My beef with some Android App naming convention...
If you follow me on twitter, you might have already heard me talk about what I'm about to talk about. This post is more of an elaboration of something that's been bugging me ever since my exodus from webOS to Android.
So, I stated using Falcon twitter widget a couple weeks ago (which is quite great actually). After about a week or two, I got a notification asking if I'd like to donate. I clicked the button, and it took me to the play store which linked me to paid version of the App. I was surprised that there was a paid version of the app (actually it's called a 'donate' version). When I first started using android, and was looking for a good twitter app, a few people suggested Plume, so I checked it out. While I enjoyed it, I was constantly annoyed by the Ads. It took me a few weeks to realize there was a paid version of the App that nuked the Ads. Obviously, I downloaded it as fast as I could.
In the two examples I've mentioned, you'll notice that by default, I first discovered the free/ad-supported/lite version of the apps and it took me a while to realize that the paid versions existed. That's a problem for developers. Now, there's the cliched statements about android users being cheap and don't buy Apps. You know who I [partially] blame? The developers. One reason (I think) is the naming of Apps. I think in a way, some developers have cannibalized their own app sales by add suffixes such as 'Pro' or 'Premium' to their App names. I've always had a philosophical problem with an App that as "Pro" or "Premium" in it's name (more on why later). Now, I understand why Devs do it. I get it. By default, most devs would rather have users get the "Pro" or "Paid" versions of their apps, but it turns out that's not the way it always works. Here's an example: go to the play store, search for 'Angry birds'. You'll notice the first result that pops up is the 'free' version (which is just called 'Angry Birds'). The Premium version shows up as the 6th result (on a 320 x480 phone, you may actually have to scroll, in order to even see it).
The play store even makes it worse by auto-suggesting as you type (I'm guessing based on app popularity). If you see the picture above, you'll notice that typing 'Plume' brings up an auto-suggestion for Plume (THE FREE VERSION). And 99% of the time, when I (and I'm sure a lot of users) search for stuff, I tend to click the first suggestion (especially when it has the fancy icon display). So you see, it's possible to download Plume, and not even know a 'paid' version exists. I'm willing to bet a lot of users get free apps, because the free ones are the ones that popped up first when they searched for them or because they thought they didn't need the "premium" version. Also, when you name an app 'Angry Birds' and another one 'Angry Birds Premium', you're basically saying: "Get the full version of my app for free, but if you want more stuff, get the Premium or Pro version". I think it should be the other way round. The full, un-bastardized version should be called 'Angry Birds' while the free/ad-supported/bastardized version should be called 'Angry Birds free/lite'. Calling an app "Pro" or "Premium" makes it seem like you're getting more. Especially when the "pro" version is just basically an ad-free version. Now I know there are some special cases where "pro" and "premium" versions of apps are really 'Pro' or 'Premium'. And I know there are some legit reasons to have ad-supported apps. And also, I know some users are totally fine with being bombarded with ads (as long as they don't have to give up a whole $1 to avoid them). But I've noticed a trend in android land which I never really noticed while I was a webOS developer/user. And I think this app-naming psychology is breeding a generation of android users who are more inclined to not pay for apps. Hence the cliched statements. Oh btw, I'm not sure if Google has some algorithm that arranges search results by showing the free versions first. If they do, that's messed up. Personally, I'd rather not see the free (battery-guzzling, obtrusive ad-supported) versions of apps in my results, if the paid versions exists.
Anyway, I may be totally wrong in my analysis. In that case, ignore everything I said, and carry on :)