Saturday, April 21, 2012

android - be discerning at the lower end (part 3)

For the past 2 years, I have been following the specification / price combination of android tablets.

In particular the £150 -> £200 price range, which will compete with netbooks in your purchasing choice.

In part 1 of this series I defined a set of specs to reach for:
  • 3D Graphics support (OpenGL ES)
  • 512MB ram
  • SD card slot (or microSD at a push)
  • Android 2.3 or later (includes WebM support)
( For the observant who followed closely part1, part2, and now part3, you will notice that I have increased the ram requirement to 512MB from 256MB, and Android 2.3 rather than 2.1 - reason is progress, specs that low are really being phased out now )

Sub £200 dual core ....

This tablet in fact exceeds what I was expecting when I started this series back in February 2011. The Dual Core Omap 4 processor is leagues ahead of what tablets included 14 months ago.

Not only that, but the progress in user features from Android 2 to Android 3.2 is significant.

Specification in full:

Revisiting the specs - a new set going forward:

  • 3D Graphics support (OpenGL ES)
  • Dual Core processor
  • 768MB ram
  • SD card slot (or microSD at a push)
  • USB slot (or standard micro/mini okay)
  • Android 4.0 or later
  • Support for Google Play / Official Android Market
  • Resolution 1024x768 for 8" or 9" tablet, 1280x800* for 10" screen
*Sub £200 tablets are not (by design) aimed at replacing your school projector, If you really feel you need to use the playback from a tablet to drive an external screen, then this series of reviews if probably not written with your needs in mind.

Anyone who suggests that a tablet (where no external screen is connected) would require resolutions higher than I have stated, is probably being driven by tick lists from hardware companies.

My 15" laptop runs 1440x900 resolution, and I have never yet been dissatisfied with the resolution level / clearness of it's rendering.

In summary, a year and a half is a massive period in terms of tablet specification, so much so that I have expanded my original list (to weed out more tablets), and upped key metrics.

I expect it will be February 2013 or later before £200 will buy you a tablet that meets my new criteria above, but the IT industry is full of surprises ;)

Friday, April 6, 2012

My hobbyist game made me no money on app store

Every few months, there is a post along these lines.
I made a game and nobody bought it
I made a great app and nobody paid my £5 asking price.
Sometimes these "made no money" posts are used in a warfare sense to attack a rival app store. There are at least three app stores, and they have their followers.

Pricing is everything - this is a business after all:

Pricing is everything. If it is a buyers market (Android and Iphone are now certainly stacked that way) then price low, ADVERTISE*, and aim for bulk.

Advertise and Engage:

First timers forget this is a business$, and that means spending time thinking about price sensitivity AND using Marketing strategies.

A simple listing in an app store is not going to get you to the customer on it's own.

*by Advertise I do not mean spam the crap out of everyone, I mean spend some money and do it properly, you know like the folks you expect to spend on your product are expected to do.

All app creators are not necessarily good in business:

Build Game + No advertising / sales strategy is fine if you intend the thing as a hobby, rather than a business venture.

"I listed it on the app store" is not a sales strategy.

That was probably okay for the first 10,000 app creators but it just will not work today.

The 70p test: 

I'm sticking my neck out here a bit, but here goes. Is your game / app priced at more than 70p?

Well it better be some or all of the following:
  • Extremely original and difficult for a competitor to clone/copy quickly
  • delivered by time machine into the year 2010
  • Part of a suite which makes it more valuable / benefits from cross selling
  • Reliable, with great reviews, written by a known developer group/company that has great reputation.  
But at 70p a pop I make no money? Well at that price, you shift 10,000 units and receive £4,900 after the 30% app store tithe is taken off.

If you need more than £5,000 return, then you need to shift more units - say 15,000 or 20,000 by using better advertising / reach.

Market Research:

$You didn't do any? Well it probably is not a business, but a hobby instead.

Be honest, did you are a colleague at least count the entries on an app store that might be doing something similar already?

In the case of Games, there are hundreds of competitors already.

Made a great shoot em up? Treat it as a hobby and give it away as free and open source, taking some pride in the great software you created.


Go see the bank, borrow what you need for a solid advertising and social media strategy (£700?) and set that aside so it is not used for buying coffee and pizza.

Distribution and Independent Game Developers:

There is a project called Humble Bundle.

Rather than go explain the difficulties Independent game developers face in finding their market, I should just ask the question...

Why does Humble Bundle exist and what does it do?