Photo: Developer Economics 2012
In the five years since the iPhone came out, there has been a gold rush to develop apps, but a new report shows just how hard this business can be.Vision Mobile, a market analysis and strategy firm, surveyed more than 1,500 developers worldwide and found that one in three apps generates $500 or less a month, which means developers have to find other sources of income to get by.
On average, developers make between $1,200-$3,900 per app each month, though some platforms prove more lucrative than others. For example, iOS developers surveyed make more per app each month on average ($3,693) than Android developers ($2,735), but both fall short of what Blackberry developers earn per app each month ($3,853).
Those are just some of the big findings from Vision Mobile’s report on the state of the app economy in 2012.
In fact, 41% of Blackberry developers surveyed plan to give up on the platform and more than half of developers who work with WebOS and Symbian plan to give up on those or have already.
Some good news for Microsoft: More developers are planning to start making apps for Windows than any other platform, though that doesn't necessarily mean they will.
The install base size continues to be the biggest factor in how developers decide which platform to make apps for.
Developers are more satisfied with their ability to reach users and make money on iOS than any other platform.
The big things iOS developers don't like about Apple's App Store are the costs associated with making apps and the limited promotional opportunities.
The average app takes about 3 months of work to develop, but more than a third of iOS and Android apps take longer than that.
On the other hand, more than half of iOS developers say they break even within two years. That's worse than Blackberry developers, but still better than average.
The most popular revenue model for developers is pay per download, even though subscriptions net more money per app each monthly.
Facebook is a developer's best friend. The social network is by far the most popular promotional tool used by developers.
More than half of developers are now making apps for tablets, up from about a third who were last year.
Developers aren't the only ones who have difficult jobs. Working at Apple isn't all it's cracked up to be either.
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