2009-03-26

MobileCampBoston2 notes

These are my notes from two sessions I attended on Saturday at MobiCamp Boston 2.

Building Android apps

Android apps can run in background
Linux-based security
App is Java/J2ME + lots of extra classes from Google
Activity: your app's basic view, e.g. HelloStart
All package names start with "android"
android.location.LocationListener: for location services
DDMS: your good debugging interface
... and I spent the rest of the hour downloading and configuring Eclipse and the Androd SDK, and then writing Hello World and running it in the G1 emulator.


Selling on the app store: the first 6 months
JJ Rohrer from Elegant Technologies, LLC

He built a bunch of apps, many of which were derived from each other. He tracked the tweaks he made to each app and charted the impact of each change.
No intentional marketing--just a bunch of experiments

JJ's experiments:
  • Front page (launch day): great sales numbers
  • Most apps have asymptotic decline after launch day (Elegant Words)
  • Upgrade: sales spike, but not as high as launch day (Would it be a good idea to publish upgrades as new apps? Because launch day spike exceeds upgrade day spike.) (Fresh apps sell better.) (publish upgrades frequently to get the repeated sales spikes) (Updates list is separate from new releases list)
  • Professional redesign: sales spike, but not as high as first upgrade
  • Upgrade adding skinning: sales spike, but maybe not related to skinning
  • Refer a Friend yields more purchases than in-app catalog of other apps, but hardly anyone uses refer a friend anyway (2% tap the button)
  • Web app staff pick: great usage spike
  • Category doesn't seem to make a difference
  • Free lite version of app: didn't lead to purchases of full version, probably cannibalized sales of full version
  • Android: Clone PowerNap for Android. 1000 downloads per day for free on Android store. Attempted to sell through Handango--got only 2 sales at $1.99. Relaunched on android store as pay app; can't discover it in app store, even via search.
  • Localize product description but not app (e.g., sell to Japanese consumers): no sales impact
  • Localize app (currency): no sales impact
  • Advertising
    • Facebook: cheap, no sales impact
    • LinkedIn: expensive, no sales impact
    • Google: targeted, no sales impact
Challenges
  • Apple's changing guidelnes and enforcement
  • Search doesn't necesarily return his apps
Category, rank, free count, paid count (sales per day)
  • education, top 1, , 100
  • lifestyle, top 50, 300, 25
  • games, top 1, , 10000

android vs iphone
platform, free count, paid count (sales per day)
  • iphone, 125, 2
  • android, 1000, 0.25
Localytics: cross platform analytics

Use Google Alerts to discover who is saying what about you.

Pirates: maybe 30% of server hits are from pirates

Conclusion
  • Distribution trumps all. Top 100 or featured item.
  • App is useful
  • Personalization
  • Being on pp store isn't enough on its own
  • Get as many Day 1 reviews as possible
  • Launching early on platform is more profitable

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