Android Apps—a Growing Market

Want to know if your Android application customer demographic has changed since Verizon’s launch of the DROID? Just look at your app’s comments on the Marketplace. Over the past few weeks, the language has dramatically changed from a constructive comment like “great app but needs some work” to a more aggressive one like ‘”this app sucks—my phone keeps on crashing” without any diagnostic aid. While this hurts the developer’s sales, it shows that the user market has changed and expanded.

When the first Android phone emerged—the T-Mobile G1—the early adopters jumped on it. These consumers, the first users exposed to the problems common to early-stage product deployment, were tech-savvy. They were compassionate with developers’ struggles in a young market and patient with the crashes, bugs, and error messages. These people mostly had an understanding of the programming behind the apps. They acknowledged that as the new Android phones hit the market, the apps would have to adapt with them.

Unlike other popular smart phones, the Android operating system has been deployed in at least 10 different devices and carried by at least 5 service providers internationally. Each device has different parameters for certain features and, on top of that, the Android OS keeps being updated creating a constant stream of programming demands. Unfortunately, the consumer doesn’t always understand this. They’ve been trained to assume that each app that arrives in the Marketplace has been tested on every device and the latest OS before being made available on the market. That’s not how Android works.

On a positive note, the new wave of consumers suggests that the product is being adopted by the early majority. While early adopters tend to perceive risks in a positive way, early majority undoubtedly perceive risks as negative, hence comments like “don’t even bother downloading the app—it crashes my phone” which, in fact, is a device error.

What we can take away from this is that the Android developers are going through a maturity stage where they have to learn how to manage their consumers. They will need to help educate their users through blogs, increase their customer service by reaching out to the unsatisfied customers, and connect with the trendsetters who often aid in the awareness of the products.

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