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Devs say Android platform is indeed lucrative, carrier billing to improve things further

May 3, 2012

For people who don’t have credit cards or are uncomfortable using them for digital transactions, buying things on Google Play can be a rather difficult endeavor, if at all possible. The good news is the Play Store now allows customers to buy things and charge them to their carrier’s bills. While initially the purchase was limited only to apps, Google has expanded the options to include the purchasing of music, movie, and books.

For now, the direct carrier billing is available only for selected carriers in the US, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Spain, and the UK. But Google should consider adding more carriers and countries soon, since the new billing option will help app developers expand their market and considerably improve revenue.

Several studies showed that the daily revenue that developers get from Google Play is a fraction from what they get from Apple’s App Store. But these estimates are based on broad averages, so they may not necessarily apply to all developers working on the Android platform. Some of them have taken to the web to give their side of the story.

Spry Fox, the developer behind the puzzle game Triple Town, said that, while earning from Google Play lags behind AppStore, the gap is not that big to justify the assessment that Android is a hard platform to monetize. For every dollar that Triple Town earns on iOS, the Android version brings in 67 cents. David Edery, Spry Fox CEO, said that the user bases of the two platforms are similar in size and that Google Play is “a very good source of revenue.”

According to Inside Mobile Apps, this opinion was echoed by TinyCo (of Tiny Village fame), which recently made public its revenue distribution in three app stores. For every dollar that Tiny Village earns on iOS, the game dev gets 65 cents on Android.

Another developer that is reporting higher revenues than many analysts estimate is Glu Mobile. The company’s senior vice president of sales and marketing Adam Flanders said that the Android platform offers a similar Average Revenue per User (ARPU) to iOS, and the conversion rate on Android is continually on the up. This trend, according to Flanders, can be attributed to the introduction of international carrier billing option to several countries.

Carrier billing has proven to be a great source of revenue for many other Android developers, which are seeing higher conversion rate in countries like Japan and South Korea. Companies like DeNa and Robot Invader, for example, found more success in overseas markets thanks to the carrier billing option.

The combination of releasing free-to-play games and giving customers the ability to make in-app purchases via carrier billing seems to be the key of getting more revenues for some of these developers.

So, folks making money on the Android platform is not as ludicrous as some would have you believe.