Performance, mobile governance, security and improving the user experience are all hot topics at AnDevCon 2012. Yet despite the obvious focus on the development side of things, the financial aspect of making money from mobile devices hasn't been completely absent either.

Ehan Evans, Amazon’s Director of App Developer Services, provided some interesting insights on how people are getting rich selling Android apps and add-ons. According to Ethan, understanding the buying habits of users has been critical in making the in-app purchasing experience work at Amazon. Having a pre-loaded payment method and an easy an ordering system, like Amazon’s own addictive “one-click” option, is also a key factor in increasing the transaction rate. Interesting statistics that have eluted from Amazon's Android experience that might help developers make more money off their mobile applications include:

  • People are now comfortable buying apps in the $2-5 range. Not every app or add-on has to be 99 cents.
  • The future of monetization may lie in consumables that are purchased during game play. Some users playing flight simulator games are said to be willing to buy aircraft in the $1000 range, although that currently exceeds the amount that can be charged for an add-on.
  • The more relevant in-app items you offer, the more people buy.
  • The purchase of most in-app items starts within minutes of initial download.
  • Half of all in-app purchases occur within the first hour of app use.

What's more, the hybrid development done with HTML5 can itself be helpful in making monetization easier. Ethan describes using HTML5 to brand the buyer’s experience in the visible app store window while leveraging Java to handle the unseen side of the transaction, such as charging the credit card and initiating a notification email. A JavaScript “bridge” then connects the HTML5 side with the Java side to create a blended app, all of which creates a compelling experience for the user that makes them want to pull out their credit card and line the application developer's pockets with money.