Popular Android app PushBullet is going pro.
If you haven’t been introduced to PushBullet yet, you’re missing out. With PushBullet you’re able to push files, links and messages back and forth from your computer with optional end-to-end encryption. In addition to those features, your notifications will show up within your browser and allow you to act on them. If you get an email that you have no interest in, you can easily delete it from a prompt that pops up. These features are certainly something one can live without, but I find they make my life much easier and keep my notification tray much cleaner. It’s one of the first apps I install on my phone.
Many have wondered how PushBullet was eventually going to be profitable. Like many start-ups, the service has started without any paid tiers for it’s customers. Now, that’s changing. Today PushBullet announced that you can pay either $3.99/month or $40/year for their new pro service. This sounds great in theory. Obviously a service like this couldn’t stay free forever, but what many people take issue with is hiding previously free features behind a paywall.
Going forward you will only be able to send files up to 25MB, will have 2GB of storage space, and only send 100 messages through popular services like SMS, Whats App and Kik per month. This is a pretty big limitation for users who have used this service long term and have become comfortable with the functionality. Also being moved to a paid option are notification action support and universal copy and paste, both features that currently are free.
Users are understandably frustrated. Reddit user wantoascend wrote “I want to support you guys, but this price point is too high and it seems odd to pay for features that I had just 5min ago… wish you best of luck though!”
I’m of the personal opinion that when free apps go pro, the paid options need to be NEW options. This is a Pro upgrade that feels anything but. We’ve reached out to the PushBullet team for comment and CEO Ryan Oldenburg responded quickly.
[blockquote author=”Ryan Oldenburg, CEO of PushBullet”]We were prepared for today’s announcement to be controversial. That’s our fault for not having had Pro available earlier–it was simply more enjoyable for us to add features than to think about making sure PB has a bright future. I’d rather rip the bandaid off now though, in a sense. I want to ensure Pushbullet continues to improve and that we focus on our biggest supporters. We owe it to them.[/blockquote]
What do you think? Is it fair to ask users to pay for powerful features they were once getting for free? Do you think that PushBullet is in the right? Let us know down in the comments what you think.