The Market Maneuvering post series will cover various tactical things you, my fellow Android developers, need to do to gauge and improve your success in marketing your Android applications.
Android, or any smartphone mobile OS for that matter, is a market niche.
Some Android applications will be relevant only to that niche. For example, a replacement Android home screen will be relevant for Android users and nobody else. For people making apps like this, you “only” need to focus your marketing efforts on Android users.
The catch is that Android is new, and so the marketing infrastructure to reach Android users is somewhat limited. There is the Android Market, and alternative markets, and some sites like AndroidGuys, and not much more. There are no Android magazines, or de facto leaders for Android application reviews, or widely-used/publicly-visible Android application rating services, etc. Over time, these and more will arise and will make reaching the masses of Android users that much easier.
However, many Android applications will be relevant for market niches beyond Android users. An Android application that records bicycle rides (GPS positions, times, etc.) is relevant to Android users and to avid cyclists. An Android application that works like ShopSavvy but, instead of snapping bar codes with the camera, captures a picture of a stamp, would be relevant to those Android users who are stamp collectors. An Android application that provides learning activities to pre-schoolers would be relevant to Android users and parents of young children. And so on.
Do not fall into the trap of thinking that your marketing efforts must stop with uploading to the Android Market. Many, perhaps most, other niches your application may be relevant to will have richer marketing infrastructure than does Android itself. There are several cycling magazines that might do a review of your bike computer application. There are stamp collecting discussion lists that would find “StampSavvy” to be compelling. There are innumerable blogs and sites to help parents that might be interested in your “edutainment” apps for Android. And so forth.
If your application is only relevant to Android users en masse, then that is where your marketing focus must lie. If there are other market segments that might care, though, try marketing to them as well.