The paid vs ad-supported apps experiment

A few days ago I exchanged a series of interesting e-mails with the mighty Gargaj from Conspiracy, and others. He asked me about my experience developing Android apps and what it was like with free vs paid apps, etc.

It seems some of his friends in Hungary (where he lives) are considering starting with Android development, but are unable to accept payments due to the usual Google-Checkout-is-not-available-in-your-country-yet issue, so their only solution for the time being is to use in-app ads (excluding alternative, non-Google run markets, I guess).

This prompted me to re-consider my current approach to apps. Until now I had only released either free apps with no ads (but which were also a little silly/experimental) and paid apps without its free/ad-supported counterpart.

Also, people said that in order to earn nauseating amounts of money and thus get indecently rich with Android I had to provide a free/ad-supported version of my paid apps--something that I refused to do because the ads just didn't look good in those apps, and the apps were cheap enough that not buying them was a miserable excuse (in every sense of the word).

However, and back to Hungary and other countries without Google Checkout---at the same time they cannot sell paid apps, they cannot buy them either. So you've got a sizeable chunk of the market who simply cannot access your apps, even if they wanted to (for reference, the list of countries where you can sell apps is here).

So since I had an application "in the works" that might work with ads in it, I decided to run a little experiment with it: I would release two versions of the app, one free (with ads) and another one paid (without ads, obviously). And let's see what happens!

The application is GPS Capture, and I already wrote about it a few months ago. I programmed this app because I needed some sample location data, and My Tracks wasn't good enough for my requirements, which actually included getting bad data. So GPS Capture does all that I need --and nothing else. It might be useful for programmers and also for GPS/location freaks. The sort of people who know of the existance of this stackexchange subdomain.

This experiment/miniproject has also allowed me to learn about Library projects in Android, which I hadn't used yet. This enables me to have a library with the core functionality, and then two projects which depend on that library (the Free and Pro applications respectively), without having to do symbolic links at filesystem level, performing git/svn voodoo and etc.

I had switched back to Eclipse because I thought the latest version of Eclipse+ADT would be awesome and furthermore IntelliJ wouldn't work with Library Projects but turns out I was wrong. And I am so going back to IntelliJ; Eclipse is still such an embarrassingly awful drunk mammoth that I don't even know where to start pointing at. So I won't. I'll direct you again to my app page and let the strange ways of fate and randomness decide what is in store for my apps, so to say.