Mobile Apps from a Shareware Lens

Being involved with mobile development, including web, applications, etc and having developed and successfully sold applications  in the shareware market for many years, has given me an interesting perspective into the Android, iPod, iPhone and iPad applications market. One of the challenges with these markets has been that many applications are sold for little or no cost, nor with an expectation of payment. People used to complain about shareware that you’d never get paid, but those with successful, compelling products did develop substantial businesses, for instance WinZip. Many of those who didn’t do well, didn’t consider market issues and demand for propsed products and consider what it would take to develop a full featured product competitive with commercial products. I had always producted numbers including a shareware version, and several different commercial versions, and the strategy basically worked until the market got saturated. A saturated market is also a problem for mobile applications, consider the number of iphone applications for sale, and the typical prices. There is more space in the Android marketplace, but more challenges including different hardware and software versions. If the android user base continues to grow at a quick pace, which i suspect it will, a significant market could arise, if developers find a way to get paid for their work.