Gautam Sabharwal of Monetising Mobile sponsor Tanla explains how developers can set their own prices and sell their own apps using TPAY.
In the week in which Google revealed 200,000 free and paid apps in the Android Market store, it seems there's more noise than ever in the app space. Discoverability is getting worse.
One way for developers to break through and make their voice heard is by hosting apps themselves from their own destinations. It's not straightforward, of course. They need to market these apps in order to attract traffic to the sites.
But with the many open mobile platforms now available – Android, Symbian – it's technically and commercial feasible for the more adventurous content makers to pursue such a strategy.
It's with this is mind that billing specialist Tanla launched TPay in March. This solution lets developers integrate flexible payment options into their apps so they can explore retailing themselves.
We asked Gautam Sabharwal, director of global business development at Tanla, to explain more...
How many developers have signed up for TPAY to date?
We have around 60 on the programme now. That's pretty good, considering we haven't done much marketing. They're mostly games developers on Android and Java.
How does the system work?
There are no fees, and you just register on the site. It works with two kinds of integration, either an SDK or a wrapper. The SDK works best with native platforms and the wrapping tech just lets you upload your app and then download the wrapped version. Ease of integration is very important because of all the different platforms out there. Our tech lets developers convert multiple file variants in seconds. It's all because of the tech that we acquired when we bought OpenBit.
And the billing options?
There's operator billing with around 100 networks on 30 countries and credit card billing. The only major territory missing on operator billing is the US, but it's imminent. The developer can specify the currency, charging amount, business model, free play period and so on.
What are the advantages of this kind of flexibility?
The conversion rates for apps are much higher when you can adjust it to the right business model. Take navigation for example. You might want to buy an app to travel to Germany, say. If you're going for a week, you'd probably be more interested in an app that lets you pay a fee for a week's rental.
And how important is the operator billing part?
Very. It's 80 per cent of the transactions. But not the value. Clearly when people spend, say, £90 on an annual licence, they use a credit card.
Which platforms does TPAY support?
All the major platforms except WinPho 7 and iOS, for obvious reasons. But we're working on Windows, and we also have plans for iPhone web apps using HTML5.
Where can TPAY apps be sold?
Well, we can't offer TPay on the official OEM app stores like Android Market and Ovi. But anything outside of them – like GetJar or a handset pre-load – can support apps made with the solution. As we all know discoverability is a major issue on app stores, so developers with marketing dollars are all looking at these distribution, as well as hosting their own downloads. This is where we see the real interest coming from. Also, we have our own relationships with operators and handset makers, so there is the potential for TPAY developers to work with us there.