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How to make money from your Android apps

With the right attitude, and some tips and tricks from industry experts, you can soon turn your homegrown Android app into a nice little earner. Adrian Bridgwater explains how…

The following links lead to downloads for the ‘Developing for Andoid’ tutorial that followed Adrian’s feature.

Icon Files – Click here to download the icon images
TextEdit – Click here to download the

With the right attitude, and some tips and tricks from industry experts, you can soon turn your homegrown Android app into a nice little earner. Adrian Bridgwater explains how…

Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian has been a technology journalist and IT communications consultant for nearly two decades. His journalistic creed is to bring forward-thinking, impartial, technology editorial to a professional and hobbyist software audience around the world.

There’s a fantastic book by former Intel CEO Andy Grove called Only The Paranoid Survive, which is themed around the turning points in the technology roadmap that led Intel to switch its business model and become the microprocessor giant that we know so well today. These ‘strategic inflexion points’, as Grove called them, were the points at which the paranoid business brain would realise the need for change and the opportunity to make money.

With the world of open source in mind, there comes a time in every developer’s life when however fulfilled they are as a result of working on their homegrown hobbyist projects, the allure of cold hard cash just can not be ignored any longer. Almost every open source project has an arm connected to a potential commercial channel where money can be made; and hey, even Sun Microsystems eventually had to “hand the stewardship” (as they carefully put it) of the Java language over to Oracle.

Commercial reality-check
So with these commercial realities under our belt, let us turn our focus to the Android mobile operating system, which of course runs on the Linux kernel. Initially developed by Android Inc and later bought by Google, Android now sits under the watchful stewardship of the Open Handset Alliance. Since the wraps came off the initial Android distribution back in late 2007, the operating system now sits with most of its code under the free and open source Apache License.

But enough of the basics, as most of you will know this preamble. When it comes to Android, the question remains: just when should you start to be paranoid and how and when can you expect to start making money from it? You’ve built your Android-based application and now you want to know how you should set about turning it into a revenue stream, right?
One of the problems is that developers face inherent platform fragmentation issues when launching new mobile content and services to the wider market. Companies such as Mobile Distillery produce technology that claims to reduce porting cycles by up to 80% as well as achieving cost savings by giving developers the chance to bring their mobile applications faster to market across more mobile devices.

Not so str

ange BREW
Having already simplified the porting process for mobile apps to native BREW (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless), Windows Mobile and BlackBerry, Mobile Distillery says that it recognised the rise of Android and launched its Celsius Android solution to optimise and port applications to Android phones.
“We recognised that Android is becoming a platform of choice for mobile application developers and end users and wanted to lend our expertise to Android applications and so developed Celsius Android,” explains Vincent Berge, the co-founder and CEO of Mobile Distillery.
“Using Celsius, all aspects of mobile application development are optimised and, most importantly, porting cycles are faster. This in turn reduces the time to market of new mobile applications on any Android phone. The launch of Android offers many possibilities for the mobile market and with Celsius we want to help overcome any fragmentation issues so that the developer can be more powerful across all platforms and all phones,” adds Berge.
But of course optimisation and porting process improvements are only just part of the total equation. This is a complex cutting-edge segment of the application development market, after all; with so many impacting factors to juggle, surely a healthy level of paranoia and a wide-angle view are the most prudent tactics to adopt? Android proponents argue that the comparatively new application rankings capabilities are bringing the required commercial touch to the party.