iPhone/Android Dev for Pocket Change?


iPhone/Android Dev for Pocket Change?



First the disclaimer - I've read a bunch of posts already on making money with mobile app development, and I'm not sure I feel encouraged or discouraged at this point :) I understand the very real "Gold Rush" mentality of the iPhone and Android apps...

Here's my situation: I've coded professionally solo and on teams for about 10 years now. I'm going to be starting graduate school in a non-related field in a month. I have a small stipend to help pay a few bills, my wife is desperately looking for a job, and I'll be taking out student loans... I'm leaving my full-time coding job behind, along with its decent wage, for the world of Academia (I'm nuts, I know.) First off, I know that after a few months in school I'll be itching to write up a little app here and there to keep myself sane. I've programmed to some extent my entire life, and giving it up isn't an option. At the same time though, I'd looove to make some pocket change off the apps I write - say $100 - $200 a month. I'm not looking for a full-blown business venture - just something to help us get out of some debt, or reduce the student loan amount.

Is this still feasable with the iPhone, or is the market too saturated? Is it an option with Android, without having to use ads (though I'm not against the idea)? I'm comfortable getting into either development platform, and might consider porting my small apps for both devices.

To summarize, is making a couple hundred bucks a month (on average) doable, without inventing the next greatest unthought of app? Or, should I just take out more student loans?? ;)

Easy question, I know - I'd just like to know if my soon to be hobby can bring in some pocket change so I can by that nice new video card (or pay off debt :)

Opinions, suggestions?




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Well, what do you have to lose by making apps, even if the market is saturated? You said yourself you will go insane if you don't code, right? So might as well try to make money off them.


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If you can't make any money off the apps, then you end up taking out student loans, but thats no more worse than if you hadn't tried to sell your apps..
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As the great one once said: "100% of the shots you don't take, don't go in.".
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Best Case Scenario: You pay for college.
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Worst Case Scenario: You pay for college..
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Seems like the answer is pretty clear to me..


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I take the opposite view from Thanks, that writing android software is more interesting because it's got a much wider potential hardware market.

I like Java better than Objective-C, and any coding practice you gain will be more widely applicable.

Writing mac apps is still something of a niche market.

. Android hardware is cheaper to acquire, and honestly, I prefer it as my regular phone over the iphone.

You will need to write pretty good apps, or have a good advertising process, to make any money at all.

The market(s) are so flooded with apps that word of mouth is the best way to get something sold.

. The android dev process has the EXTREME advantage that you don't have to wait months for apple to approve your paid app.

Honestly, that last point is probably the biggest reason to go with android - you can't distribute bug fixes to your customers in a timely fashion with apple's store, so if there's anything wrong with your first version, your customers will hate you forever..


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Tip 1: Don't bet your future on an app.

I've seen a lot of apps role out, and get laughed at.

Literally.

If you get the feeling that you won't be able to put the necessary time in to dev and school, I'd walk away.

The last few bugs on an app, as well as supporting the app so you don't have to drop it down to .99 can be the most time-consuming and irritating part.. Tip 2: Don't go it alone.

You need other developers to help you get going on the app, incorporate services and technologies, and get it out the door and to the public.

Get your friends and peers to commit to helping with certain parts.

If you can find some equals, with equal interest, you're golden.

Trust me, it makes the long nights that much easier.. Tip 3: You need a game-changer.

It doesn't have to be huge, and it doesn't have to be defined with 2 words (SO app for instance), but without it, it'll be tough to sustain sails for very long.. Tip 4: Don't make a ported web-app.

If your app could be on the web, it's probably not going to work.

On the other hand, don't throw in every platform feature (multitouch, GPS, microphone, video, etc) in the book, because that just makes an app to busy.. Tip 5: Do a mobile platform right from the get-go.

Read all the docs or at least a book on the subject.

Beginning iPhone by Apress, Android Essentials by Apress Also get as much sample code as possible (on the order of 5 new projects per day) to tinker around with.. Tip 6: Always throw the first one away.

With an platform, and with bigger ideas, you're not going to get it right the first time.

Hit the ground running and get something that works.

Then delete the project and make something that WORKS.. Android: The Android is literally waiting to have an app that changes the platform and brings a bunch of people on-board.

Most of the apps are "also on android".

If you can figure out something that's not there, you could make your $200 and more.

Keep in mind that the general public doesn't have Android, so you probably want to think through your marketing scheme and focus a bit more.

You might totally wiff.. iPhone: Yes, it's saturated in terms of what people have thought of.

The discouraging thing is that someone has probably thought of making your app already, and may beat you to it.

Once you get an idea, act, and have it submitted to the store within a week.

If you have 3 developers, you can put together almost any app in 48 hours.. Good luck!.



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