One of the major selling points of all those various mobile phone apps is that the cost is actually quite affordable. Regardless of which mobile app store you head to, you’re likely to find a number of apps that make it seem like a 99 cents menu from a fast food chain. In tight economic times this might seem like a good thing, but not so fast says Microsoft.
Last week, news came out that Microsoft was encouraging developers of mobile applications to actually charge more than a dollar for the software. Some bloggers thought this was Microsoft’s greed showing through because obviously the company makes a percentage of all those app sales. But in fairness, Research in Motion, the maker of the BlackBerry, has also increased the minimum price for many mobile apps while Palm might also set the price higher as well.
The truth of the matter is that apps at 99 cents may seem good for consumers, but at the end of they day it hurts the app developers and the industry as a whole. Many software companies have attempted to replace expensive software suites with so-called micro-transaction-based products, which in the mobile world are apps. The problem is that the volume needs to be extremely great for any of the developers to make any money.
Instead of seeing growth in the industry, the opposite could happen. Too many apps come out, thus causing overlap with many apps that do the same thing and in the long run these developers close shop. This isn’t to say that simple puzzle games, those silly and often inane apps, or even city map apps are worth more than a dollar, but for a lot of apps the price needs to be higher. Consider that most apps for smartphones run on devices that even with contracts cost hundreds of dollars. So why wouldn’t you want quality apps worth more than 99 cents for this powerful computing tool?
AT&T Makes Smartphone Users Pay Up
If you’re thinking of heading over to AT&T with a new smartphone subscription, you might want to do so before September 6, at least if you want a handset without a data plan. After that date all new subscribers will have to sign up for a $30 per month smartphone data plan. And if you’re using a feature phone and have a data plan already, you will not be able to keep the current MediaNet plan.
While it might not seem that clever to do, but there are still many smartphone users who have opted out of the data plan. But actually this doesn’t include Apple iPhone or RIM BlackBerry smartphones, as those handsets require $30 data plans—so this would really only affect anyone buying a Microsoft Windows Mobile, Palm or Symbian smartphone after September 6.
Across the Web it is being reported that AT&T is claiming that this will make for a more predictable bill for consumers and that data plans let users fully utilize the device. Those without a data plan can face higher bills due to a la carte data consumption. Of course those in the minority who don’t use a lot of data could see their bill increase for service they don’t use.