Shifty Jelly’s counterargument to some of my Android opinions, which provides a concrete data point showing that money can be made on Android, concludes with this:
Finally, we’d like to publicly challenge Marco Arment to bring Instapaper to Android and drop the negative attitude. We’ll bet you one large cup of our finest Australian Coffee that you’ll be pleasantly surprised by just how great the Google Market is. In many ways it’s a better place to be than iOS, since so many developers are ignoring it, and yet there is a massive install base waiting to give you their money.
I can’t afford to invest months of development time into learning the platform and making an Android app, then supporting and maintaining it in parallel with my iOS app indefinitely, with so many other data points telling me that it almost certainly won’t be worth the investment.
So I’ll make it more interesting. Instapaper has a public API. I’m not aware of any good, stable, feature-rich Android Instapaper clients that actually use it and aren’t just ripping off my iOS app’s private API.
If you make the first great Android Instapaper client that:
- uses the official API
- contains a significant portion of the iOS app’s features, the details of which we’d work out privately
- runs on a wide variety of Android devices and OS versions including modern smartphones, the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet, and whichever 10” tablet matters at the time of completion
- is priced at $2.99 or higher in the U.S. with approximately equivalent pricing elsewhere, and satisfies requirements to be sold in the Google Marketplace, Amazon Appstore, and whatever B&N uses for the Nook Tablet
I’ll call it the official Instapaper app for Android, I’ll promote it on the Instapaper site, I’ll drop the subscription requirement for its API access, you’ll answer all support email that comes from it, and we’ll split the net revenue 50/50.
What do you say?
UPDATE: I don’t intend for multiple developers to compete for this with whoever gets it “first” winning, causing everyone else to have invested a lot of effort for nothing. That’s too close to spec work for my taste, and I wouldn’t ask anyone to do that.
I’m talking with Shifty Jelly and a small number of other developers to see if we should take this somewhere. If we proceed, I will choose one developer to proceed with before anyone else does any work.