That would make it a $2.4 billion-per-year business, the largest mobile app market no one is talking about! Meanwhile, Malik said the rival Google Android Market store brings in about $5 million a month, or $60 million in a year. Respectable numbers for a niche market, but not for a massive market opportunity in smartphones.
Google Android application developer Matt Hall from Larva Labs threw his own company's data into the mix yesterday, backing up Malik and AdMob and adding in a blog post: "As sad as that comparison may be, from our experience the total is probably much lower."
Hall said Larva Labs' gaming applications may earn the company $62.39 per day:
Here's the Apple iPhone total versus Android side-by-side:
"So let's imagine for a moment that we're a typical Android developer in terms of earnings, even though I think it's more likely we're on the high end of the curve. Assuming we are the average though, there would need to be over 2,500 other Android developers to get to $5M total sales. The last estimates I heard put the number of applications at around 12,000, so there's probably around 4,000 developers total. That means over half of the developers need to be earning what we do to reach $5M a month. However, we know from experience that below position 25 on the top selling games the earnings drop off to almost zero so it's very unlikely that anyone below that position is earning much money at all."
But hey, it's early days yet. Moreover, in defense of Android, it's not the money Android developers are making right now, but the freedom and liberation Android programmers enjoy in developing for an open-source smartphone ecosystem as opposed to a controlling, draconian, proprietary system in the iPhone.
Isn't that right? Would all you Android developers trade freedom for fat profits? What if you have to choose between the two, even if it's just the short term?
Hall isn't letting the issue get him down, as he noted: "I should add that even though these numbers are pretty disappointing and currently don't represent a viable business, we're still excited about Android in the medium to long term."
Something to look forward to: Motorola is expected to unveil its Android phones at GigaOm's Mobilize event Sept. 10. More on this story on TechMeme here.