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The openness of the Android Market

Posted by fabriziogiudici on August 22, 2010 at 12:12 PM PDT

Well, yesterday my app passed 1,000 downloads and I'm happy. But I'm less happy in seeing that the percentage of active installs is going down since ten days: after having been steady at 45/46% for a couple of months, it dropped to 38%. The strange thing is that in the latest ten days I've released two new versions with new features and bug fixes. The few users I'm in touch with are saying thumbs up. There could be worrying reasons (the most obvious ones) or not worrying ones (for instance, the app has been talked about in some forum of birdwatchers from geographical areas that are not supported yet, and they realize after installing the app).

So, it's really frustrating for some aspects not being able to know what's going on - especially when I think that Google has got all the statistics about why users are uninstalling my app (for people not knowing the Android Market: whenever you uninstall an application downloaded from the market, the smartphone asks why you're doing that).

So, the Android Market is much more open than the Apple Store, it is also open since it allows competitors, but it's not as open as one would want.

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I have a different experience

Just as an FYI - I don't recall ever having been asked about the reasons for uninstalling an Android Market app.

As to the dropping numbers, it could be that the update notices remind people that they still have the app installed, but don't actually use it any more - so they end up deleting it at that time.

Well, for sure I'm not the

Well, for sure I'm not the only one to see the questionary:


In any case, the feeling that things may be different in Android smartphones is a recurring one and brings another argument about some unclear (and thus not so "open") parts of the Android ecosystem.

Your explanation is a good one, and I hope it's like that - even though I doubt: in another couple of days I got about 30 more downloads, but only one more active installation and the ratio dropped to 37%. This also brings another argument that Google could provide some more data about uninstallation statistics.

questionnaire when uninstalling apps

I just realized what you were talking about: the questionnaire is shown if you uninstall apps from within the Google Market app, but it is not shown if you uninstall apps through the Android menu (Preferences -> Applications -> Manage Applications -> (select an app) -> Uninstall). Since that's the only way I've ever uninstalled apps, I've never seen those questions before.

upgrading from a previous version...

... does not increase the number of active installations. I'd say you got 29 people who upgraded from a previous version, and just a single new user. At least that's how I've come to interpret the numbers for my apps. So a low "ratio" doesn't mean much if you have had numerous updates.

So, you're saying that people

So, you're saying that people downloading updates are increasing the number of downloads, and not the number of active installations, right? That would be very good news for me. This also means that the number of downloads and the active installations percentage are not much significant - only the active installations would be.