Android apps more expensive on average than iPhone counterparts

As an unabashed iPhone fan, I often ask owners of Android smartphones why they chose their phone over an iPhone. Answers have included "I like larger screens and styluses" (from a Samsung Galaxy Note owner), "There are more choices," and the ever-popular "iPhone apps are so expensive!" Well, a Canalys survey released today is throwing that last response into the dustbin of questionable excuses.

The Canalys survey cited in a post on Apple 2.0 notes that on average Android apps cost more than two-and-a-half times as much as their iPhone counterparts. When Canalys looked at the cost of the top 100 paid-for apps in the Android Market, the grand total was US$374.37. The top 100 iPhone apps tallied up to $147.00.

Canalys cited two factors for this discrepancy. First, Apple's more controlled retail environment allows in-app purchases and drives competition in app prices; second, Android phone owners are less willing to pay for apps, driving developers to charge more to break even.

Analyst Rachel Lashford of Canalys noted that "achieving big volumes of paid apps on Android is no small challenge," and she believes that more aggressive price competition within Android apps would encourage more consumers to make their first app purchases. That, in turn, would drive greater volumes of downloads and help the Android app ecosystem.

You might wonder if there is an overlap between the best-seller lists for the Android Market and the App Store. Only 19 apps appeared on both lists, and the pricing was usually higher for the Android apps. As an example, EA's Monopoly game is on both lists and has a price tag of $4.99 for Android and just $0.99 for iPhone.