So you’re an indie developer or you’ve just founded a start-up for you app idea, and you’re ready to dive into the calm and familiar waters of Lake Applesauce. You start developing your iOS app, and the water’s great. After all, (device-wise) iOS is the easier platform to develop for, and iOSers (may) spend (up to) 2.3 times more money per app.
However, in the early stages, most new apps will owe their longevity to the number of downloads, not revenue per app, especially if you’re bootstrapped. 1000 loyal users on your free app trump 1000 SEK in revenue if you only have 100 users. Downloads beget downloads, and the green robot can be a generous host.
Even though start-ups start small, you won’t get anywhere if you don’t dream big. If you want to get into the top-25 lists of either app store, you will need to average few dozen thousand downloads per day.
Sweden is a hub of innovative start-ups, but unless your app is region-specific, there is absolutely no need to focus on local users first. If you want your app to net downloads on a global scale, you’re going to have to acknowledge the oceanic proportions of The Great Android Sea. I empathize with any naysayers— iOS is a warm fuzzy (walled) garden; a comfort zone. Stepping out of it will be an adventure, but it will be worth it. Alright, enough with analogies. Do you like statistics? I love statistics! So let’s dive right in.
Downloads beget downloads, and the green robot can be a generous host.
In Q3 of 2013, 80% of all smart devices sold were Androids. During that period, iOS devices accounted for 13%. That ratio can fluctuate wildly due to the cyclical nature of device release dates, but one thing is obvious, Android’s meteoric rise warrants prioritization and attention, attention from app developers, attention from you.
In 2013 alone, there were 195 million tablets sold. 62% of those tablets ran Android OS, with Apple netting 36%.
To date, there are more than 1 billion Android devices in consumers’ hands. That figure is poised to triple in just three years (3 billion by 2016)! Currently, iOS devices trail at 750 million.
Revenue from apps during Q3 of 2013 rose 67% for Android, versus 15% percent for iOS.
As for actual downloads, there are 2.5 billion Android app downloads every month. If you manage to net 0.001% of that figure (25,000), then that could indeed be a great start for your start-up.
This is my favorite fun fact: there are more than 1.5 million new Android device activations every day. Every. Single. Day. That’s more than the entire population of Sweden, every week.
So what does all this mean? Has iOS been relegated to obscurity? On the contrary, Sweden and many developed countries are veritable orchards (get it?) of mobile devices. But why start locally? Why target The West before The East? An initial spike in downloads from Mumbai could be more valuable to your start-up than a spike in Stockholm, or even Sweden.
The entire world is your oyster, and like Apple I implore you to Think Different(™) and consider developing for Android OS simultaneously, if not before. Take advantage of their soaring numbers of users and devices, and use the platform to create novel and innovative apps like Instabridge, one of Europe’s first Android-first startups!
There are many Swedish start-up apps which I would love to use, but can’t because they are iOS-only. So what are you waiting for? Why won’t you let me give you my money?