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Why developers love iOS more than Android?

The other day, Rovio released their popular Angry Birds game on the Android Market. It immediately got 1 million downloads on day one and has over 2 million by now. What’s more intriguing is that this $0.99 app on the iPhone is offered free on Android.

Rovio sold over 6.5 million copies of Angry Birds for iOS in August. At $0.99 and less the 30% cut of Apple, they netted about $4.5 million from the iTunes App Store. That doesn’t include the $4.99 app for the iPad.


After being downloaded 2 million times for Android, Rovio made a total of $0. The full version of Angry Birds for Android is ad-supported. That remains to be seen how much they will eventually make out of it.

For developers, it looks like the iOS makes for a better environment to make money from apps compared to Android. Rovio could have also sold it at $0.99 Android Market but they opted not to. A paid app is certainly much better than an ad-supported app from a developer’s perspective.

Here’s a question — if you’re an App Developer, would you rather make your apps free but ad-supported or go straight for a paid app?

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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49 Responses

  1. ferie says:

    But for the general public and consumers, a freeware app is always better than a paid app!

  2. Kolokoy1288 says:

    But for the general public and consumers, a freeware app is always better than a paid app!

    ^ AGREE.

  3. tipler says:

    ” A paid app is certainly much better than an ad-supported app from a developer’s perspective.”

    Not necessarily. Especially with apps that are frequently updated, ad driven revenue should be a better model as users will still be using your app as long as you provide content updates. With a $.99 model, users keep playing and getting updates for free. Unless the updates are released as paid DLC’s which I don’t is what angry bird does.

    After all, android itself is one big ad-supported app and is now positive revenue.

  4. e30ernest says:

    I do not agree with this. Ad supported apps can still earn well. See this for example:


  5. raymond says:

    If the paid app model of ios will bring in more money to developers, then why did they choose to release Angry Birds free and AdSupported on Android? I can’t see the logic of that assumption.

  6. Whatif says:

    article/argument is flawed period…

    even the developer of angry bird uses N1

  7. nexusboy says:

    i think it’s also due to a fact that Android doesn’t have an APP STORE that works similar to iTunes, where you sign in with your credit card details thus much easy to buy apps anywhere in the world.

  8. Roommate Jenny says:

    IMHO, I believe you made a few incorrect assumptions there sir Yuga. According to this article: http://androidcommunity.com/angry-birds-hits-2-million-downloads-over-the-weekend-20101018/ an ad-free paid version is coming for Android. This follows a trend for some Android apps, one free ad-supported, one paid ad-free. I’d like to think that this is so because Android’s ads distribution system is more effective than whatever iPhone’s got, but then I don’t have an iPhone so I can’t say.

    To say that “the iPhone version of Angry Birds costs money and Android doesn’t, ergo developers love iPhone” is a Non Sequitur. I’d rather say iPhone devs make more money than Android devs *right now* because a greater percentage of iPhone apps are paid, or iPhone users are more willing to pay than Android cheapskates etc. But the main premise of this article is a fallacy in my opinion.

  9. Ryan Ang says:

    ^ I agree

  10. e30ernest says:

    @nexusboy, AFAIK Google Checkout is the payment gateway for the Android Market. I use it to purchase my apps there.

  11. Ed says:

    Rovio and other developers may earn more than $0.99 a download on Android in the long run from ads…

  12. Glenn Santos says:

    It seems yuga is comparing this to his own experience with ads. While it is true for some that ad supported revenue is much much less than paid for merchandise, The reverse holds true when you reach a certain point.

    In Rovio’s case, Angry Birds is already an established brand and is poised to gain more recognition. The company is simply pushing it up more by offering the game for free in exchange for both more revenue and much more valuable brand recognition. That will likely make Angry Birds a household name sooner than you think.

    If the point of the article was to get opinions (though I doubt it), it made it’s mark. But spouting arguments that are not well researched is a sign that yuga is losing his touch. I do hope for a return to the glory days of this blog when posts made sense.

    Heck, the title isn’t even a question yet it has a question mark.

  13. Listen to Steve Jobs Slamming Google’s Android, RIM and Rival Tablet Makers.

    Steve Jobs on Google Android:

    Google loves to characterize Android as open, and iOS and iPhone as closed, we find this a bit disingenuous and clouding the real difference between our two approaches.

    In reality, we think the open vs. closed argument is just a smokescreen to try and hide the real issue, which is, what’s best for the customer, fragmented versus integrated. We think Android is very very fragmented and becoming more fragmented by the day.

    We also think our developers will be more innovative if they can target a singular platform rather than 100 variants. They can put their time into innovative new features rather than testing on 100s of different handsets, so we are very committed to the integrated approach, no matter how many times Google tries to characterize it as closed and we are confident it will triumph over Google’s fragmented approach.

    On RIM (Research In Motion):

    We’ve now passed RIM and I don’t see them catching up with us in the foreseeable future. They must move beyond their area of strength and comfort into the unfamiliar territory of trying to become a software platform company. I think it’s going to be a challenge for them to create a competitive platform and to convince developers to create apps for yet a third software platform after iOS and Android. With 300,000 apps on Apple’s App Store, RIM has a high mountain ahead of them to climb.

    On Rival 7’’ Tablets:

    The seven inch tablets are tweeners, too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad.

    Our potential competitors are having a tough time coming close to iPad’s pricing even with their far smaller, far less expensive screens. The iPad incorporates everything that we’ve learned about building high value products from iPhones, iPods and Macs. We create our own A4 chip, our own software, our own battery chemistry, our own enclosure, our own everything, and this results in an incredible product at a great price. The proof of this will be in the pricing of our competitors products, which will likely offer less for more. These are among the reasons why we think the current crop of 7” tablets are going to be DOA. Dead on arrival. Their manufacturers will learn the painful lesson that their tablets are too small and increase the size next year, thereby abandoning customers and developers who jumped on the 7-inch bandwagon with an orphan product. Sounds like lots of fun ahead.

    via Redmondpie

  14. yuga says:

    Hi Guys!

    The topic is open to debate but if I were an app developer, I’d go for the $4.5 million now on the iOS than wait for the advertising dollars to trickle later on the Android.

    Likewise, the value and stickiness of a 6.5 million download of a paid app is way higher than the value of a 6.5 million free app.

  15. Kung ako developer… I’ll go for Paid Apps rather makipagsapalaran sa kikitain sa Ad-supported Apps. Ads only appear when the user unit is connected on the internet. Hindi naman lahat ng handset naka connect lagi sa internet all the time. I agree with Abe.

  16. I will definitely go for paid apps :)

  17. e30ernest says:

    Paid apps would be good if it were on a worldwide market. However, paid apps are restricted to certain countries only on the Android Market. I would guess that the move to a free service was to get the app to as many users as possible, then hope to get enough revenue through ads. Theoretically, they can earn more from ad usage since this will be a continuous source of income. It’s like selling vs renting property. You can either get a huge lump sum or get smaller amounts over a period of time.

    As for internet connections on mobile phones, mobile internet usage is only going up. It might be slow to catch here due to our sorry Internet infrastructure but in other countries, a lot of users have data plans.

    Bottom line is, it would be interesting to see if they profit and how much these profits translate to. The numbers might seem low at first, but when you factor in that these will likely be repeated every month, then it will be a profitable long-term venture.

  18. Destiny says:

    Why developers love iOS more than Android? Because an apple a day keeps the android away!

    apple ios has
    “There’s an App for that” tagline (patent pending)

    android has
    “There’s an Android for that” tagline (just made that up) :D

    A new survey of mobile developers shows that they are most interested in the iOS and Android platforms, and the introduction of tablets like the iPad have them in a frenzy.

    Appcelerator surveyed more than 2,700 developers from June 15-17. That’s three times the response the company got for a similar survey in March, an increase Appcelerator partly attributes to the debut of the iPad and the excitement building around the potential of more tablets entering the market later this year and next.

    While 90 percent said of respondents said they were particularly interested in developing for the iPhone and 84 percent expressed interest in the iPad, the survey found that the developers have a lot of love for Android-based tablets that aren’t even on the market yet. Sixty-two percent can’t wait to spend time tinkering on what they hope is the next big app for what many consider to be the next big OS.

    Here’s the full list of devices and platforms in the survey. The percentage reflects how many of the respondents said they were “very interested” in developing for the given platform:

    * iPhone (iOS): 90%
    * iPad (iOS): 84%
    * Android Phone: 81%
    * Android Tablet: 62%
    * BlackBerry: 34%
    * Windows Phone 7: 27%
    * Symbian: 15%
    * Palm Pre/Pixi: 13%
    * Meego: 11%
    * Kindle: 6%

    It’s pretty clear that Apple and Google have left everyone else behind, which probably comes as little surprise. But perhaps the most interesting part of the survey is, when asked about long-term viability of operating systems, the developers gave Android the edge over iOS, 54 percent to 40 percent, due primarily to flexibility and the potential for more capabilities. Now, however, it’s Apple’s orchard. Seventy-eight percent like iOS in the near-term, while just 16 percent picked Android.


  19. Destiny says:

    if you’re an App Developer, would you rather make your apps free but ad-supported or go straight for a paid app?

    i go straight for a paid app – i guessing android will go from free apps to freemium apps later on i bet

    apple apps on the other hand goes from paid apps to free apps (ad supported) after the pay out

  20. Destiny says:

    if you’re an App Developer, would you rather make your apps free but ad-supported or go straight for a paid app?

    i go straight for a paid app – im guessing android will go from free apps to freemium apps later on i bet

    apple apps on the other hand goes from paid apps to free apps (ad supported) after the pay out

  21. Mars says:

    I agree with Whatif. Article/argument is flawed period.

  22. Teknisyan says:

    Yes, paid apps is more rewarding that free-ad driven apps. But if you’re just be creating an app for iOS, then you can still offer a free-ad driven apps through their iAds program, which feature premium advertisers and not just any advertisers.

  23. iPimp says:

    The iPhone offers a consistent experience vs the Android’s where the experience depends on the version of the OS, the carrier, and the manufacturer. Also, Phone users tend to understand most of the features of their phone.

    As for the business model, utilities with long shelf time tend to go the advertising route, while games go with the paid route.

  24. ice3d says:

    If I were to develop, I’ll be using the ads rather than paid.
    Simply because I don’t want the guilt feeling that I am earning by locking my app with a $0.99 price just to deliver a very substandard mobile application. Try visiting http://krapps.com/

    With ads, not only it enables the app to be free, it also limits the development of “DLC” because the ads still provide money unlike the one time $0.99.

    And lastly, consider piracy. If your $0.99 Angry Birds iPhone game was bought by millions, I also can assure you that your app got ripped and posted online already for free. While millions of pirates are downloading your very cheap app, you are not earning anything at all. But if you used ads and listed the game as free in the market, people will download them and your ads will be working hard to give you money, not the work-hard-to-develop-a-new-top-rated-paid-app.

    “All will bow down to Android”

  25. Diego says:

    Paid apps for android are available in limited territories (when not using services such as slide.me) as compared to apple’s app store. This is why some developers prefer ad based software to overcome this limitation. If the android paid-app market were to expand, I think it will give apple’s app store a good shake-up

    Just my two cents

  26. Roy says:

    Given Yuga’s argument that paid apps give better returns than ad sponsored apps, then I guess developers who choose to port their apps to the Android Platform in spite of, ACTUALLY love Android more than they do iOS4.

  27. the yawner says:

    Regardless of the arguments presented, I laud Rovio for their boldness. By releasing the full game for free on Android, they’ve certainly established themselves as a game-changer in the Android field.

  28. Adrian says:

    Paid app. so you can have a reward, for your puyat and pagiisip ng codes. Also in Apple may direction, compare sa Google.

  29. leemar says:

    i downloaded the angry birds for my android motorola phone i think last monday lang.

    sana marami pang free apps na lumabas

  30. kill3rfill3r says:

    Paid apps is definitely more rewarding for developers. Nakakapagod mag-code tapos wala ka man lang makukuha in return.

  31. Dawnson says:

    I agree with you.

  32. reboot says:

    unless you can provide figures to support that a paid app always earns better than an ad-supported one, your logic is flawed. you should also take into consideration that for popular apps, an ad-supported version can be more profitable as it continues to generate earnings from a single user compared to a paid one with a fixed price.

  33. jox says:

    sakin cguro my free version din tapos if the user want to get the full version they have to pay.

  34. Jhay says:

    Aggghh…..Apple brainwashed everyone….

  35. Ed says:

    “Paid apps is definitely more rewarding for developers. Nakakapagod mag-code tapos wala ka man lang makukuha in return.”

    afaik meron ding developers sa Apple appstore na di kumita yung paid apps nila.

  36. thenonhacker says:

    Paid Apps.

    So if I did a great job making a high-quality game with great graphics and addictive gameplay. Then I have to pay my bills and save money for a decent car. People are willing to reward your quality game by voting with their wallet. Then I’ll go and sell my game!

    $0.99 is so affordable, it’s the price of 2 Combo Meals!

  37. thenonhacker says:

    Developers: Do Not pretend you code for free, especially if your day job is programming-related and you are given a monthly salary.

    Reason you would give an app for free: You are already paid well, OR you do it for fun, OR you do it because it has ads.

    Rule of business here: Do something that does Not feel like work, yet you earn from it, and people are willing to pay you for it.

    If you give software for free, and then feel bitter for other software that earn money, that’s a sign you wanted to earn money for your software in the first place.

    So, if you give software for free, be sure you do it wholeheartedly.

    • romos says:

      thenonhacker says the truth. People who hate capitalism are usually kids of rich parents who fancy that they have the moral upper hand by clinging to unrealistic socialist tendencies while finishing up their starbux.

  38. Ryan Ang says:

    I need to know where you get Php20 Combo meals :P

    Anyway, there has to be a renumeration of some sort with anything you do. Either for pleasure or pain. Ads or paid. Knowledgeable programmers definitely should have a business plan with their apps.

  39. thenonhacker says:

    @Ryan: Syempre, sa JolliJeep!!!

  40. John DC says:

    not too sure bout this but, based on the picture above, the software is a `lite` version – not the full version which is likely to be paid

    it doesnt really matter if one chooses the paid or the free with ap version

    in developing an ap or any software think first of the quality, if you make a good ap, no matter what path you take, the money will come in

    in thinking of getting paid first usually results to crappy aps and people losing trust in you as a developer thus no profit

  41. sylv3rblade says:

    I go both.
    One paid version without ads and One free version with ads. :)

  42. mr.bogus says:

    moderate your greed…

  43. thenonhacker says:

    mr. bogus: That depends on your definition of “greed”. I mean, I hope you’re not confusing “Business” and “Earning Money” with “Greed”.

  44. Andrew John P. Young says:


    Does anybody here actually develop apps for either side? Android or iOS? Android allows you to develop your apps FREE… post your apps to the Google Market for FREE… earn through Ads for FREE (or sell your app for a small premium price and Google gets a cut)

    Let’s compare that to iOS.

    Develop your app ONLY if you have a MAC OS (Definitely NOT FREE)
    Post your app on the AppStore for a PRICE (so how can anyone offer anything FREE?; You pay Apple for posting your application to the AppStore)
    Anything you earn, Apple gets a cut.

    So… as a developer (and I am one) I’m developing for the …. Android :) cause for me (and this is my opinion) Apple sucks (worse than M$). And you have the chance to earn passive income :)


  45. thenonhacker says:

    OT: I am surprised to see comments such as “Apple is worse than Microsoft”.

    I thought it was just me who thinks there are worse companies than Microsoft.


    To me, Google is worse that Microsoft, especially when it comes to privacy. Microsoft’s telemetry data are opt-in, while Google has a “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy of collecting people’s information.

    “Google says Street View cars picked up e-mails, passwords; ‘we failed badly'”


    I was a fan of Google before, but event after event I noticed a pattern where Google try to sneak though loopholes to get your privacy violated.

    “WARNING: Google Buzz Has A Huge Privacy Flaw”


    As a Firefox user I wouldn’t switch to Google Chrome that easily. First reason is plugins, 2nd reason is Google Chrome is another example of sneak-in “Google owns your data” game.

    “Be sure to read Chrome’s fine print”


    And don’t indulge on Internet Explorer having flaws, because Chrome, Safari, and even my favorite browser Firefox has their own security flaws, too. The difference will be on the response of companies fixing those flaws. Apple is bad in this area.

    “Google Chrome privacy worse than you think”

  46. Andrew John P. Young says:

    Wow, and your point is?

    As a developer, the only thing I care about are two things

    1) Lowest royalty fees possible when producing and selling products

    2) Ease of access to SDK and low cost of acquisition of said SDK

    3) Availability of method to sell/disperse said product with the widest coverage at the lowest cost

    Your links are laughable and are really OT… but get this… I can Google/Bing/Yahoo search for same dirt for M$, crApple or even goOGLE and you get the same dirt, the same crap, the same violations (but placed in different scenarios and eras in time). I just like G00gle since they don’t charge you for the same crap, the same dirt and the same violations done to you. Unlike the other two companies who do the same things and actually make you pay through your nose to for them to do it to you.


  47. thenonhacker says:

    OT: Thus I marked it as OT.

    Oh yeah, the price to pay for Google is your privacy.

    It’s naive to think the Google is not one of the “evil companies”.

    You can only indulge about Google as a fan, but as you already said you can research all about Google’s behaviors as the monopoly of search.

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