Comparing Mobile App Stores: GooglePlay vs. Apple App Store vs. Kindle vs. Windows Phone Store

Comparing Mobile App Stores: GooglePlay vs. Apple App Store vs. Kindle vs. Windows Phone Store

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There are many app stores to choose from, and it is difficult to focus on all of them equally well. Let’s go over the pros and cons of each app store when it comes to monetization, marketing, and development.

The GooglePlay Store

As I alluded to earlier, the Android platform is a good choice if you want to quietly release your app, and make many rapid improvements to it as called for by the Lean Startup methodology of Eric Ries. If you are not familiar with the Lean Startup methodology, it is a very widely adapted theory on how to rapidly improve your product by getting market feedback, and iteratively improving your product.  Android also has the most global users. What that means for you is that you can release your app on GooglePlay, and then easily port that app to other app stores like the Kindle app store, the NOOK app store from Barnes & Noble (if it survives), and many other Android-based app stores in other countries. This can make for a bit of a management nightmare if you later have to make updates to all those apps, but you will be tapping into over a billion devices worldwide.

Apple App Store

The Apple App Store, on the other hand, requires apps to be made only for it. Once you make a native iOS app, it can be sold only on the Apple platform. You still get access to hundreds of millions of users, but the overall reach of Apple is now smaller than that of Android. Despite having a smaller reach, the iOS platform has a far higher number of affluent users who are willing to spend money on apps. The amount of money spent per app user is far higher on iOS than on Android.

The Amazon Kindle App Store

The Kindle platform is a good second option to reach US and European audiences with Android apps. The Kindle has a few interesting advantages. First of all, people who own a Kindle expect to pay for content on this device because they expect to buy books for the Kindle. That is very different from other Android platforms where users go out of their way as much as possible to avoid paying. The other interesting thing about the Kindle is that you can sell books from your app as an affiliate. Since the Kindle platform is a very natural one for buying books, your conversion rate will be much higher for books than it would be on another Android platform like GooglePlay. The challenge with the Kindle is that its volume of devices and users is orders of magnitude lower than GooglePlay for example.

The NOOK App Store

Since we just covered the Kindle app market, let’s take a second to talk about Kindle’s cousin, the NOOK device family from Barnes & Noble. While I am personally a fan of the NOOK platform, and have apps on it, it has been a beleaguered brand in the mobile app world with a very uncertain future. Despite me personally being a fan of the platform and wishing it the best, my advice would be to not invest in it by putting your apps on it. The volume of downloads and the generated revenue will be very underwhelming for most apps. Plus, no one knows how long the NOOK platform will be around, and what will eventually become of it.

BlackBerry And Microsoft App Stores

Lastly I want to add a few words about the Windows phone and even the Blackberry. They may seem like very different platforms, but in my opinion they share something very similar. In my opinion (and I could be wrong) they are both “too little and too late” to the game. Those platforms and their device install base are tiny compared to iOS and Android. Developing apps for those platforms has extra barriers associated with their unique technological platforms. The extra development barriers, low potential for distribution via those platforms, and the fact that they need to compete with some of the top companies in the world like Apple and Google, essentially spell doom for the Windows phone and the Blackberry. I personally don’t recommend investing in your app growth on those platforms.

Android App stores based in other countries can be a good option in a few cases. There countries with very large populations like India, China and a few others, which have their own Android app stores. The challenge with those countries is that even though here are many potential users for your apps there, those users will on average be far less lucrative that users from economically strong countries like United States, Australia, Canada, UK, and the rest of Europe. Plus, many people in developing countries don’t use mobile banking which means that even if they wanted to buy your in-app purchases, logistically, they can’t. That means that a large part of the decision of whether to put your app on app stores in those countries depends on how your app makes money. If you make money from ads, despite generating much less revenue in economically poor countries, they will still generate a small trickle of revenue. If you make money with in-app purchases on the other hand, the drop in revenue will likely be far steeper.

Mobile App Marketing Book

This tutorial is just one section of my mobile app marketing book. Check it out on Amazon. It is available on the Kindle which means that you can read it on the Kindle app of any smart phone.

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