Blog Post: Free Apps Are Popular, But Are They Right?

It’s hard to argue with hard data that suggests apps with zero initial cost are more successful than paid apps. As articles, such as this piece from TechCrunch, argue, developer revenue and download metrics both suggest there is little value in asking users to pay up front for anything.

Tell that to Epic Games.

The maker of the Infinity Blade trilogy has not only made a killing off their hugely popular apps, the price of each subsequent version keeps going up. Doesn’t matter, as download numbers keep rising in addition to the company’s bank accounts.

At the same time, games like Candy Crush continue to beat expectations by asking customers to invest nothing except what they want after playing a few levels. If I’m being completely honest, I have invested more of my Apple credit in Candy Crush than Infinity Blade.

So is there such a thing as a “correct” model?

Just remember that the goal of every app is not to make money in today’s market. A restaurant like Chick-fil-A or Starbucks can release an app as part of their branding strategy and not necessarily make their money back. If the app helps drive customers to their locations, it is a success.

An upcoming movie release may choose to have a free game integrated into the marketing campaign to help generate excitement. It also helps keep the movie top of mind for when the DVD is released. In that vein, any revenue generated is secondary to push a tentpole movie into pop culture conversations.

Granted, if the goal of the developer is to have a profit generated just from the development of a single app, it is very hard to argue with freemium. Unless you have a proven brand people are willing to pay for like Infinity Blade, it can be difficult to ask users to pay without trying.

Yet, I see more and more apps hit the iOS and Android stores with that request. Will they be more successful than their free counterparts? If downloads are the goal, then there is no way for that to happen. Hooking some dedicated first-adopters with great UI/UX and concept and making a profit off them is for sure on the side of paid apps.

Don’t let articles such as this scare you away from your strategy. Build your users up with anticipation for your upcoming release and they will gladly reward you with their discretionary income. Great software will succeed no matter what price you set it at (with some obvious exceptions).

What has worked for you? Which pricing model do you see taking off in the next year or two?

Blog Post: Free Apps Are Popular, But Are They Right?

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Blog Post: Don’t Let iOS 7 Scare You

I wasn’t sure how to take this Business Insider piece about concerns over how iOS 7 was going to break all my apps at first. What most likely happened is someone at uTest saw this as a great marketing opportunity, and the folks at BI gladly responded.

What concerns me is the intended panic the headline intends to create.

Rest assures, iOS users, the developers behind your favorite apps have been working hard to upgrade their code to be compliant with the coming update September 18. The customers at uTest probably encountered frustration a month or so ago and have most likely fixed the issue.

Apple did not leave its users high and dry with the update from 6 to 7. Even though I don’t work there I am confident they are not in the business of doing so.

I am excited to see all of the new UI enhancements with all of my favorite apps next week. One thing is for sure, iOS 7 will do a good job of weeding out the bad apps from our home screens. The ones that didn’t utilize forward compatibility or put in the time to refactor probably weren’t worth my time to begin with.

Blog Post: Don’t Let iOS 7 Scare You

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Blog Post: Announce Your Refresh with Gusto

Releasing updates can be a pain sometimes. In the mobile space, it usually includes asking the user to download something again as well as refreshing their credentials in some way. Luke Wroblewski — who writes some tremendous material on mobile development — mentions in this post how you can announce your refresh with some panache and reward your users for continuing to use your product with some Easter eggs.

Don’t make the update a pain. It might mean some additional work will need to be done to include the artwork or new graphics. The UX team might need to rethink some of the work they thought was done. 

Regardless, it’s important to the process and allows users to enjoy and share in the hard work you are doing!

Blog Post: Announce Your Refresh with Gusto

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Blog Post: #Apps of All Kinds

Sometimes I am jealous of all the mobile conferences that happen globally. If I had a choice, there would be a designated amount of time where my company allowed employees time for exchange of ideas and networking. Unfortunately, there’s work that needs to be done. So I’m left with reading great recaps like this piece from Venture Beat.

As usual, companies are a little reluctant to throw all their eggs into one basket. With the mobile industry still so new, it can be difficult to make product decisions based on what could be considered a “fad”.

The senior VP of Salesforce concluded that in the future, more and more work will be done on mobile devices. For now, though, it’s impossible to employ a mobile-first strategy. Reading the tea leaves, many decision makers (even at my company) believe too much work is done on traditional computing devices to warrant a change in product road maps.

Problem being, it’s not going to be that way for much longer. Companies that want to innovate should be making the changes to their planning now if they want to beat the rush.

I have tried something the last couple of months at work, with some degree of success. Instead of carting my bulky laptop everywhere to monitor email and instant message queues I have been taking my iPhone. Strangely enough, I get just as much done and my interactions are limited just because I don’t want to be on my phone too much during meetings.

Of course, documentation still has to be written. For that, I need my bigger screens and a keyboard. That, of course, could be remedied with an iPad and Bluetooth keyboard.

Mobile devices are not just for consuming content. These powerful devices are just as capable of creating the content, and I need apps to help me do so.

Blog Post: #Apps of All Kinds

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Blog Post: #Apps Can’t Be Governed

I knew this would happen. I warned that this would happen. Just didn’t think it would happen this fast. The Food and Drug Administration has now begun cracking down on medical applications that offer “medical diagnosis”. Biosense Technologies’ product uChek is now in the cross hairs of Big Brother with a formal inquiry underway by the […]

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