A PAYPAL DEVELOPER CHALLENGE EXPERIENCE

Update : I’ve put a list of 17 apps out of the current 54 which we believe don’t comply with the rules. You can find the list here. Towards the middle of December 2009 I came across details of the PayPal X Developer Challenge, which is a contest to write apps using PayPals adaptive APIs. There were two prizes, one of $50,000 cash $50,000 in PayPal fees, the other $25,000 cash $25,000 in fees.

WHY "NEW CUSTOMER ONLY" DEALS ARE BAD FOR REGULAR PAYMENT BUSINESSES.

I thought the effect of “New customer only” deals on long term business were well understood, but, in the last month, I’ve seen some examples which show that some companies still haven’t grasped their long term effects. Its' true that “new customer only” deals get people through the door (which every business needs), but for businesses that survive on regular payments (e.g. subscriptions or credit repayments), or want customers to continue to use them, it also has a crippling side effect.

EXPERIENCES OF IN-APP MOBILE ADVERTISING

With my companies Funky Expenses Android applicaion we have two versions; An ad-supported version and a pay-for ad-free version so that users can choose how they help to fund development (yes, we do get requests for a free ad-free version, but unfortunately that won’t keep the company afloat). The ad-free version is available from Google Market (which currently has the largest user base by a long way) and AndAppStore, and the pay for version is only available in Google Market.

GOOGLE STRANGLES ANDROID ON NETBOOKS BEFORE IT GETS GOING

During my morning check of Twitter I came across this tweet from Google; “Introducing the #Google Chrome OS http://bit.ly/N1rNZ” Which started to raise some concerns. It had widely been predicted that we’d see Android making it’s way onto netbooks in the near future, but with this one announcement that idea has taken a huge knock backwards. The reason is simple; Androids design is primarily focused on touch screen devices, Chrome OS is focused on netbooks, and netbooks rarely (if ever) have a touch screen.

IS THE IPHONE 3GS A RIP-OFF IN THE UK?

(If you want to tweet this please use the tag #O2iPhoneRipOff) Is it me or is the new O2 iPhone pricing policy looking like a bit of a rip-off? First off, there is the cost of the ‘phone. At Apples WWDC it was announced that in the US; 3G 8 GB goes from $199 to $99. 3GS 16 GB to be $199 (same as old price for 3G 8GB) 3GS 32 GB to be $299 (same as old price for 3G 16GB).

MARKING APPS ON GOOGLES ANDROID MARKET

There seems to be a lot of variation on how many stars people give an application on Googles Android Market. Some give 3 stars for an app they find hard to use, others give 1 star because the developer chose not to make the applications source code available (even though this doesn’t affect the application as delivered to the user). I’m trying to stick to the following marking scheme and would welcome comments and feedback as to any changes people think would make sense.

GOOGLE MARKET FOR ANDROID PAID APPS LAUNCH = FAIL

Android developers have been waiting for the ability to list pay-for applications in Googles Market, but now most of them wish it had never arrived because the experience it’s giving users may just turn them off Android forever. The first joy is the “copy protection” offered by Google. Developers can turn this on for their apps but doing so can stop a the application running at all regardless of if it’s been copied.

WILL THE ANDROID MARKET T&CS KILL OFF "FUN" APPS?

Over recent weeks there has been a lot of speculation over when Android users will be able to buy applications from Googles Market, but some of the terms and conditions in the Developer Distribution Agreement could scare many developers away before they deploy their first application. The first thing that came to light is that purchasers will have 24 hours in which they can get a refund apparently with no questions asked.

WILL US PATENT LAWS STRANGE ANDROID?

In recent days there the issue of the US patent obtained by Apple relating to the multi-touch functionality has reared it’s head on the Android development lists, and the discussions have left me deeply concerned about whether Android will ever become a serious global player in the mobile OS market. The discussion started rolling when a patch to add multi-touch functionality on Android was posted on the android-platform mailing list, and ran in parallel another list directly discussing the impact the patent may have, but surprisingly ended up with a post from a Google employee saying that patents should not be discussed on any of the google hosted android lists, and this was further expanded by another Google employee saying that it was “because of legal repercussions”, and “it is simply best not to know about them”.

ANDROID LICENSING SYSTEM

Funky Android has made available a Android application licensing system via AndAppStore. It’s something that we feel has been missing from the Android space and we hope that it’ll help companies looking to focus on (and thus make money from) Android applications. So if you’ve been waiting for a way to commercially license your apps feel free to give it a spin and send in your feedback. (Declaration of interest : I am a director of Funky Android)