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Android developers are frustrated. Is that bad news for the Droid?

A recent study by Skyhook Wireless shows developers are unhappy with Android's answer to the Apple Store. That could spell trouble for the Verizon Droid.

By Matthew Shaer / December 1, 2009



About a year ago, Google pushed live its Android Market, a software store intended to compete with the Apple App Store.

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But a new study shows that a majority of developers are frustrated with the functionality of the Android Market. According to a report released today by Skyhook Wireless, 82 percent of the developers surveyed felt the design of the marketplace makes it difficult for their apps to be noticed.

At the same time, 57 percent of developers said they are not satisfied with their profits on Android – a major problem for the folks behind the Android Market. As Skyhook noted in its study, developers are having trouble generating revenue through the Android Market:

This is the result of very low average download volumes, a poorly designed market, lack of an effective customer billing system, and the incapacity to serve ads. Due to these low profits, developers are becoming hesitant to invest more time and effort into apps that do not pay off.

On Friday, Nov. 6, Verizon Wireless rolled out the Droid, a smartphone manufactured by Motorola and powered by the Android operating system. The smartphone has been called “a real competitor to Apple’s device," and by all accounts, it's sold relatively well.

But unless Google begins to answer developer complaints with the Android Market, phones such as the Droid could have trouble retaining users.

Simply put, smartphone owners have become accustomed to having thousands of apps at our fingertips. If Android Market developers start to flake off, so will the apps, leaving Droid fanatics high and dry. For their part, the folks over at Skyhook end their study with a note of optimism.

"Developers are widely excited about Android and most have faith in the platform," the study's authors write. "These survey results are a snapshot of the current state of the market, and as more Android devices are released monetization options may improve."

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