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In his analysis, posted few weeks ago, the developer of Papermill for Android1 made few clear statement on the state of Android’s ecosystem.

“Media coverage and sales of Papermill have already far exceeded my expectations and I can’t envision either increasing. With this in mind, it’s easy to conclude that the the application, with its current price and need for a subscription, will never generate a profit, especially when costs like fonts still need to be incurred. If I were to create a ‘freemium’ or ad-based version, the app’s profitability would almost certainly increase but I believe that this would decrease the quality of experience that the app offers and that is rare on the Android market.

I think this unhappy end-scenario - of applications that either compromise on quality or have not had the necessary time invested in their design - is as a result of Android users not being willing to pay for an apps whose focus is quality and whose price reflects this. Instead, these users opt for a free but less refined experience. This has led to a race to the bottom, with independent developers creating applications are de-facto free instead and relying on ads for profit. The quality of the design and user-experience are subsequently not a factor in their creation, as there is both no great impetus to provide it nor any expectation from the user that it will be forthcoming. Applications for larger companies that are developed for multiple platforms are also not developed with quality in mind. The Android version in this scenario is often turned out as quickly as possible simply so that company can advertise as being on the platform. In the majority of such cases, the Android is either a direct port of the iOS app or is a copy of it, with UI elements and UX principles from iOS clearly present.

I think this at least in part due to the nature of the average Android user. To my mind, the majority of Android users want ‘a smartphone’ and end up with whatever Android model fits their price range, rather than what iPhone users want (‘the iPhone’).[8] (If you’re an Android user who’s reading this, though, you’re probably not that person.) This leads to users who, by definition, aren’t willing to pay for expensive/high-quality anything, the opposite of the user at whom the iPhone is unabashedly marketed. While “cheaper smartphones” is an entirely valid core market to target (and one that is actually Android’s strength - while device manufacturers will always be creating mid-range Android handsets and can edge into the high-end market, Apple is highly unlikely to create anything but a high-end smartphone), the resulting user expectations, and subsequent race to-the-bottom app development, is reflected in the current general quality of Android apps.

This is also not helped by the total lack of moderation on the Android Market. Each day, at least one of the top trending apps is a data-theft/ad-spamming application that’s usually nothing more than a live wallpaper of a small animation. These applications are free, have incredibly high download rates, and any a large number of misleading or clearly machine-generated ‘reviews’. They can be featured on the trending apps for numerous days. This has caused me, and I’m sure others, to largely ignore trending apps.

I would like to believe that both the size of the userbase and range of handset quality is starting to reach a point where it will support higher-quality apps. With enough owners of higher-end Android handsets who are willing to pay for apps, development of apps that focus on quality rather than mass-appeal would be be rewarded. In combination with backwards-compatibility libraries and design guidelines, it would be nice to believe that these high-quality apps, intended to appeal to the Android user with a higher-end handset, would also appeal to someone who bought a lower-end phone ‘just for email’.”

I’m also an adroid user and i do agree with him on One thing, the only One i can testify by myself: Android developers don’t care about making great apps, there isn’t a single app on android made with the aim of being the best app available or even - just a bit - better than the same kind of app on iOs, but this problem, as he states, it’s because of the users.
They do prefer less curated apps for free with ads than way better apps for few bucks and this trend is fully confirmed by papermill’s sales.

Another reason for which I will never prefer android over iOs.

Few days later he released an update.:

I don’t “blame cheap users” for “lack of sales.” Both are incorrect assumptions and have little to do with my main thoughts on the market.

I don’t like ads. I wish the android market was large enough and diverse enough that it would support apps that consciously avoided them in favour of my conception of quality. I just don’t think that’s the case right now.

Please stop with the personal attacks.

It’s a shame that an honest developer is personally attacked by people who don’t even know him only because he said that Android is not the right platform to target for curated apps.

This all Apple vs Android madness must come to an end, it’s bad both for the companies and the customers. We can have our own different opinions on this matter, but that doesn’t mean that we have to fight, we can - and must - state them in a polite way.

And remember The world is awesome because is varied.

  1. The only Intapaper app for android. 

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Valentino Urbano



Valentino Urbano

iOS Developer, Swift, Writer, Husband

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