Stories about iPhone app developers quitting their day jobs after slaving away in bedrooms at night are heartwarming, but a dime a dozen at this point. Rival app stores, like Google's Android Market and Palm App Catalog, are much smaller, with smaller userbases, and have so far lacked such high-profile app stories. Not anymore.
Developer Edward Kim, whose "Car Locator" Android app has been frequently bumped to the "featured app" section in the Market, wrote a blog post outlining the profits he's taken in from his app—and they're just as impressive as any iPhone developer's. Car Locator, which does exactly what you think it does, has been downloaded about 70,000 times (in its free version), but it's the paid version that's important—it's gotten 6,590 downloads so far. Now, Kim nets about $13,000 per month from his app.
Even more impressive is that Car Locator isn't by any means an anomaly: he's only achieved, at his best, the fourth best-selling spot in the Travel category of paid apps. That means there are, at the very least, dozens of developers who are doing just as well. Kim's app works out to about $400 a day, which pales in comparison to the top iPhone apps, some of which can net $5,000 or $10,000 per day. But Android is a younger and smaller platform, growing quickly, and this story is a good indication that Android may catch up to the iPhone in the app department eventually.
Interestingly, Android has the highest proportion of free apps of any major app store, at 57%, but the data indicates that once Android users decide to pay, they'll pay quite well. Kim raised the price of Car Locator from $2 to $4 and noticed only a slight decrease in buyers, certainly less than half, meaning the hike was still worth his while. In addition, the main driving force was getting featured in Google's favorite apps roundup. His profits more than quadrupled, even though his app is not always present in the section. This suggests that were Google to redesign the layout of the Market, it could encourage more apps to reach the level of success Car Locator has reached.
This is all great news for both Android users and developers. Hopefully more developers will see Android as a viable platform and start working on it, which will entice more users, who will buy more apps, which starts the whole happy capitalistic cycle all over again. It's a good time to jump into the Android pool.
[Via Eddie Kim]