Windows Phone beating Android in the app price game already?

According to a research done by Canalys, apparently Android apps are generally more expensive than iOS ones. The research report pointed out that the combined price of top 100 paid apps in US Android Market is $374.37, or $3.74 in average. The same number for iOS apps is $1.47, cheaper by a lot if you are looking at it in percentages.

This might be the result of several factors, such as:

  •  The raving piracy across the Android ecosystem makes it hard for developers to make money. Since they can’t effectively *sell* a lot of copies in business sense, they have to get more from whatever copy people actually pay for.
  •  The (relatively) good competition in Apple’s App Store has naturally lowered the average price.
  •  With advanced in-app purchase support on iOS, developers could sell the app for cheaper, and get the “loss” back later.

 Well, the question is: how is Windows Phone doing against the two archrivals?

Chinese Windows Phone site has done the math by manually adding up the top 100 paid apps in Windows Phone Marketplace (via Zune, US account), and found that the total price of them adds up to $310.2, or $3.1 on average. This is already beating the Android Market by $0.64, or 17.1% cheaper. This isn’t normal, since the average price kind of says something about how confident the developers are in successfully getting their time & effort investment back. In common sense, developers tend to price their stuff more expensive on platforms that have fewer users or largely plagued by piracy (look at Windows Mobile and the shocking prices in its Marketplace). Obviously Windows Phone currently has way fewer users than Androiders, and that might mean one thing: we might be small in numbers, but we’ve got a nice bunch of honest and supportive people here.

It should be known that such a comparison is not fair for Windows Phone, because out of the top 100 paid apps, you can find almost the entire family of Xbox Live titles, which are mandated to three tiers of prices: $2.99 (kind of fine), $4.99 (more expensive than competitors), and $6.99 (THE WHOPPER). Having so many of them in the equation clearly means the final result can’t effectively represent the average price point across the whole eco-system, which would be even lower.

Of course it’s not quite fair for Android either. You know, with ten thousand different app stores of some sort, each for a township on this planet, and with developers trying to sell their things on a great number of app stores all at the same time… The numbers drawn from the US facet of the official Android Market might just mean nothing. Say, are we sure about exactly how many Android users even use the official Market? With maybe a large number of consumers bought an Android phone for popularity’s sake and not knowing anything about it? With OEMs packing their own homegrown app stores into the phones they sell? With Amazon trying to backstab Google? No, nothing is definitive under such messy circumstances.

Well, at least we know Windows Phone is doing, at the very least, not bad in building an eco-system. Way to go, boy!