Birding Apps – Part 1. Too Many Choices?

I’m often asked what is the best birding app to get? The question was easy to answer in 2008 when there was just one app for the iPhone. Today typing “bird apps” into the Google search box will get over 41,000,000 hits. Typing “bird” into the Apple App Store and you’ll get hundreds of results. Does the world really need so many apps for birding? Are there that many birders and do they really care?

The answer to both questions is yes. Recent figures put the size of the birding industry at over $68 billion. This includes travel, optics, camping equipment, books and yes, birding apps. The number of people interested enough in birds to call it a hobby is in the millions.

With so much money being spent would you think the price of an app matters to birders? Let me tell you about the background of our app and how arriving at its price was such a challenge. This little history should be of interest to not just birders but any company that develops apps for smart phones or tablets.

Are 5,000 Apps Too Many?

When we launched iBird in December of 2008 the iPhone had only opened the gates to app developers for 6 months. In that short time there was rumored to be around 5,000 apps in the Apple app store. The majority of these were either free or sold for 99 cents. I was coming off a depressing experience of having launched our first birding app, Winged Explorer (WE) for the Windows Mobile platform, the dominant player in 2008, at $99. It launched in July of 2008 and a month later its sales were dismal. I was ready to give up.

 Tune in tomorrow to learn how to price an app.

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