Just about everyone with a smartphone has heard at least one story of an app developer making themselves rich by developing the right app at the right time, on the right platform. Currently, it’s hard to overlook the market share of both the iOS and Android platforms. Windows Phone 7 would appear to be an underdog in the smartphone market with roughly 5-6% market share compared to Android’s 36%. These kind of numbers don’t immediately appear so appealing to mobile platform developers, but how do they actually compare in terms of revenue potential for the developers? Are Windows Phone apps worth more than Android apps?
Surprisingly, the answer may be a resounding yes. For free app developers, a higher CPM on embedded advertisements has a direct impact on revenue made from the apps. While narrowing down an exact comparison is difficult, due in part to a large number of variables, a recent post made on a developer’s blog revealed that (at least for them) the payoff on the Windows Phone platform far exceeded that of Android when it came down to ad revenue from their free app. On the first day, the revenue they made on Windows Phone 7 far exceeded that of the Android version of their app, with only a narrow margin of difference between them in terms of impressions.
Another factor to take into consideration is the amount of competition on various platforms. Android and iOS are both full of incredible apps that perform a wide range of tasks for the user. Being the underdog, Windows Phone 7 doesn’t have as many options for the user in terms of apps. There aren’t 5,000 flashlight apps competing with each other for one of the coveted top spots, and new apps aren’t quickly replacing them on the front of the app stores as seemingly hundreds of apps are approved each day. The Windows Phone platform is still new, and developers appear to have a better chance at getting their apps seen because of this.
One big advantage Windows Phone has over the competition (for both developers and users) is integration with the Xbox. This integration could allow game developers to create companion content to go with their larger projects that integrate in a way that works as a value-add. Choosing one game over another could be as easy as weighing which game offers the most value for the purchase price. Adding a Windows Phone app that integrates with a customer’s Xbox account could be an interesting way to push your product above the rest.
Being a big fish in a small pond is much easier than being a small fish in a big pond. Old expressions aside, the question remains whether or not developers will look past market share and dive in to Windows Phone as the opportunity to make more money becomes more obvious on Microsoft’s platform.