Why Android users can’t have the nicest things

“One of the bigger supposed mysteries out there is why so many prominent mobile apps come out on iOS first despite the fact that Android has a huge overall market share advantage over Apple’s mobile OS,” Brad Reed reports for BGR. “Well, it turns out that there’s a very simple reason: iOS users are much more likely to pay for apps.”

“Late last year, Ustwo Games announced that it was releasing a new level for its hit game Monument Valley for iOS that would not be coming to Android,” Reed reports. “Android fans over at Reddit expressed surprise when an Ustwo developer claimed that Monument Valley had nine times as many players on iOS than on Android.

Reed reports, “Now Mobile Syrup points out that Monument Valley’s developers have offered some updated information to further show why they’ll likely keep releasing new content on iOS before Android: It seems that only 5% of Monument Valley installs on Android are paid for versus 40% of installs on iOS.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Everyone knows that Android is the poor man’s iPhone.

As we explained over two years ago:

Android is pushed to users who are, in general:

a) confused about why they should be choosing an iPhone over an inferior knockoff and therefore might be less prone to understand/explore their devices’ capabilities or trust their devices with credit card info for shopping; and/or
b) enticed with “Buy One Get One Free,” “Buy One, Get Two or More Free,” or similar offers.

Neither type of customer is the cream of the crop when it comes to successful engagement or coveted demographics; closer to the bottom of the barrel than the top, in fact. Android can be widespread and still demographically inferior precisely because of the way in which and to whom Android devices are marketed. Unending BOGO promos attract a seemingly unending stream of cheapskate freetards just as inane, pointless TV commercials about robots or blasting holes in concrete walls attract meatheads and dullards, not exactly the best demographics unless you’re peddling muscle-building powders or grease monkey overalls.

Google made a crucial mistake: They gave away Android to “partners” who pushed and continue to push the product into the hands of the exact opposite type of user that Google needs for Android to truly thrive. Hence, Android is a backwater of second-rate, or worse, app versions that are only downloaded when free or ad-supported – but the Android user is notoriously cheap, so the ads don’t sell for much because they don’t work very well. You’d have guessed that Google would have understood this, but you’d have guessed wrong.

Google built a platform that depends heavily on advertising support, but sold it to the very type of customer who’s the least likely to patronize ads.

iOS users are the ones who buy apps, so developers focus on iOS users. iOS users buy products, so accessory makers focus on iOS users. iOS users have money and the proven will to spend it, so vehicle makers focus on iOS users. Etcetera. Android can have the “Hee Haw” demographic. Apple doesn’t want it or need it; it’s far more trouble than it’s worth.MacDailyNews, November 26, 2012

Google’s going to rue the day they got greedy by deciding to try to work against Apple instead of with them.MacDailyNews, March 9, 2010

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “eldernorm” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple iOS users spend vastly more money and time online than Android users – December 30, 2014
iPhone users earn significantly more than those who settle for Android phones – October 8, 2014
Yet more proof that Android is for poor people – June 27, 2014
More proof that Android is for poor people – May 13, 2014
Apple’s iOS dominates in richer countries, Android in poorer regions – March 25, 2014
Why Apple’s iPhone keeps raking in the majority of mobile phone profits – March 19, 2014
Apple dominates with 60% share of mobile phone profits – March 18, 2014
Android has the most unit share, but Apple dominates profit share, making more money than all Android smartphone makers combined – November 15, 2013
Android users poorer, shorter, unhealthier, less educated, far less charitable than Apple iPhone users – November 13, 2013
IDC data shows two thirds of Android’s 81% smartphone share are cheap junk phones – November 13, 2013
Android phones 3 times more likely than Apple iPhones to have been bought at discount store – August 22, 2013
CIRP: Apple iPhone users are younger, richer, and better educated than those who settle for Samsung knockoff phones – August 19, 2013
Twitter heat map shows iPhone use by the affluent, Android by the poor – June 20, 2013
iPhone users smarter, richer than Android phone users – August 16, 2011
Yankee Group: Apple iPhone owners shop more, buy more, remain more loyal vs. other device users – July 20, 2010
Study: Apple iPhone users richer, younger, more productive than other so-called ‘smartphone’ users – June 12, 2009


        1. Decades during which artists sold tens of millions of albums on vinyl, CD and tape.
          Your ignorance of the fact that it was the development of digital MP3 files along with the Internet which allowed the easy copying and sharing of music for free is astounding, as that was the direct cause of plummeting record sales.
          That’s not conjecture, its historical fact.

        2. Go back to the 1970s – two decades before The digital MP3 format became popular, and people were copying vinyl albums onto cassette tapes. Granted, it was not as easy as copying a digital file, but copying music is nothing new.

          The discussion thread was about attitudes toward free media content. Over the decades, people have been accustomed to “free” (ad supported) and readily accessible music via the radio. That likely has something to do with the widespread permissive attitude towards pirating music. Of course, it is also true that many people have purchased and repurchased the same music a number of times over the years because of evolving media types (vinyl, 8-track, cassette, CD) and the degradation of those media types with use.

          It seems to me that the potential longevity of digital files is almost as much of a threat to long term profits in the music industry as piracy.

  1. Adding to MDN’s take, there is another category of Android user — the “I don’t want to pay for anything” scum-of-the-earth pirate. Free developers won’t develop for Android because Android users don’t tend to patronize ads, while paid app developers won’t develop for Android because almost all the Android users either won’t buy the apps or will just pirate them.

    1. Let’s not fool ourselves that there aren’t Apple users who jailbreak their phones and then pirate apps off Cydia though. (No, not a slam against all jailbreakers.) We shouldn’t get on too high of a horse about that issue.

      1. I dunno about that. 40% paying on iOS versus 5% on Android? I’d say that justifies a fairly high horse-seat. Sure, there are cheap iOS users, but from the stats, virtually all Android users are cheapskates.


  2. “…only 5% of Monument Valley installs on Android are paid for versus 40% of installs on iOS.”

    Does that mean it’s possible to get Monument Valley for free on the App Store? Or do 60% of users have pirate copies of it?

  3. MDN should not look down upon the poor because they cannot afford Apple devices. It smacks of arrogance. I know people who cannot afford an iPhone or an iPad but would love to own one. Rich or poor, typical Android user is a cheap and geeky social misfit who thinks he/she is smart for the wrong reasons.

  4. Just looking at the people whining about the lack of an Android port of the new free-to-download X-Plane Mobile app is sickening. The company’s already said it’s working on one, explained on their developer blog the (very good) reasons why iOS was first, and that Android is a learning curve for them so they don’t have even an approximate release date.

    They flood every new post with “Where’s the Android port??” demands, accuse them of ignoring the larger Android market, and it’s honestly trolling at this point. It smacks of entitlement, and you know the first thing they’re going to complain about when it’s finally released is that the in-app purchases are too expensive.

  5. I’ll toss my opinion into the ring: the typical, non-geek Android user has no incentive (and a bit of a barrier) to paying for apps. And the typical casual iOS device user experiences the converse. A new iOS user is often taken aback upon first entry to the App Store and being asked for payment information. But Apple has a fair measure of trustworthiness so after asking a trusted friend or doing a bit of checking, they accede or elect to get an Apple Store gift card. In any event, early on, they are ready and able to pay for stuff even if they buy little at first. But a catchy song or a trivial game gets then down the path at 99¢ a hop. When a really interesting or productive or entertaining item presents itself, it’s so much easier to buy it. It’s a thoughtful decision to spend $4.99 (or $15 or whatever) that leads to reviewing the app and praising or burying the developer. It’s a perception of value that leads to pointing out the usefulness/reward to a few friends or family.

    Contrast this with the experience of the Android user. So much is predicated on the freeness of stuff. It’s not cheapness or dishonesty as much as it is that the word of mouth slant is different – a good app is recommended to a friend with “Look what we can get free! What a platform!” It’s almost a mark of failure to *buy* an app when there’s surely something free that can get the job done. Perhaps not elegantly, maybe not without some glue & string, but it’ll be free. And since the user doesn’t start off buy handing over payment info & auth, there’s a tad more inertia to overcome to get the user to decide, for just one app, to enter all that precious info, to consciously decide that this app is worth the trouble. It’s more “nah, this little thing isn’t critical …and there’s a free app that’s good enough”.

    In short, there’s a difference in philosophy that doesn’t have to be married to morals, ethics or means.

    Sometimes the each camp simply doesn’t get where the other is coming from. Sigh.

  6. “despite the fact that Android has a huge overall market share advantage”

    And that “huge overall market share” in inflated by counting devises that couldn’t run your Android app even if they wanted to.

  7. This article misses that there now more apps in the Playstore than in the iStore. Worse it forgets to raise the point that due to Apple restrictive policies on what apps can do, there are many great apps that are not available to IOS users completely the opposite of what the title is saying. If developers did not want to design for Android why has the number of apps grown from way less than IOS to now more than?

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.