A few comments have been posted to an article I recently wrote about a product that is targeted to Apple device consumers. Most of the comments — in fact, 75 percent of the comments posted at the time I’m composing this sentence — are inquiring about whether or not the product I wrote about is going to be made available to Android device users.
My response to one of the commenters included the following assertion: “iPhone/iPad users are more likely to pony up for stuff they want. It’s a generalization, I know — but too many Android users want stuff for free/close to free. iOS consumers tend to put their money where their mouths are.”
I have long desired to own an Android device, and earlier this year I was finally able to afford one, a vastly discounted Samsung device offered by a prepaid carrier. I purchased the device at Best Buy for $50 at a time when the manufacturer’s suggested retail price was well over $100. It was one of those fortunate moments when the stars aligned in my favor; for months I had been watching Fatwallet.com and other deal monitoring sites in the hopes that such a deal would make an appearance. When it did, I jumped on the occasion.
This was my first experience with an Android device, and I must say I was at first thrilled with it. Though the device was somewhat lacking in the specs department, I salivated over the opportunity to finally be able to discover what everyone had been talking about since the first Android-powered device was released in 2008.
Yet I soon found that my new phone was severely incapable of being able to do what I most wanted to do: install apps. I mean, the device was loaded with the prepaid carrier’s apps, including Facebook and Twitter and a few more of the universally accepted necessities. But I was unable to add more than a few more apps without quickly running out of internal storage. Within a month, I decide to delve into the world of Android modding in order to see if I could modify my phone just so that it would be able to run more apps.
Eventually, after much exploring and deciphering of the somewhat esoteric Android modding community, I found a developer who was willing to develop a ROM that would render my device usable. And though at least one of my co-contributors here at LockerGnome finds it awesome but unimportant to be able to root your Android device, I’ve found the ability to root my device to be an absolute necessity in my being able to enjoy using my phone. Today, the Android phone is in a state that I far better appreciate than it had been when I first brought it home from Best Buy.
And yet the device, due to its low specs, is still only capable of running an outdated version of Android. Though I find Gingerbread (Android 2.3.6) capable enough for my current needs (for the most part), I’m finding myself unwilling to purchase apps for the device. For one thing, many of the apps I’ve installed on the device lack the quality I’ve found in their equivalent apps developed for the iOS platform. For another, though I’ve invested some money into the device, such as an extended battery and a larger microSD card in order to enable the device to perform better than it at first did, I’m finding the device still doesn’t quite match the quality of the iOS device that I recently purchased from somebody off of Craigslist, a 4th generation iPod touch that came equipped with far more storage and memory than the inexpensive Android device I’d been hoping would rock my world.
There are some incredible Android devices on the market, but I speak from the point of view of someone who cannot afford the latest and most expensive ones of the bunch. Certainly I would love to sport a Nexus 4 or a Galaxy S III, but those devices are far out of my budget. The iPod touch, though having some flaws of its own, I acquired for $100 and have since purchased approximately $50 worth of apps to install to the device. As for the Android device, I have spent precisely $0 (zero dollars) for apps to install on the phone.
I believe that iOS consumers are far more likely to spend their money on apps for their iPads and iPhones (and iPod touches). I am far from alone in this opinion. This is, I believe, because the typical iOS consumer has more disposable income than the vast majority of mobile device consumers. They can afford to purchase apps that owners, such as myself, of less expensive devices can afford to purchase. In addition, there is a perception that iOS apps are of superior quality than their Android counterparts. Earlier this year, when the developers of Instagram finally released an Android version of their remarkably popular iOS photo sharing app, an immediate and overwhelming criticism was made — mostly from iOS consumers, its seems — that the quality of the Android version of the app was of lesser quality. Whether or not the complaints were warranted or not, I don’t know. (I hadn’t yet tested Instagram on an iOS device at the time the Android version was released.)
There are iOS apps, of course, developed by Apple itself that are far from maintaining the standard of quality that the company is known for. But most apps must undergo a strict vetting process before they are allowed to be sold through Apple’s App Store, and this further reinforces consumers’ perception that iOS apps are of a higher quality. iOS consumers often purchase Apple products due to this perception, whether valid or not, and are more willing to pay for apps to further enhance their iPhones or iPads.
This is not intended to be an insult to consumers of low-cost Android devices (which would in fact be an insult to myself); it’s simply a view that I strongly hold, having now had considerable experience using both devices. (I’ve also participated in beta testing of another Android device since my initial purchase, and found myself even less willing to purchase apps for the device due to its lacking in certain very key areas.) Perhaps, once I have more experience with higher-quality Android devices, my views will change. I’d certainly like to see some of my favorite apps, such as Bossjock Studio, one day make their way to the Android side. But I’m not going to be complaining about it until it’s perfected its app on iOS devices, and I’m certainly not going to pretend I’d pay good money for an Android app that almost certainly wouldn’t be capable of performing well on the device I currently own.
Are you willing to put your money where your mouth is? Would you pay good money for an Android version of an app that currently is exclusively being developed for iOS devices? Would you, for example, buy GarageBand or iTunes or iMovie or FaceTime for Android? If there was an app for surviving the apocalypse, would you download it only if it was free?
Image provided by someecards.