Google's app store has one key advantage over Apple's

The free TweetDeck desktop app is one of my main windows to the world. The columns I’ve arranged of constantly incoming tweets are like the descending green code from The Matrix. Those columns tell me what’s going on, and I personally, as well as professionally, need to know what’s going on.

Suffice it to say, I think TweetDeck is a pretty important tool. But I’m always open to explore new ways to keep on top of the news. That’s why my colleague Alex Heath’s article about TweetBot intrigued me. TweetBot looks like it has a nicer, cleaner interface than TweetDeck, and I’d like to check out how it’s better.

But for $US13? No way. And that’s a price drop from the previous version of the app, which costs $US20! And yes, I’m willing to spend $US650 for a smartphone, but I won’t pay $US13 for an app I haven’t tried myself before. That’s because $US650 is what premium smartphones generally cost, and I know what I’m getting with a new $US650 phone.

This chart from BI Intelligence gives you a good idea how much people are willing to pay for apps:

BII paid app average amount chartBusiness Insider IntelligenceIf TweetBot is $US13, and the average we’re willing to pay for social apps is $US2.18, maybe a free trial is in order?

TweetBot is a Mac/iOS exclusive app, and if I wanted to get a refund because I didn’t like it or see its value over TweetDeck, I would need to dig through several menus and submenus in the App Store. Then I’d need to write out a compelling reason why I want a refund, and then wait for Apple to either accept of decline my reasoning, which could take up to a few weeks, and even months and isn’t guaranteed.

If there was an Android version of TweetBot, I’d be able to pay for the app and get a no-questions-asked refund within two hours of installing it on my phone. Two hours isn’t exactly enough time to fully evaluate whether you’d like an app or not, but it’s something, and I don’t need to write in and plead with a company to give me my money back.

I first experienced Google’s Play Store refund and return policy when trying out different watch faces for an Android Wear watch. I bought one I thought I liked, but realised when I opened it that the watch face didn’t quite work aesthetically with the Android Wear watch I had.

Android Wear watch faceBusiness Insider/Antonio Villas-BoasIt’s nice, but it doesn’t quite fit the LG Urbane’s rather thick design compared with the Moto 360’s slim bezels.

I went back to the watch face’s store page in the Google Play Store and saw it was an option to get a refund.

Android wear google play refundScreenshotI found the refund button when I went back to the watch face page in the Google Play Store.

And just like that, the watch face uninstalled itself and I got my money back.

Android wear google play store refund emailScreenshotJust like that, I got my money back. Here’s the email I received from Google confirming the refund.

Some app developers make free basic version of their apps that don’t have the same “premium” features as the paid version, and the free versions often have annoying ads while the premium versions don’t. But other app developers like TweetBot don’t offer limited free versions, opting to go for a paid-or-nothing model instead, and I feel like they’re losing out on potential users by asking a lot more money than we’re willing to pay for an app without offering some sort of trial.

If I could at least try TweetBot, I could then make an informed decision based on experience to buy the app. Otherwise, I’m not going to gamble $US13 that I’m going to like it.

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