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Android marketplace vs iPhone app store

Earlier today, Fred wrote about his thoughts on Android

I agree with much of the post and I’m bullish on Android as well. Right now I carry two phones – an iPhone and a HTC Incredible. I mostly carry the HTC when I need reliable coverage (it’s on Verizon) and I also want to keep on top of the Android platform. I like Android a lot  – I just don’t like the hardware on any android phones to date.

But I still find that best apps are coming out for iPhone first and Android second. Although, there are some exceptions. I personally like the Twitter Android app better than the iphone version.

In his post, Fred also brings up a comparison between the two app stores:

I am encouraging every company we work with to invest as heavily in Android as they invest in iPhone/iPad. I actually think they should invest more because Android is still wide open and the iPhone/iPad marketplaces are leaderboard driven and the leaders have been established and it’s hard to crack into the top ten anywhere.

I heard an interesting thing the other day from an extremely successful app developer for iPhone (he doesn’t develop for Android). I asked him what he thought of the refund policy on the Android marketplace. For those of you unfamiliar, Google allows you to easily get a refund on paid apps within 24 hours. Apple doesn’t provide this feature.

The developer I spoke to believes that most people buy mobile apps as a spontaneous thing and a refund program would significantly hurt his business. 

I was a bit surprised by this. I figured the thing that Zappos and Amazon have taught us is good customer service is just good business. I’m curious if there are other developers out there that share this point of view. 

The other thing I’m seeing is a huge increase in 3rd parties that are offering developers new types of distribution within the Apple app store ecosystem. They provide developers a set of tools, technologies and services to reach the user better – think of it as SEM for an app store world. I haven’t seen this to date for Android Marketplace.

My last observation about the two app stores is that it feels like iPhone users download more apps. I have almost 60 apps on my iPhone. I have about 10 apps on my Android. Do others have that experience as well? 

I remember back in the day, Apple would highlight that Mac users use more desktop apps than Windows users. It was a big thing they would tell developers. I wonder if the same will be true in the mobile world or will the open html5 web change get rid of these things all together.