How much does your household spend on the Android ecosystem?

by: J. Angelo RacomaSeptember 13, 2012

Mobile devices have become ubiquitous, and with this, companies are also turning to mobile devices for profit. We know that Apple earns a hefty markup from each iPhone, iPad and just about any iDevice sold. Android manufacturers, meanwhile, have a slimmer margin. Some even sell their products at cost or at a loss, and recoup the investment from content sales.

A recent article by Kevin Tofel on BusinessWeek has me wonder about my Android-related consumption. Tofel asks whether Google — and other companies — are seeing profit from the Android ecosystem. While Google has proudly announced 1.3 million Android activations daily, the ecosystem is set to exceed 1 billion devices by 2013.

The question is profitability.

Early in Android’s short lifespan, it seemed to me that subsidizing a free, open-source platform to make a land grab for mobile eyeballs was a good play that would pay off over time. Nearly four years later, there’s little data to suggest the investment is paying off. In fact, more data suggests Apple’s methodical approach is financially sound.

Market studies aside, Tofel uses a simpler benchmark: how much do you spend in either ecosystem? This includes apps, content (like e-books, music) and even the cost of the device itself. In Tofel’s case, he has spent about $150 on Android apps, but says he has spent five times this amount on iOS, even though he uses his Android phone as his primary device.

E-books are another question, though, which means Amazon might have found the right business model for monetizing Android in its Kindle lineup.

And so, dear readers, we ask you. How much have you spent on the Android ecosystem, so far? I know most of us love “free” but some devices, apps and content are bound to have a cash value. I must admit I’ve only spent about $10 on Android apps, which includes a few games for my kids. On iOS, I haven’t spent a dime!

  • Jei Arc

    personally i bought the original Iphone $600 and since then i have only bought 1 app for IOS (angry birds)
    Bought the Motorola Atrix ($150) in early 2011 and have bought at least 10 app for it.
    Also bought an Asus (TF101) ($400) and have bought at least 30 apps for it some upwards of $10 like Galaxy on Fire, plus a few in-game purchases.
    The 2 Android devices are on separate account so no sharing.
    By the way all 3 devices are daily drivers. However i am a peculiar buyer so i have to wait for something to “wow” me order to buy, hence i have not upgrade that iPhone, and although there are a lot of “nice” phones out there my expectation are always higher :), and no i will not buy another iphone i am waiting for the perfect android phone :O

    • Edward

      the best android phone is probably the note 2.

      • Remember when phones got smaller. They said phones caused brain cancer and crap like that. Im starting to second guess them cause I believe we are digressing.

  • You might have a wait on your hands.

  • Edward

    on ios there are free apps and games every day, and i got a lot of great games for free, one of them is riptide gp,
    on android i usually use free apps, sometimes i can get good games from amazon free app of the day.
    so i haven’t spent any money

  • Maff Mace

    Up to April this year I worked out I’d spent £169 so far on the Market/Google Play (been with Android since launch except for a 3 month gap where I moved to the dark side to try it out) by checking my Google Wallet history. Since then I’ve got a tablet and my Mrs has been on Android for a few years now too, don’t know what she’s spent, if anything.
    Most expensive thing I’ve bought is Copilot when it was released, I think it was £25 or £50

  • Left about 200-250€ in the Store since my G1. But the purchases increased a lot in the last 1-2 years. Mainly for apps, barely for games. Good and long support, tablet interface or a nice design makes me want to pay/donate quickly. For special apps who are maybe not so popular I’m also willed to pay higher prices because they don’t get tons of downloads but I’m happy they exist. Examples are a bird spotting app where I payed 5€ for..or an app to identify trees for 12€.
    One kind of app I’m still looking for and didn’t found anything good is an app for photographers to save locations. An app with a map and the ability to store a location with the position, a little descriptions, tags, import/export feature or cloud sync and one or multiple photos of it. The only app which doing it a bit so far is compass by catch but this one has a pretty bad interface. This are apps where I would even pay 15€ for because they don’t really exist. Sometimes I don’t understand why some devs do the 50st to-do app instead of something where they have no competition.

  • Justin McDermott

    I am not sure if this goes for others but there is a certain point where I stop buying apps because I dont have the space for them. This has definetly happend on my iphone though not so much on my Nexus 7 because alot of my info lives in the cloud. This is the main reason I think these devices need to support SD cards.