updated 01:40 pm EST, Thu February 23, 2012
Discrepancy linked to market, in-app purchases
Paid Android apps are on average over two and a half times as expensive as iPhone apps, says research group Canalys. As a test case, the company notes that buying the top 100 paid titles on the Android Market currently costs $374.37, averaging out to $3.74 per app. Buying the top 100 paid iPhone apps costs just $147, at an average of $1.47 per title.
Canalys blames the difference on several factors, such as "Apple's more mature, controlled retail environment," which is said to encourage price competition and allow for in-app purchases. The latter, though, may sometimes affect the real prices paid by users. Canalys separately suggests that fewer people are willing to pay for Android apps, forcing developers to charge more to break even.
"Selling more apps at higher prices is the Holy Grail for developers, but achieving big volumes of paid apps on Android is no small challenge," says Canalys' Rachel Lashford. "More aggressive price competition around Android apps would help to encourage more consumers to make their first app purchases, drive greater download volumes, and ultimately be good for the vibrancy of the app ecosystem."
A factor complicating comparisons is the lack of overlap between the bestselling App Store and Android Market apps. Only 19 titles appear on both top 100 lists, meaning that the other apps could be skewing results.