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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

The Price Horror of "Apps"

I came across this today:

http://i.imgur.com/7nX4mKr.gif

OK, I found it months ago but it doesn't do Malay, so worthless to me - but it's pretty amazing. You point your phone's camera at something with foreign text, it shows the same scene but with the text translated.

To me that's pretty amazing. What a time to be alive eh?

What shocked me however was a comment:

"Word Lens is a f**king piece of s**t that demands $10 per language pack, so p*** on that."

$10? Is that so much?

It seems people have got so used to 'free' or 99c "apps", that when presented with some truly incredible software they feel 10 bux is some kind of slap in the face?

Wow.




AC
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Sunday, July 20, 2014
 
 
Yes, the mobile segment is a terrible place to be unless you can sell a large number of units with a simple game that took low hours, or was trivial to port (ie, targeted Unity as the framework), or has addictive in game purchases.

A specialized highly mathematical program that does real time processing on live video is just the sort of thing that I do and charge a lot for. It would be stupid to port to mobile though since I'd just get these sorts of reviews and hate when I announced my price is $500.

So this company will get acquired and make some money selling their patents (they do have patents right) to Apple. Or go bankrupt.
Scott Send private email
Sunday, July 20, 2014
 
 
That is pretty depressing. But not unexpected.

See also:
"Gartner Says Less Than 0.01 Percent of Consumer Mobile Apps Will Be Considered a Financial Success by Their Developers Through 2018"
http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2648515

via:
http://discuss.bootstrapped.fm/t/mobile-apps-still-not-the-place-to-make-money-gartner/1841
Andy Brice Send private email
Sunday, July 20, 2014
 
 
It's already been acquired by Google.

It sounds like a neat piece of software to me, OCR and translation on the phone without needing network.

I read the comments on the Play Store and iTunes; it seems that apart from not working at all on some phones, most people have unrealistic expectations of what processing power is required and what kind input images it could work for.

I think if I'd paid a few dollars to buy the app and all it did was crash on my phone I would be annoyed; but if it worked for the languages I am interested in then I would think it's a bargain. I think the spread of reviews reflect that.

The developers could have done a better job of managing expectations, perhaps, by showing a bunch of images for cases where it both succeeded and failed.
koan Send private email
Sunday, July 20, 2014
 
 
"It's already been acquired by Google."

Cool. So there you go, that's why you do this, that's the business model.
Scott Send private email
Sunday, July 20, 2014
 
 
"people have unrealistic expectations of what processing power is required"

Well, I think these guys are supergeniuses. I am really good at this stuff, and I have no idea how to get something that processor intense working in real time on mobile.

But perhaps it only works on the top phones with quad or oct processors. I guess that would explain it.
Scott Send private email
Sunday, July 20, 2014
 
 
Make tools for professionals, not entertainment apps for consumers:

http://blog.httpwatch.com/2014/04/15/seven-reasons-why-our-ios-app-costs-99-99/
Dmitry Leskov Send private email
Monday, July 21, 2014
 
 
> I have no idea how to get something that processor intense working in real time on mobile.

Pattern Recognition has come a long way in the last 10 years. It's not really surprising that OCR built on modern algorithms can be fast on a mobile.

When you say real time bear in mind that some people call QVGA at 5 fps "real time". A phone app like this could probably get away with <15 fps and it would be perfectly reasonable.

One of the comments I read on the Play Store was "Phone got hot, uninstalling".

Anyway, this is all academic. People don't want to pay for apps, regardless of how amazing they are. If Facebook charged a one off 50 cents for their app they would probably lose a billion users instantly.
koan Send private email
Monday, July 21, 2014
 
 
> $10? Is that so much?

Nope, but we can thank Steve Jobs and his hippy $0.99 mentality that he brought to the software world.  I remember when people used to pay good money for software all the time.  Wasn't that long ago.  Now everyone wants to pay no more than $1.99 at most, even for desktop PC software.
PSB136 Send private email
Monday, July 21, 2014
 
 
>hippy $0.99 mentality

I'm not sure there was anything 'hippy' about it. Apple makes their money on hardware.

See also:
http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/StrategyLetterV.html
Andy Brice Send private email
Monday, July 21, 2014
 
 
Apple and Google have cleverly set the expectation with the general public that software should be either zero priced or near zero-price.

This is because Google makes its money selling adverts and Apple makes it money selling premium hardware.

They have commoditized applications because it supports their business models.  Not to help consumers and certainly not to help the general software market.

This approach is supported by a steady stream of "Flappy-birds-maker-earns-$50k-a-day-and-doesn't-do-any-work" or "Google-buys-start-up-for-$1Trillion-dollars" media stories to ensure a constant stream of new entrants into their app stores.
TomTomAgain Send private email
Friday, July 25, 2014
 
 
"A specialized highly mathematical program that does real time processing on live video is just the sort of thing that I do and charge a lot for. It would be stupid to port to mobile though since I'd just get these sorts of reviews and hate when I announced my price is $500."

It would be even dumber not to do mobile if you had lets say 10k customers interested in paying 500 dollars because you are worried about the reviews of a couple hundred people that are not your customer base.  If you market is a 100 million dollar users, going for volume makes sense. Those are the apps you read about.  And yes a lot of apps that go for volume fail. Thats life.
Foobar Send private email
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
 
 
I guess you would know more about it than me. I really am stupid for not porting my software to mobile and charging $500 a license, as you say.
Scott Send private email
Thursday, July 31, 2014
 
 
Read what I wrote. If you could make money selling your app on mobile for 500 dollars, not doing it because some users (who are not your customers) whine about prices is stupid.  I will leave it up to you to decide if the market exists.

500 dollar apps have never (and probably never will be at least until inflation kicks in) mass marketed. They are sold to business and the like who can justify the expense on a ROI basis.
Foobar Send private email
Thursday, August 07, 2014
 
 
One successful example of a $500 consumer mobile app is RosettaStone.
Lucky Lisp Send private email
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
 
 

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