Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Developing and selling Android apps with no experience

Hello everyone and welcome back!

If you read the first post yesterday, you'll know I'm starting a career in Android development, and want to earn a living working from home developing and selling my Android apps.

  • So where to begin? 
  • Do you need programming experience?
  • Are there any start up costs?

Let's take a look...

My programming experience

At university I studied a free route computing course, which involved some C++ and Assembly language programming. I was pretty good at both, but never an expert at either, and studied neither in the final year of my degree.

Since then I've worked in two technical support roles, neither of which involved any programming.

How I got started

A couple of years ago I looked into the possibility of buying myself an Android phone - the HTC Hero. While I was reading into the Android operating system, I learned that apps could be developed by anyone with a developer account, and published straight to the Android Market (now called Google Play Store).

There were two ways of generating income - you could charge a fee for users to download your app, or you could use in-app advertising to generate money.

I got all tingly, bought the phone, downloaded the development software, signed up as a developer and started tinkering.


Here are the things you need to buy to develop and publish Android apps:

1. A Windows/Linux/Mac computer with internet access (I'll assume you have this already).
2. A developer account ($25 one-time fee when I wrote this).

All the development software is free and so is the emulator (you don't strictly need an Android phone/tablet to develop, although I strongly recommend you test all apps on real devices before publishing).

My First App

The first app I created was Computer and IT Quiz (a recent version of the app is shown on the right). It was full of bugs, but there was nothing else of its type on the market at the time. I made the app available for free on the market.

Computer and IT Quiz was fairly popular but due to the bugs, received a lot of bad reviews, which in turn put others off downloading. I fixed the bugs over the following months, and worked hard to improve the app with more questions, and a better user interface.

Note - since writing this post, I have released a paid version of Computer and IT Quiz. The paid version has more features and no ads.

My second app

I created the Simple Calorie Tracker/Counter app (now called Blou Simple Calorie Counter, pictured left) not long after the first release of Computer and IT Quiz. It received fairly good reviews, but was clunky and never got a great number of downloads.

After a while I decided to pull the app and re-release it as a paid app. I recreated much of the interface and re-released the software for $0.60 (or thereabouts - not sure of the exact price I charged).

I sold very few (less than 15) downloads of the app and decided to again make the app free to download, with ads showing to earn revenue.

Since making the app free again, the app received hardly any downloads and earns no revenue whatsoever. Something for me to work on.

I'm reaching the end of where I wanted to go with this post, but before I finish, I'd like to invite you to say 'Hi!' in the comments below, and if anyone is at the same stage as I am with development, I'd love to hear more of your story.

Thanks for reading,

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