoshop trick and filter you know. (See note later.)
Everyone has a favorite color, but that doesn’t mean it should be in your app icon. How do you finda color scheme that will be attractive to your target audience? Kissmetrics has a great infographic on colors and purchasing power, detailing the psychology behind selecting certain primary and secondary colors for branding. There are also numerous websites and books that go into great detail about color theory and psychology. Once you’ve selected a base color for your branding, check out Colors on the Web, a free tool that allows users to generate eye-pleasing RGB schemes based off of one color.
Avoid the “deadly sins”
There a number of unspoken rules to keep in mind when designing a good app icon. Things like vertical stacked type, fancy – and illegible – scripted fonts, bad color choices, Googled (read: copyrighted) clip art, using Comic Sans in general, and unnecessary drop shadows should be avoided at all costs. Items unique to the app realm, such as shine filters, should also be evaluated with scrutiny. Just because another app uses it in their icon doesn’t mean it will work for yours. Many filters and “tricks” can make your app seem unprofessional and untidy.
Bonus tip – don’t forget about screen shots
You’ve spent all sorts of effort, time and money on an exquisite app icon design. Why upload boring screen shots? The screen shots give you another opportunity to showcase your app and brand. Design Boost did a great post on creating screen shots that sell. Adding callout text, graphics or other enhancements to your screen shots can further entice a shopper into buying your app.
Release and Controversy
At WWDC 2012, Apple announced the coming release of iOS 6, the latest software for the iPhone and iPad. Apple boasts that there will be more than 200 updates and improvements over the previous operating system, and have outlined a bevy of new features to be included in the new package.
Among these new features is what Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president for worldwide marketing, has called a “redesigned app store to allow developers to provide moreinformation about their apps.” Apple has asserted that this release will make it easier for app developers to sell their product within a fair and balanced system.
App developers have retorted that the changes are simply not enough. They criticize thestore design, claiming that is just more of the same. “The top 100 paid apps list is very static and difficult to penetrate even with significant app sales,” says Ben Hamey, co-founder of Bonobo Pte.
Despite what has been said about the app store redesign and the ease with which app developers will be able to sell their product, it is impossible to deny the popularity that this coming update to iOS will have among developers. Currently, 7 out of 10 apps are developed for iOS, as reported by mobile analytics firm Flurry.
Among the new features included in iOS 6 will be an update to Siri, including newlanguages, the ability to launch apps, and Twitter, Facebook, and Yelp integration. Another key feature will be the new Passbook. Using this feature, a user will be able to keep all their important bits of paper, such as airplane tickets, gift cards, vouchers, and concert tickets, in one consolidated place – right on their Apple mobile device. It is interesting to note, however, that Apple has decided to distance themselves from mobile payment options, a service that Googleand Microsoft have already started exploring.
Yet another important feature will be App Banners on the Safari web browser. This will allow users to have instant access to an app, straight from Safari. With one touch, they can immediately start downloading an app or just jump straight to the app if they already have itinstalled without going through the App Store. App Banners will allow an instantaneous, fluid,and functional switch from web browsing to using an app.
The most important new feature may be Facebook integration with iOS devices that will allow instant access to Facebook within web browsers, Siri, and apps. With this addition, users will be able to “like” apps on the app store and purchase apps based on what friends are using. Facebook integration will also exist within an app, so users will be able to share photos, scores,and other bits of information with their Facebook friends. Consider the social media integration incorporated in the previous incarnation of Apple’s iOS. Twitter integration was included with the main apps on iOS 5, and it allowed sharing ofphotos and in-app tweeting. This integration between apps and social media has allowed users toshare something they normally would only be able to experience by themselves with theirfriends, all with just a single sign-in. Twitter integration with iOS 5 meant developers needed tostart thinking about why users would want to share their app with other people.
Now think about the ubiquity of Facebook. Think about the way it fits into our day-to-day lives seamlessly and how it does so without us being consciously aware of it. We post incredibly personal information about ourselves and our day for friends, family, prospective employers, and even the occasional stalker. Facebook integration with iOS 6 creates anopportunity for developers to make apps that are a part of a user’s daily life. Sharing an impressive score from a game, a creative drawing, or a funny photo can become as inconspicuous as posting a status update about a delicious breakfast, a new relationship, or how weird Prometheus was. When an app can be integrated with our lives through Facebook, it becomes far more meaningful. The user doesn’t experience the app simply from the moment it is opened to the moment it is closed. Now the experience exists in a space outside of the app’s original confines, in a social universe that allows it to spread and be shared. If Facebook integration is as significant as one would hope, then iOS 6 may make apps socially relevant like never before.
Prit Patel is a Public Relations intern at Appency with an interest in technology, culture, and viewers like you.
Lotto Fever Grips Nation: Hatchi Grips App World
A Half-Billion New Features (OK, Maybe Not That Many) For Your Little Monster
(London, England) – Driven by its extreme popularity, the Hatchi universe just exploded, with new features, platforms and an exciting new fan art contest. The first addition you will notice is the Hatchi store, a place where you can buy coins to accelerate your Hatchi’s evolution, fill its stats, change its gender, and much, much more.
The new mini-games are proving to be a huge hit with Hatchi owners. You can now play Hatchi Squares and Hatchi Catchi, just to name a few.
Hatchi is now also available on the iPad! You can enjoy all the great things you love about your virtual pet on the larger format screen.
What’s sure to be a hit with Hatchi’s huge on-line following is the fan art competition! You can visit the Hatchi Facebook page to learn more and to download the template you will need to create your very own monster. The winning design will be incorporated into the app!
All of these additions are on top of what is already receiving tremendous reviews… and creating quite the community. The Hatchi reboot that launched earlier this year, brought everything you love about virtual pets right to your iPhone. Your Hatchi monster will go through several stages of growth (if you are a nurturing parent!), and will develop differently depending on the quality of care the player provides. A successfully raised Hatchi monster will be smarter, happier and require less attention.
Notifications remind pet owners when their little monsters need attention. You can also share Hatchi experience through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Portable Pixels Ltd is a privately owned iPhone, iPad and Android development agency based in London with clients including Wallpaper* magazine, Audi, Alfa Romeo and Imperial College London. We believe in high production values and creating apps with charm. All development is done in house at our Camden Lock offices.
As well as the quality of our apps being recognized by Apple and displayed on in store iPads, our Wellnote app was recently highlighted in a speech by UK Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley.
Sunshine for the Dodgers. Partly cloudy skies for the Cowboys. Rainstorms for the Knicks. Now sports fans and novices alike can track their favorite teams in the same way they’d check the daily weather forecast with the most unique and functional sports app ever created for the iPhone, Discover Motion’s “Fan Misery.”
With football kicking into high gear, baseball heading into the post-season, and the basketball and hockey seasons just around the corner, sports fanatics are stretching themselves thin attempting to follow their favorite teams over four different leagues.
For the sports-obsessed, there is a dire need for the power to track the strengths and weaknesses of their top teams, to check each painstaking statistic from their latest wins, to catch up on the latest trades and signings, and to see what fellow fans are thinking. NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB sports fans, rejoice! The “Fan Misery” app for the iPhone and iPod Touch gives you this power and more.
Fan Misery stands apart from other sports apps because of its one-of-a-kind “Fan Misery Index” (FMI). How does it work? Think of it as like an S&P 500 for your favorite team. The FMI is calculated based on both statistics (the performance of the team on the field) and opinions (the effect of the team’s performance and other factors outside the stadium). Out churns a value between 0 and 10, where 0 indicates the bliss of winning the World Series and 10 represents the misery of losing LeBron and with him, the prospects of taking home that glorious NBA Championship.
“Fan Misery is different because it features statistics that capture what we call ‘fan moments’—events that happen on the field which can infuriate fans or make them ecstatic,” said Jeff Cole, CEO of Fan Misery developer Discover Motion. “It features opinions based on fan votes—in a sense quantifying talk radio and all the opinion-based news sources that we as fans are inundated with. All this tied nicely together by the FMI, something that they can check in on each morning like they’d check their stocks or the day’s weather forecast.”
You don’t have to be a diehard sports fan to enjoy Fan Misery. The easy-to-use interface is straightforward enough for those who don’t know the difference between goaltending and a goalpost. Since weather symbols are used to help users quickly visualize the day’s FMI, anyone can understand that a 1 with all sunny skies is good for a team and a 9 with storm clouds depicts a gloomy outlook for that organization. Fan Misery even includes a “Current Conditions” ticker so that users can view the FMIs of rival teams.
Of course, Fan Misery provides enough options and statistics to keep even the most crazed fans happy and informed. In addition to checking the daily FMI, users can scan the news on their beloved teams in real-time from a variety of national and local sources, track a comprehensive set of interesting statistics after every game, look up game schedules, and gain total insight into opinions swirling around their teams, while voicing their own opinions as well. With Fan Misery, sports aficionados and novices alike can become expert analysts of their favorite teams.
Fan Misery is available for free in the iTunes App Store and includes a free preview team; additional teams, all teams within a certain league, or all teams in all four leagues can be purchased within the app. Fan Misery is compatible with any Apple mobile device running iOS 3.0 or higher. For more information and updates, follow Fan Misery on Twitter or Facebook or visit the Fan Misery website.
About Discover Motion, LLC
An avid Cubs fan raised in hostile Red Sox country, Jeff Cole is the founder and head of Discover Motion, a full-service App and Web development studio based in Carrabassett Valley, Maine, and Boston, Massachusetts.
So you’ve published an iPhone app, and an iPad app, and are looking to expand your market. Or maybe you arnt such a big fan of Apple and simply want a different platform to publish on. The natural choice for many has become the Android operating system. What is it? What is the market like? Can I make money as an app developer on Android? What are the rules for Android apps?
There are a number of great articles and research that have been published online about this, but it does not seem to all be in one place, so the team at Appency decided to gather as much relevant Android information as possible and put it all down in one place. Mind you – most of this is copy/paste directly from other articles, and we have made sure to provide links back to the original information. Enjoy!
What is Android?
Android is an operating system for mobile devices such as cellular phones, tablet computers and netbooks. Android was developed by Google and based upon the Linux kernel and GNU software. It was initially developed by Android Inc. (a firm later purchased by Google) and lately broadened to the Open Handset Alliance. Android apps are sold on the handset via the Android Marketplace, as well as online in a number of third party app stores.
List of Android Devices: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Android_devices
Device Market Size:
According to NPD Group, unit sales for Android OS smartphones ranked second among all smartphone OS handsets sold in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2010. BlackBerry OS holds 36%, with Android at second with 28%, and iOS is ranked third with 21%. A Nielsen report for the second quarter of 2010 placed Android’s share of new U.S. sales in second place with 27% of the market, behind BlackBerry OS (33%) and ahead of iOS (23%).
In terms of existing share however, RIM holds the lead with 35% of smartphones while Apple is a close and growing second at 28%. Android trails far behind at only 9% of the share, a distant fourth place.
App Market Size:
According to Engadget, Android Market has approximately 70,000 live applications which makes it the second largest app store. Distimo however reports however that almost 57% of those apps are free, compared to Apples 25%. The average price of paid android apps is similar to Apple at $3.27 to Apples $3.62. There are approximately 3,005 new apps per month in the Android Marketplace to Apples 14,000.
The number of developers for the android platform is less than a fourth of that developing for the iOS platform, with a very small component developing across platform.
Developers of priced applications receive 70% of the application price, with the remaining 30% distributed between carriers (if authorized to receive a fee for applications purchased through their network) and payment processors.
Revenue earned from the Android Market is paid to developers via Google Checkout merchant accounts. T-Mobile, the first carrier with an Android device, recently began Android Market update with Google to allow apps to be billed to the account and show up as a charge on the bill.
Only nine countries are allowed to distribute Android paid apps currently because of Google checkout restrictions, points out Hoogsteder. Consumers from only 13 countries can get access to paid content.
Countries with access to Paid Applications:
The full country list that is updated by Google is here.
Larva Labs’ Matt Hall notes that even high-profile, highly rated Android titles generate “much lower” revenue than iPhone equivalents. Despite having one sustained top-selling $5 game (Retro Defense), a consistent fifth place seller (Battle for Mars) and being highlighted by Google, the company’s daily average revenue was just $62.39 for all its apps combined.
In relation, an iPhone app with a fifth place position in the App Store is predicted to earn about $3,500 per day, or more than what the same Android title would generate in 56 days. Android apps’ sales figures are only likely to be worse for apps that rank lower, Hall adds.
There is very little approval process in the Android market, however Google has been known to pull apps (namely the tethering apps for T-Mobile phones). You simply go to the android market page at market.android.com/publish and submit your information. The account registration fee is $25.
Once you’ve set a price for an application, you may choose to change it at any time, however if you have previously published an application for free, you cannot change it to have a price. You’ll need to re-upload a new APK and add a price.
The Android Marketplace defaults to showing free apps first and forces users to enable viewing paid apps themselves.
Once you’ve registered, it’s easy to upload your application to Android Market. From the home screen, select “Upload Applications.” You’ll be asked to fill in the following information for your app.
Publishing options in the Android Marketplace
Other Distribution Methods:
Andspot: Currently in a private beta, Andspot is an alternative Android marketplace that will offer developers 80% of the download profit from their apps instead of Google’s 70%. To sign up for the beta, you can go to http://andspot.com/index.cfm
SlideMe: (From their site) Have an application that Google prevents you from stocking in the Android Market, leaving you and your app stranded? Are there users desperate to buy your application but they don’t have access to Google Checkout or the Android Market? Do you want to show off your app but feel limited by not having screenshots or video in the Android Market?
If so, then you’ve found the right place at SlideME, the Original Market for Android (We launched our portal and mobile client in April 2008). What we do for the developer is simple. We provide a way to market, deliver and download content to users that you wouldn’t have access to in your traditional channels.
From the moment you stock an application, we provide you a web page where you can add a description, screenshots and videos showing off your application. You can have a discussion with your users or they can review your application right on your page.
Your application also shows up in SAM, our mobile client for discovery and download of Android applications. You can include up to three screenshots and a YouTube video within the mobile catalog, giving potential users a good idea of what your app does. No more trying to cram that into a 325 character description with ascii art.
SlideMe does not take a revenue share from the applications and is negotiating deals to pre-load their app store onto handsets around the world. Currently they hav ea relationship with Vodaphone Egypt to do this. The SlideMe app store will also be on Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X10 phones sold in the middle east.
SlideMe also provides their “SlideSlock” program to help prevent free distribution of your app files.
AndAppStore: Another royalty free distribution service created by UK company Funky Android Ltd. The site still looks extremely beta and should be watched for growth. http://andappstore.com/AndroidApplications/
Handango: Once your application to register as a Software Partner is approved and you submit software for sale, Handango retains 40% of the revenues (excluding taxes) for products sold through the main Handango Web site at www.handango.com. For products sold through our Value-Added channels, we retain 40% of the revenues (excluding taxes), and their commission can increase only if they perform.
GetJar: GetJar is your one-stop shop for publishing all your mobile content to reach a global, mass-market audience. With more than a billion downloads coming from 200+ countries. (More then 2MM downloads a day)
Your applications get published on GetJar.com and our mobile site m.getjar.com but also across all our premium channels including:
Other Android App Distribution Channels:
App Listing Sites:
Montreal, Quebec – Dlux Studio today is pleased to announce the release and immediate availability of elasticr 2.0 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. An Alien invasion, a clumsy janitor, a vat of rubber and a burst of radiation lay the groundwork for the latest release of “elasticr, the Stretchiest Superhero” game for the Apple iPhone.
The games hero elasticr could very well be the distant cousin of Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four or Helen Parr, aka Elastigirl with his powers of super body elongation, allowing him to fling himself acrobatically around a room to avoid evil aliens, devious traps and sharp spikes as he struggles to save the human race.
In the latest version of elasticr, Dlux Studios has added twenty additional levels along with a level chooser, full OpenFeint integration, and significantly more hair gel to manage elasticr’s super sized pompadour. The elasticr app’s physics engine creates realistic flying, bouncing and stretching effects unparallel in the app store.
Fun for kids from five to one hundred, elasticr’s is rated 4+ and is both suitable and enjoyable for children. Higher levels will test the skills of gamers of all ages as elasticr encounters increasingly difficult obstacles such as disappearing hand holds, spinning blades and numerous chances for electrocution. Please ignore the smell of burning rubber…
To experience the most fun with rubber since the first rubber band was shot across a room at a co-worker, find the elasticr arcade game in the iTunes app store for only $0.99. elasticr is compatible with all iPhone’s and iPod touch devices running iOS 3.0 or higher. Go ahead and run it on your iPad too… elasticr is more than happy to stretch onto the bigger screen for you.
* iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
* Requires iOS 3.0 or later
* 9.7 MB
Pricing and Availability:
elasticr 2.0 is only $0.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category.
Purchase and Download
Founded in 2004, Dlux Studio is a privately held company with a staff of over 2 people… corporate giants beware! Purveyors of fine iPhone applications, Dlux Studios offers mobile applications with advanced graphic, web, interface and game design with a philosophy of finding the most simple, elegant and convenient solution to any problem without losing the purport. Even their proposals rarely exceed two pages. The Studio’s headquarters is situated in Montreal, Quebec. Copyright (C) 2010 Dlux Studio. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.