Apps cost more on Android

Industry watchers at Canalys have found that the 100 top developers on Android’s Market are charging customers 2.5 times the price of the iPhone’s iOS equivalent.

In its App Interrogator survey, Canalys found that to buy the top 100 Android apps in the US would cost $374.37, or an average of $3.74 per app. By comparison, the top 100 paid for iPhone apps cost $147.00, or $1.47 per app. One reason for this could be that the Android Market caters for a range of devices, including tablets, compared to the iPhone.

Canalys noted that there wasn’t much of a match for apps appearing in both charts. Only 19 in the US could be found in both top 100 lists. When they do appear on both stores, they are priced similarly, unless they’re undergoing an iOS promotion.

Senior analyst Tim Shepherd believes the report proves Android users act differently to iPhone users, which is, in part, to Android appearing “less consumer friendly”.

Apps or games that become a hit on the iPhone do not necessarily break the top spots with Android, the research says. As far as pricing goes, Shepherd thinks Apple has the edge – although its store is “mature”, the App Store is still a “very closely controlled retail environment”, which means companies must compete more to win business. 

“Price competitiveness is crucial in Apple’s store,” Shepherd said, “where the vast majority of top paid apps cost just $0.99, in a way that is not the case in the Android Market.” Games like Monopoly go for $5 on Android but can be bought for as little as $0.99 on Apple devices.

82 of the top 100 paid apps Canalys looked at were priced at just $0.99, however, in-app purchases are making up some of the difference. Shepherd thinks that particular feature also gives Apple developers an advantage, because the ecosystem isn’t as established over on Android.