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Why are so many apps free?


Android Expert
Nov 12, 2009
I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I'm wondering why so many apps are free.

Take for example, PandaHome. I installed it and really love using it. But in the back of my mind I'm wondering why this product is free.

Part of my concern is PandaHome has access to many key parts of my Android phone, like contacts, etc. Is it somehow tracking / using my data or my use of the phone for some other marketing purposes?

They say there's no such thing as a free lunch, so there's got to be a catch somewhere?

Why are so many great apps free?
I actually think that people have just become so accustom to paying because of Microsoft and Apple that they cant imagine an open source community... probably why Linux hasnt caught on same thing (Android is based on it) 99% free and better all around.... Marketing and making people believe they should have to pay for software or anything for that matter....
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People write free apps for different reasons.

Did any of you ever hear about the Myspace girl? She was a sixteen year old girl, a geek, who figured out how to make cool Myspace themes. She made money off of people hitting her website, which ran google ads. I spent most of last night goofing off online learning about a free app for my Droid phone, and I asked myself the same question. Why is this guy spending all of this time writing a free app and then updating his website with it. Oh, duh, he's got ads all over his website.

In some cases, people just enjoying programming on that level as a hobby.
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A lot of people in the Android community (developers especially) are here because of the Open Source nature of the operating system. It's the same way with Linux. People flock to it because they like the fact that everything is open (and mostly free), and because of this, the developers are mostly not going to charge for their apps. These devs are often people who are trying to avoid the commercialization of everything in the form of Microsoft, Apple and the like. They may collaborate with other devs, use each others' code, and generally build apps that will be useful to everybody. Why? Because that's how they think it should be. Open Source would be the norm if Apple and Microsoft didn't have so much to say about it.

They can make money (if they want to) in many different ways. They can put ads on their websites, they can allow donations (I have personally donated to a few different apps just because they were so good) or they can make separate free/paid versions with different features.

Although I assume there are some out there with malicious intent, I think most of the Android developers making all of this useful software are doing it in the spirit of open source, and I thank them for it.
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It's good buisness. When you're starting off on an indy level, you need one thing; fan base. Create a good product that people want, and gain trust. Enrich their lives with good product. Then, when you get the notoriety, you can start making even better apps, and you're loyal fans will have NO problems throwing down 99c for your application.
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a lot of free apps have google adsense mobile ads in them too, can be very lucrative if placed right.

spend a few minutes with the "backgrounds" wallpaper app to see what i mean, great app, i love it, and the dev is prolly making decent loot from it....the ads are placed perfectly for miss clicks if you aren't careful...genius.

That's very true. I noticed the same thing when I first downloaded that app. I would click on the ads by mistake quite often.
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