Attention! Capitalistic content following!
Since the Android Market has been started it does support free applications in their
store market. Though Google announced that we will be able to add commercial products soon — the actual question is: When?
Until now nothing happened at this front and therefore, I guess it might still take a while before developers can earn some money with their applications. However, the Android Market is being used very heavily already — free software is popular everywhere! So users keep downloading applications from the Market massively. In order to make some cents out of this in future (when commercial products can be sold) you must be up with your application already!
My point is: you need to start grabbing potential customers now, even though they do not spend any money on applications — yet.
Of course, I don’t want you to give your developed apps away for free. Most applications took a long time to develop and you (or your company) spent a lot of time and put in quite some effort to create this neat peace of software. This all creates costs on the developer’s side (if you are not a student who is programming for fun without the need to make a living — again: yet) which needs to be compensated at some point.
How you grab potential customers
The application you want to sell might be finished already (don’t forget to sign it!). It is too valuable to give it away for free but you want users already – for selling the full version to them later or just to get some feedback. The best way to get users using your application is the Android Market. Hence, you need to be in there!
Create a demo/trial version of your application. There are plenty of ways on how to create a demo version. However, as we do not know at which date commercial applications will be available on the Android Market I suggest to “cripple” your full version in order to demonstrate your applications capabilities. A time limitation might be possible too but due to the uncertain time line I would just prefer “crippling”. Though, I am not a fan of that, usually.
Once you have done this you can upload your application to the Android Market at: http://market.android.com/publish/
Now you just wait and let the installation / download counter increase minute by minute (image above is 6 hours after program upload!). Once the Android Market supports commercial applications you can upload your full version, change the application’s preferences to “commercial” / “paid” content and charge a little fee like say $2. Let us do some maths here for getting a rough idea on what this can bring. In case you gained 20,000 active installations after 2 months, you are having 20,000 users of your application. Meaning: 20,000 users really like your app – though it is crippled. Let us assume half of them (10,000 users) would really spend $2 on the full version. Once you release your full version you will get $20,000 instantly with the release and you are a happy developer!
To be honest, developing applications is not just about money. It is a lifestyle – an art! However, even artists have to eat sometimes or spend money on Absynthe in the evening; so we need some bucks too. I think $2 for a nice app is nearly nothing and everyone can afford this. Just to honor hard work of programming.