I released my first app, a simple tip calculator with a virtual number pad, a little over a week ago. I set the price at $0.99. So far no one has bought it. This could have something to do with the fact that there are a dozen other tip calculators already in the market, most of them free. Ah well.
Lesson #1: You're probably not going to make money off an app for which there are already many others just like it.
Since then I've released four more apps:
- Where Am I? A simple app that pulls GPS data (latitude, longitude, altitude, bearing, and speed) and calculates your distance to the Prime Meridian and equator in km and mi (Price: free)
- JoyBuzz A silly app with a big red virtual button. When you press it, your phone vibrates and it makes a buzzing sound (Price: free)
- ConcretePal A simple calculator using the same virtual number pad as my tip calculator. You enter the dimensions of a slab to pour and it returns the volume in cubic feet and cubic yards, as well as estimating the number of either 60 lb. or 80 lb. bags of concrete you will need. (Price: $0.99)
- DogWhistle An app that generates 5-second sounds at 7 different frequencies, most out of the range of human hearing, but within the range dogs can hear. (Price: $0.99)
Where Am I?
389 active installs (61%)
974 active installs (60%)
18 active installs (94%)
3 active installs (75%)
I've actually got a bunch more numbers for DogWhistle, but the Google Developer Console hasn't updated them yet. I actually released the app last night. I had read about a popular app for the iPhone that was similar, and since I already had an app that generated sounds on the press of a button, I just swapped them out and put up the app. This was a mistake. I didn't extensively test the app, and as a result, I got an initial barrage of negative comments and cancellations of orders (Google gives you 24 hours to cancel your purchase of an app). So I reworked it, tested it a bit more, and re-released it today.
Lesson #2: Don't release apps impulsively. I was doubtful that the app would even have much interest, but I immediately got a flood of downloads. Which leads me to...
Lesson #3: Unique apps have much more potential for making money.
And another lesson...
Lesson #4: People will spend money for stuff related to their pets.
Now, back to the other paid app that's got sales, ConcretePal. So far this week I've sold 18 copies at 99 cents apiece. Google takes a cut of about 20%, so I'm going to see about $15 out of that. Not too bad for the first week. Although, yesterday I got a negative review from a user (which the developer can't respond to), which said that the calculations were wrong. The calculations are not wrong. This is a simple length x width x height, for frig's sake. The height is in inches, so I have to divide by 12, but the math is correct. I checked it several times, and checked the calculations against other on-line concrete calculators. Also, he said the bag estimates were too high. This may have some merit. Different on-line calculators and sites have slightly different estimates for bags per cubic foot of concrete, but I went with calculations with conservative estimates that take into consideration waste and spillage. I would think an overestimation would generally be better than an underestimation. Anyway, again, the market provides no way to directly address negative comments from users, which sucks. I had one other positive comment from a buyer of ConcretePal, and I hope this one dumb comment doesn't hurt the steady trickle of sales, but we'll see.
Lesson #5: You're stuck with what people say about your app.
I've also gotten several emails from people. Most of them have been about JoyBuzz. I'm kind of surprised it's gotten that many downloads. Some people want to be able to turn the vibrate feature off. Some people what another button that gives a "correct" ding. Who knows...I may throw those things in, but not right now. I basically wrote the app to learn how to make the phone vibrate and emit noise based on user input. Same with the GPS app, which I basically wrote to learn how to access the GPS information, in case I wanted to write a more complicated app that used the users location for some purpose.
Lesson #6: You can never tell what people might be interested in.
Anyway, my next app will be a card game. It's much more complicated than any of the apps I've done so far, so it will probably take another week or two. I'll post here about it when it's released.