November 26, 2014

Android Piracy Heat Map

We have heard and reported that piracy is an ongoing and growing problem on Android. One new study from KeyesLabs, the developers behind Screebl Pro and AAL (an open source Automatic Application Licensing), brings us a new perspective on the issue.

One of the excuses to justify piracy is the lack of access to paid apps in the market in some countries but KeyesLabs’ analysis shows that 69% of the people using pirated version of their app are in the U.S. where paid apps have been accessible for a very long time. Furthermore, 66% of their app’s total users have not paid for it. Italy, Spain and Australia have also high rates of piracy though they can all pay for apps in the Market.

The study also shows that in Japan 100% of the users are paying for the app, so no, or very little, piracy. This is an interesting finding and should encourage developers to localize their app and not limit themselves to just the English speaking countries.

This study is far from perfect as it is based on one application only but it shows nonetheless that the problem with piracy on Android cannot be linked just to the lack of paid apps in some countries. Many have asked for a review of the Android Market, Google must include more payment options and more countries. PayPal will help a little but carrier billing will be the better option for many users who can’t or don’t want to use credit cards. You should also remember to take or recommend fellow users to take the Paid App Pledge to show your support to the developers.



  • Kroid

    This Issue is the biggest reason big name developers refuse to support android (with few exceptions like gameloft). I own an iPhone solely for the games available on the app store but that’s just me

  • StevO

    That’s astounding! 69% in the U.S. WoW!

    • http://twitter.com/jono_ballin Jonathon

      well, yeah, cause mostly android is U.S besides Europe and some other places, but its is a lot, and the amount here, in Australia is amazing..

  • ConGrid

    I still think *part* of the problem is the app market being closed in many countries. It’s the countries where the market is closed that you have pirating ‘scenes’ where they host the files. Since these apps are accessible from anywhere, the leechers in the countries supporting the market just go ahead and DL them for free.

    I think it would be equally interesting to get stats on *where* they got the apps.

  • Bitanga

    Well, for example in Croatia you can’t buy app from the Market. So if I bought expensive android phone, and I can’t buy application of the market, but I can download it somewhere for free, and install it… well, guess what I would do. I don’t have a choice. Give me an option to buy the app and I will.

    • Igor

      @Bitanga
      I live in the country, where buying apps is impossible too. I bought 4 games via SlideMe and 1 app via PayPal. I consider to buy another game directly via PayPal.

      The second solution is to buy the pre-paid SIM from the country that’s allowed to buy apps, like UK. In my country the SIM costs 3$ via online auction system, but you may have one for free if you have friends there.

      The SIM may be empty (because you connect to the market via WiFi). You load it into the phone , purchase the apps and you switch back to your original SIM. Market will allow you to update even those you want be able to buy new apps. A little disadvantage, but you may buy via Market where dev regularly updates the apps. I sometimes need to mail them so they make a new copy available on SlideMe.

      Despite all those things, I have no pirated apps, even single one on my phone. I even bought LauncherPro Plus even though I don’t use any single pro feature it offers. I wanted to support a dev, so he can make app better and better with every release.

      You may also root your phone and use Market Enabler.

      So I believe there are plenty of options, which are not that convenient as having access to market, but they exists and let you buy. It just takes a little bit of extra effort to make it real.

      • hammeedo

        That is a ridiculously convulated way of getting an app installed. I don’t support piracy, but I don’t think I would go through all that trouble. Most devs have ways of supporting them on their website. Hell I even support Cyanogen by donating on his website.

        • Igor

          @hammeedo

          You are right, as long as I can I try to avoid it. But on the other hand sometimes there’s no other way. The only alternative is piracy, which is not an option for me.

          I wish it had been simpler.

  • Myself

    Piracy is a problem in all platforms.

    A user can have plentiful of pirated apps for the iPhone as well.

    It’s definitely not an Android only problem.

    Devs were not coming in the past for Android, since the market was small, now it’s changing and devs are coming!