For the most part, mobile device owners have two platforms and two app stores from which to choose. There is Apple’s iPhone and iPad App Store. And there is Google’s Android version which is called Google Play Store. They are not the same.
Generally speaking, Google’s Play Store has more applications but many of them are cheesy knockoffs of applications that sell– those on Apple’s App Store. Apple’s customers are willing to pay for apps. Android users? Not as much. So, Google is pushing a new way to broaden the Play Store’s appeal with a thing called Instant Apps.
In essence, an Android smartphone owner gets to try out an app or portions of an app without installing the app. So far, it only works on a few dozen applications but the Try It Now button (vs. Buy Now or a price tag) seems to have appeal.
Apple needs something similar for iPhone and iPad users because too many applications are Buy Now with little more than a price tag to entice users to try it out first. Think about it. Are you more likely to try an app with a $3.99 price tag where you have to cough up the $3.99, or press a button that says “Try It Now?”
Some of the App Stores more shrewd developers use the In-App Purchase option which let you use an app for awhile but with limited features. Like it and want the rest of the features? Pay the price. Other developers have free versions of their app. Like it? Buy the feature laden app. That option often means you have two apps stored on your iPhone or iPad.
Try before you buy is the way apps should be. Read a review or find it on the App Store, install it, and if you like it, buy it, otherwise, the features are limited or it self destructs and deletes itself after some period of time.
Google’s Play Store approach is designed to get Android users to try more apps. The more you try, the more likely you are to buy. Therefore, the key to a sale is usage. The more users who try an app, the more users who will buy the app.
The Mac App Store has similar options but it seems as if a higher percentage of apps are Mac abandonware. To me, abandonware is any Mac app that hasn’t been upgraded in six months. Many haven’t been upgraded in a few years, yet they are still visible and available on the Mac App Store but clearly have become abandonware.
Apple could institute a simple policy. Upgrade an application at least x-number of times over the past 12 months to remain in the App Store. The upgrades may not need to be much more than a new logo or extra help screens or maybe a new but not so important feature, but it shows Apple and potential buyers that the application is worthy of continued development.
I like try-before-you buy as sign that an application is worthy of a test run. And I like knowing that an app has been upgraded in recent months as a sign that it remains under development.