“Two roads diverged by in a wood and I—took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference”- Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken
For a developer, the two roads are apparent- Google and Apple. With both tech-giants hosting over half a million apps and encircling more than billion smartphone users, who would even think about any other plausible road?
Though these app stores provide limitless exposure, the sad reality of these stores is also that you may risk being over-shadowed in the never-ending ocean of mobile apps.
There are countless apps listed on these stores but as we know very few make it to the top. Reportedly, 1% or even lesser apps get the due attention of the main-stream audience.
For an amateur Android developer who has just started off on the Play Store, this can be a nightmare. No matter how good an app is, it stays right there unnoticed, as Google rarely hovers its spot-light over a newly launched app.
However, if you’re an Android developer, Blackberry has a workaround for you. Blackberry has released an Android app player for their Playbook a few months back in an attempt to woo the developer community to switch from Android to Blackberry, as it realizes that the developer community won’t step over to developing native app for its platform until they see a potential audience.
Taking note of this, Cubifice– an Android app developer has seized this opportunity by porting its Android game to Playbook. To his utter amazement, the app got an overwhelming response and the app registered 25 times more downloads when compared to Play Store.
This is what Larocque told RIM in an interview:
“The Blackberry user community is extremely well-engaged and the Blackberry App world provides far better visibility for your application. The App World has a clear-cut layout and is void of any fragmentation/ segregation issues, something which is unlike Google Play Store, where your app feels lost into the huge sea of similar applications.”
He also added that not only did App World help in boosting the number of downloads, it also increased the visibility of the app. The visibility factor plays a crucial role while monetizing the app, as more reach and visibility would mean less investment on marketing and advertising to users.
He admits however that greater visibility on RIM Store is not because App World deploys some enigmatic code-patterns but because there are less number of apps in the App World. In a store where there are only thousand odd apps and dozen odd games, it’s easy to snatch the top position, given your app is fairly decent.
Though shady, App World would be idealistic for amateur Android developers or enterprise start-ups that are looking to build audience. Instead of splashing money on advertising and marketing, it would be far better to list app on a different app store.
If more and more developers find this switch lucrative, this can also compel Blackberry to rethink its strategy on adopting Android as its OS. Maybe, its time to choose the road less travelled, for both developers and RIM.