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Summary:

Increasingly, the most popular iPhone apps are the free or lower-priced ones, according to mobile app store trend monitor Distimo.

Despite…

Increasingly, the most popular iPhone apps are the free or lower-priced ones, according to mobile app store trend monitor Distimo.

Despite Apple’s keenness to put high-ticket downloads like satnav apps on its Featured area, the average price of the most popular iPhone apps fell by 15 percent between December 1 and February 28, its monthly report says. The sharpest fall was in Australia (27 percent).

Europe spends most on its leading apps on average. The average price of the most popular apps there was $3.86 in February; the U.S. has the lowest average price of the most popular apps, $2.43. “This is due to the large number of turn-by-turn navigation applications covering different regions in Europe.”

That could change over time, with Nokia (NYSE: NOK) and Google (NSDQ: GOOG) starting to offer free turn-by-turn navigation.

Some apps are beginning to drop the download fee in favour of in-app subscriptions. But there’s still an interesting and growing market for high-priced downloads – I recently coughed up £19.99 for the official F1 2010 live timing and track position app.

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  1. David H Stannard Monday, March 22, 2010

    Robert,

    First – thanks for the information.

    These types of articles make me wonder why anyone would build applications unless it was under contract. My son seems to make more money by selling shareware than the average developer that I meet (sampling problem perhaps).

    Primarily, I wonder what factors are creating these outcomes as measured by these metrics?

    * Is the agency model the place to focus and then companies just subsidize free apps?
    * Are they the metrics that we should measure in this type of market place? I presume that Apple cares about selling hardware and offsetting supporting developers while salesforce.com and oracle care about locking in their clients’ users
    * Is this the future of application development (especially if the pundits are correct about the diminishing role of desktop computing)?
    * Are the applications without sufficient merit (value) to be worth the historical pricing?
    * Is the pricing behavior in response to developers who build it and hope that they will come with only pricing to play with post launch?
    * Is it because Apple has conditioned people to purchase only low price items fed by the iTunes strategy?
    * Am I better off to invest my time & resources into Black Jack in Vegas?

    I run into many developers who are unhappy with the lack of fame & fortune with a plan to switch platforms as the solution. But the solution to the wrong problem?

    As a disclaimer: I’ve only managed technology based products that were licensed and with annual fees in the lower 6 figure category. B2B.

    As an individual, I truly would like to know. I don’t think that the market research firms know and those who simply collect basic primary research data have only part of the picture. IMO.

    Pondering the puzzle in Portland between client meetings

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