Personal pages for Andras MIKO

How much does a free app cost?

More and more people use “smart phones” around me each day, so I’m paying attention to the details connected to them. I do have some sentimental causes to stick with my old-fashioned one, but sooner or later this will also give in…

It can be said, that almost a million apps are available for Apple and Android platforms. The second one is more close to me, for that reason I have started to check out Android Market, which has been renamed into Google Play since then, and tried to help find good applications for my friends. This got me into developing small ones when we could not find any appropriate. Next step was to make them available for anyone out there, as they were created to solve a specific issue.

New developer on the GP platform

It is fairly easy to become one of Google Play’s developers: you just have to fill in a form, accept an agreement, and that’s it (detailed steps). The enviroment is freely obtainable, as the source code for Android. A good bunch of great, and also not-so-helpful, descriptions help to develop an idea, that cannot be a problem either.

What I find questionable is the categorizing of the uploaded applications. There are 8 games and 26 apps categories. But type only two: payed-for and free. But let’s see, is it really free …

AD-verse sides of free apps?

The only true thing is, we do not have to grab for our wallet for obtaining a, let’s say the commonly-known word, free application. But we could divide these into more detailed sections, like: has in-app-payment, advertisement supported and the truly wanted free.

We can see on the first one, that it’s not entirely free, because features and add-ons do have prices. The application’s addiction-factor will determine who pays for what and of course how much.

The second group is a bit more tricky. Here you won’t have to pay for the game or for any additional features, but meanwhile gaming you will be bombed with annoying advertisement which are clearly costing precious seconds from the intended game-play. So indeed: time is money.

In my opinion only the third group should have earned the title “free”, all other would have to get into more descriptive listing (or even the bucket…)


It would be more easy to select what we really want, if we could select between the groups like:

  • payed-for
  • has in-app-payments
  • advertisement supported
  • free

The first level could even remain the same, but they should be detailed in the second level as pay-as-use, merchandiser and stress-free categories.

Another idea could be even easier to realize, and it should not be too much an effort, if an icon or tag could say whether an app has advertisement embedded or not.

Giving away this information is now left to the discretion of the developer, but we are well-known for our lack of interest in detailed documentation…

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