Even though Android is the largest computing platform in the world, it still falls behind the iPhone in one specific area.
New apps still usually launch on iOS before they make their way to Android, with buzzy livestreaming apps Meerkat and Periscope being the latest examples (Periscope still isn’t on Android, and Meerkat just launched for Android last week).
But now, Google could be adding a new feature to its Google Play Store that may incentivise developers to side with Android right away.
Google is reportedly testing a system that would let developers try out different versions of their apps’ profile pages in the Google Play Store, according to The Information’s Amir Efrati.
This would give developers the freedom to see if small price changes, such as switching from $US1.99 to $US2.99, would have an impact on how many people download the app. Or, they could experiment with different layouts, such as different colour themes and video placement among other things to see if any of these factors affect how many people download their apps.
It might not seem like a significant change, but it gives developers a new level of flexibility they can’t get through Apple.
It’s costly to launch an app on both iOS and Android at the same time, which is why many companies choose one platform to start out with. Most people are compelled to develop for iOS before Android for two key reasons: Android is fragmented, so features may not work as well on low-end older phones, and people with iPhones are just willing to spend more money, according to Y Media Labs CEO Ashish Toshniwal.
“The main reason is that Android has all kinds of users,” Toshniwal said in a previous interview with Business Insider. “Android has a lot of like low-resolution phones as well. But iOS doesn’t have anything like that. They come up with new versions of the same phone. The quality is just really consistent on iOS, and they don’t have any cheap phones. Inherently they’re [Android] trying to capture a market that’s much less price conscious.”
But, if developers think a testing tool like the one Efrati described could help them make more money off their apps, it could give them a big reason to develop an Android version of their app at launch instead of iOS.
Travis Katz, the CEO of travel app Gogobot, even told Efrati that he believes the new feature could boost his apps’ conversion rates by about 30-50%.
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