skobbler, developer of the GPS Navigation 2 for Apple's iOS, has announced that it will be withdrawing its free skobbler navigation app from the Android market with immediate effect.
Despite boasting over 1.5 million users worldwide through the Apple App store and a number one navigation chart position in nine countries with GPS Navigation 2, the company has opted against pursuing similar dominance on the rival platform as it has hit difficulties in transferring the app successfully to Android.
'Our decision was a strategic one,' says Marcus Theilking, co-founder of skobbler. 'Despite the increasing popularity of Android devices and the Android market, our significant success with Apple's model and the difficulty in mapping this directly to Android left us with a decision to make in order to maintain the high quality of our software and manage frequent updates that have made skobbler so popular with Apple users.
'skobbler does, however, still see Android as a key market, and despite the absence of our navigation software, we will continue to use our extensive experience and powerful location technology to support the development of third party apps,' added Theilking.
The announcement follows recent reports that outline the differences between the two markets and the difficulty involved for many developers in cracking Android's free-app driven model. Many claim to make three to four times as much money from the iOS version of an application when compared to Android, based on a study by Flurry analytics, which assessed around 25% of all apps downloaded from the App store and Android market; the same app made on average $0.24 on Android for every dollar on iOS.
Twin this with the success of Google Navigation, Android's free pre-installed sat nav software, and most would agree that finding success and a profitable business model for an Android-based sat nav rival to be an uphill battle.
'It is with some regret that we came to this decision' Theilking continued, 'But in order to build on the success of GPS Navigation 2 a strong strategic focus was required and, unfortunately, this meant cutting ties with the Android market as far as our navigation product is concerned. We've seen that the growth in paid apps on Android is significantly lower than that of free alternatives and other issues surrounding security, a wide range of devices and operating system versions and the appeal of free, pre-installed rivals left us in a difficult position.'
Despite Android's success in gaining an increasing marketshare it has been questioned in some quarters for its inability to provide a stable platform for developers, an inevitable drawback of an opensource model. Relatively frequent OS upgrades, the wide range of devices currently running Android and the hands-off stance taken by Google in policing its market has led to many developers citing the difficulties in porting software from iOS, and issues surrounding piracy of paid software has led to calls for Android to revisit its strategy in promoting the development of apps, Theilking said.
skobbler's focus going forwards will be to prioritise consumer products for the iOS market, though it will still remain active in the Android market by continuing to develop apps for third parties.