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Android apps are pricey for a purpose; Box offers 50GB for free

by Kristen Nicole

There may be a higher ratio of free apps in the Android Market than in the iTunes App Store, but the Android apps you do pay for are double the price of the average iPhone app. A new report from Canalys finds that the top 100 paid Android apps have an average price of $3.74 compared to $1.47 in Apple’s App Store. Canalys concludes that Android apps are too expensive, whereas Apple’s market is more controlled. This means Android’s high prices are the result of the attention-grabbing tactics an app maker needs to compete in a massive marketplace.

“That developers can apparently charge more for their apps on Android and make it into the top paid list is clearly a positive,” said Rachel Lashford, Canalys’ managing director for Mobile and APAC. “But the reality is that with fewer people willing to purchase apps on Android than on iOS today, there is more of a necessity to do so.”

Price manipulation may be a necessity for Android app makers, but it won’t necessarily earn you more income than the App Store. Data from analytics firm Flurry suggests iOS apps bring in 300 percent more revenue than their Android counterparts.

Marketing beyond price

Yet Android continues to grow, and worldwide, too. Android now accounts for the majority of downloads in the U.K., Germany and Russia, reports Xylogic. And the U.S. will be an Android nation before summer break.

A tantalizing market for any app maker, your marketing strategy must often be more creative than price manipulation alone. Online storage and collaboration company Box is giving Android users 50GB of free space in the cloud, for free and forever. That’s a 10-times increase from the standard free offering of 5GB, and comes as part of an upgrade for Box Android app users. Other new features include multiple-file uploads, threaded comments on any file and the ability to invite other people to folders. Not to be outdone, Dropbox updated its Android app to come with auto-upload functionality for photos. Automatic features are becoming popular with cloud storage services, and photos have appealed to Google+ and Apple iCloud as well.

Still, other apps turn to consumer interest as a tactic. Lookout Labs has released a string of consumer education apps to raise awareness around their Android security service, the latest is a detector for ad networks. In response to the rise in aggressive ad network behavior across Android’s marketplace, the Ad Network Detector app tells you when and how personal data is being collected and used. The app is a consumer-driven follow-up to the platform-controlled privacy protection for all apps in their respective marketplaces.