Android App Development is “a Viable Revenue Stream”

Arron La, developer of Advanced Task Manager, recently posted information about that app’s revenue in an effort “to highlight how Android is a viable revenue stream after reading countless stories that it is not.”

La published the paid version of the app in February, 2009, followed by an ad-supported version in November of that year. In about a year and a half, the app has generated a total of about $80,000 in revenue for La, with about $50,000 in purchases (at $0.99 each, after Google’s 30% cut) and about $30,000 in ad revenue from the free version. This July alone, he saw more than $10,000 come his way, with more than half coming from ad revenue on the free version.

While Advanced Task Manager has benefitted from appearing on the Market’s lists of featured apps, it also occupies a space with several competitors. La cites issues with the Market and Google Checkout as holding his (and others’) apps from more revenue:

“Discovering applications is a problem right now.  With these additional lists, users can click through them to find other high quality apps – unlike the ‘Top Paid’ list right now which is very arbitrary and is not an indication of the true top applications in Android.

“Google Checkout is also a big problem since it doesn’t accept payments in a number of countries causing Android to only support around 13 countries compared to 90 on the iPhone.  This is inexcusable.  The reporting feature on Google Checkout is also horrible.  It was quite painful to generate tax reports.

“With that said, Google is doing a number of things to improve the situation.  Paypal as a payment option will be extremely helpful.  A website to browse Android applications and to send it to phones for installation will most likely raise applications discoverability and revenue significantly.”

He also acknowledges that improvements in the Android OS have removed much of the need for his app, but notes an overhauled new version is in the works that will add significant new features, such as backup capabilities and more app management tools.