See, You Can Make Money with Android Apps

Hey look, a success story for an Android developer!  We’ve been waiting for the day when a developer steps up and says, “Hey!  I make pretty decent money from Android!”  While it’s not quite the runaway success that Trism was, Edward Kim is tickled pink with his app’s performance.  We’re only too happy to share his story.

Kim’s app, Car Locator, started out as something he did on the side when he was on vacation. Fast forward about 5 months and just under 7,000 downloads later and his app is on pace to grab $13,000 a month. The free version of his app has seen over 70,000 downloads of its own as well. So what’s the secret? Turns out, it might be Google.

Car Locator is now a featured app in the Android Market. This means that you see the name and app more often than you do for other titles. You’ll see the application sliding in and out of the front page of the market each time you open it up.

Buy Car Locator for Yourself!

In terms of overall paid apps, Kim estimates that he’s somewhere in the ballpark of 100-200th. Can we assume that there are this many other developers enjoying a similar fate? Hard to say. The featured status is probably the key. It also doesn’t hurt when you can put “3rd place in ADC2” in your app’s description.

Here’s a couple of things pointed out by Kim on his blog:

  • The application was netting an average of about $80-$100/day, until it became a featured app on the Marketplace. Since then, sales have been phenomenal, netting an average of $435/day, with a one day record of $772 on Valentine’s Day. Too bad I didn’t have a Valentines date this year — we would’ve gone somewhere real special!
  • There appears to be clear peaks on the weekends and during holidays. This was always my hunch, but I think I can finally say this with certainty since the signal-to-noise ratio is much better now.
  • Some may be quick to point out that a featured Android application is only able to net $400/day, while top iPhone apps make thousands. But the Android market appears to rotate applications in and out of the featured apps list in some psedo-random fashion. Every time I open the Marketplace app, the featured list is different and most of the time, I don’t even see my app on there.
  • The price of the application was increased from $1.99 to $3.99. I ran a few price experiments and was surprised to see that though I doubled the price of the app, the number of purchases decreased by much less than half. Android users appear to have a willingness to pay more than a couple dollars for apps.
  • Piracy appears to be an increasing problem. A quick search for Car Locator on Twitter reveals links where people can download the .apk file without paying. I tend to have the same attitude on piracy as Balsamiq, so I’m not too worried about it, but I would love to hear some typical statistics on Android piracy.

Congratulations to Edward for his newfound success.  We’re sure you’ll see an additional bump as a result of your story hitting the internet!

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In addition to smartphones and mobile gadgets, Scott has a deep appreciation for film, music, and sunflower seeds. A husband and father, he likes spending down time riding his mountain bike or binge-watching TV. Scott has overseen the day-to-day activities of AndroidGuys since 2007.
  • gad

    Imagine how much developers would make if the market was accessible in every country or atleast in most countries. It will raise Android's profile very much and developers will be smiling to the bank-a win-win situation….Pls Google expand the market for the sake of Android

    • I'm still amazed that Google can't figure out a way to make this happen. Seems that Apple accomplished it very easily. Does anyone have any information on why Android can't seem to get there?

    • John

      Paid apps are coming to 14 more countries.

  • Eric Kok

    Congrats to the dev. I’d also found it funny that Android apps wouldn’t be able to make any money. Here’s a different story: my app is not only free but open-source and still I am abkle to earn a couple of bucks (albeit not enough to be sustainable as a day job of course) through donations and sporsor contracts, with my app Transdroid. So alternative revenue models, as convered before on AndroidGuys, can be sussessfull as well on the Android platform. Mind you, I haven’t even asked anyone for this, it’s offered to me.

  • Hi Eric, I am sure now at least few hundreds of people might have downloaded your app Including me! 😉

  • One of the big reasons piracy is becoming a problem in the Android ecosystem, is that most countries are locked out of the paid apps part of the market.

    Most European countries, like all the Scandinavian for example, don't have access to paid apps. And we love our apps, Scandinavians buy apps for iPhone like crazy.

    As long as we're not allowed to purchase apps, piracy is the only option… I blaim Google! Unfortunately I've seen people sell their Android phone and switch to iPhone for this reason alone.

    • bartholemew

      Heh. Lame piracy excuse #738 … “I *have* to pirate because the product is not offered in my country! (Wahh!)”

      No … piracy is not the only option.

      One very good option is to just move on with your life without insisting on having things that are not offered to you.

      Imagine: there is some app that you want to have, but it is not available for sale. Instead of pirating it, you decide to just forget about it. You go to sleep later that night, wake up the next morning, and notice that the world is still spinning about its axis just fine. Problem solved.

      Another very good option is to download the free Android SDK and write your own apps. Seriously. Because you can write anything you want. If you are a non-developer who pirates, the hours spent in this process will give you an appreciation of what it feels like to have hordes of anonymous cowards insisting on helping themselves to your work.

      • Dash

        lol whatever, if it ain’t available in your own country you can pirate away with any of my apps. go for it

        I definitely fall into the group that think the market will determine how much i should earn and that those who can’t / won’t pay for my app who get it off torrent sites /, wouldn’t pay anyway.

        people will pay for quality, i know and i follow the same principals even when i pirate things here in the UK.

        Download, Enjoy, Buy or Bin

        • bartholemew

          LOL – “Principaled (I think you mean “principled” – check your dictionary) Piracy”.


          Piracy today is more than just people “sharing” or “evaluating” your app. It’s people making money off of your stolen work, with paid membership sites and ad revenue. What is hilariously pathetic and/or pathetically hilarious is that the operators of these sites then get all pissy when somebody “leeches” off of them. LOL. Hello, irony?

  • Miguel

    Somewhere an IRS auditor is making a note based on on all the juicy income details provided in this article..

  • Pingback:

  • This is a great news for Android developer community and a milestone in the evolution of paid Android apps ecosystem.

    There are two key takeaways here:
    1. The number of Android handsets in circulation is reaching a meaningful volume for a paid application to see a tangible download count.
    2. The demographics of Android users is shifting towards mainstream consumer type willing to shell out a buck or two here and there.

    It would be very interesting to see a chart of the income as a function of phone model/network carrier. I feel like the bulk of the money must have come from Droid/Verizon users but the numbers would be awesome to see.

    Borys Burnayev

    • John

      It’s true that “mainstream consumers” are important to app sales. Geek types would rather spend 2 days hacking something than shell out 5 bucks for it. They’re very cheap and aren’t used to paying for software (unless they’re 6+ figure geeks, in which case they might have paid for the copy of Windows XP that they’re using in their VM, because it’s just not worth the trouble to save 70 bucks). To the rest of the geeks paying for software is like paying for yesterday’s newspaper.

  • Thanks for your sharing good information here. It is so great. I will come back and see how it goes on.

  • Sarah Mullen

    We've just launched a service that helps Android developers monetize apps, thought it might be useful –

  • thaks for your sharing. like this :p

  • @Eric,
    For me Android worked very well than apple store.
    But, Making money depends on the quality of the App and a huge Luck in getting visibility.

  • Hope Android Market will be opened to more countries as its official email stated

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  • Krik

    We can fight with piracy using technology only. At start up, why can’t you app validate the user using the PhoneID or Phone number?

  • Scopetrader

    I wrote an ebook about my success in the Android market. It’s worth a read if you want to know my tactics for making money with Android –

  • Actually there is a way to fight the piracy patterns and this is through offering the game with the free to play model. The users are not obliged to pay for the game, but they can remove their ads for a small fee, or buy virtual goods (which is the leading force for all famous browser and FB games nowadays). When you add options like carrier billing to the mix you would most surely limit the paid goodies to the paying users and the conversions are much, much higher this way.

  • Som4tress

    Of course this is all very good and juicy, for for developers like me who come from countries like India, even after writing a substantial application we cannot get paid from the market….How do you handle that, IPhone and Blackberry score right here!!

  • Saranshgarg

    Developed an android app and want to sell as soon as possible is there any market or any place where i can sell except google because they are charging too much and as a student i dont have enough money.

    • You can always post your game on other markets as GetJar, Amazon, Opera and others. Have you tried with them? 

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  • Paulsonkf3

    hi i want to be come an antroid programmer .but am a beginer  in this stage what i will do …direct me pls….and also what i can do for earn money with a developed application

    • Brandonsmith5599

      Hi, I did have the same thought as you, and I did search on the net, and I found there’s a lot of guide that lead us to create an android apps. However, most of them are require programming skill. But I have found a best android apps creator that don’t required any programming skill. It will guide us step by step and don’t even need a single line of program code. Just want to share more with you and check out more on this I’m in my journey of creating tons of apps. Have a nice day !! 

  • Sivarttechnology

    Awesome!  Hopefully we’ll be the next success story.  We have had really positive feedback with our first week on the market.  “Word Crank” is written about on our blog

  • Sivarttechnology

    Awesome!  Hopefully we’ll be the next success story.  We have had really positive feedback with our first week on the market.  “Word Crank” is written about on our blog

  • StrangemooDev

    Excellent post!  Gives us all hope!  I’ve started a blog on how I’ve developed and brought some android apps to market.  It’ll cover game design, promotion, what makes money and what doesn’t.  I am hoping to eventually get up to a monthly income of $10,000  Please visit :

  • Mudassir Hashmi

    Boss !! I am not a Programmer , but I do have got loads and loads of ideas. I would love to make apps. I am not interested in learning how to make apps, but can I hire an app developer and then guide him make the app and then load it on the market with my ideas. How smart idea is this? Would like to know wat u guys think? 

    best  regards,Mudassir

    • Joe

      Not smart. Learn how to make apps or stay out of the business.

    • Anonymous

      All the ideas you share with a developer, he will make it, will earn money, and you will not know about that. People just never will finish your apps, they just will document themselves with your ideas. Learn how to program, or make a really small company, but something serious and legal, just that way, you could do that.

    • hamza malik

      [email protected] hahaha same as me you just want to earn but u dnt want how to learn

  • Johnsmit

    this is new blog soon will be uploaded some free examples how to make android app’s with source code…..
    stay in touch

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    Just added some examples of how to bulid android apps with source… check at:

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