Apple and Google should allow developers to charge for upgrade

Apple and Google should allow developers to charge for upgrade

Totally think they should allow developers to charge for upgrades. They got to help developers out for all the hard work they do.

Chris Lacy originally shared:

Action Launcher 3 will release soon. It will be a paid upgrade.

Here's how it will work:

1). On release day (TBC), the existing Action Launcher Play Store entry (com.actionlauncher.playstore) will be upgraded to the new app, Action Launcher 3.

2). Also on this day, I will re-release Action Launcher 2 as a new app in the Play Store (com.actionlauncher.holoedition.playstore). This app will be the exact same version of Action Launcher 2 as is currently in the Play Store today.

3). Action Launcher Pro will only work with Action Launcher 2. People who bought Action Launcher Pro previously can still use all the functionality they paid for. You just have to install a different app to access it.

I realize I risk putting a few people offside by the decision to charge (full price) for Action Launcher 3's functionality, so please allow me to explain my thinking here with this mini-FAQ which will hopefully address the majority of questions people might have.

"Why is Action Launcher 3 a paid upgrade? Why aren't you releasing it as a free update like all other apps do?"

The answer is simple: Action Launcher 3 isn't a "app X gets an update for Material Design" release. In fact, it's not an update at all. It's an entirely new version. It is a total re-imagining. It is both a complete re-design and a complete re-write. Every feature from Action Launcher 2 that has been brought over has been rethought and polished. It has a headline feature new not just for Action Launcher, but all launchers. It is the culmination of many months of effort.

Considering the vast majority of Action Launcher 2 sales occurred over a year ago, and I make my living selling my apps, it's very tough to justify from a business perspective giving all this hard work away for free in an update. I feel very happy with how many updates Action Launcher 2 received over the previous 2 years (11 major updates, >100 in total), as well as the value for money Action Launcher Pro users have received for their $2-$4 purchase. But charging for Action Launcher 3 is the right move to ensure the product has the opportunity to grow as I want it to going forward.

"No seriously. I already bought Action Launcher Pro! You're telling me I have to pay again?!?"

Here's the good news: the app you previously bought, as well as all its previous functionality, will still available for you to use. And it works as well or better than the day you bought it. The only difference will be, this app has been renamed to Action Launcher 2: Holo Edition, and requires a separate install. If you want to use this version of Action Launcher, please feel free to do so. But yes, if you want to use Action Launcher 3's premium features, I am asking that you buy those features.

"You're being greedy charging for this upgrade. You posted recently that Action Launcher Pro had sold 100k copies!"

I'm immensely grateful to everyone who has bought the app to this point. But as I said above, the majority of those sales happened over a year ago. It would have been very tough for me to justify the months and months of Action Launcher 3 development time if I wasn't going to charge people for the upgrade. I hope/think once most people see/use Action Launcher 3, they will be very happy I spent this time developing it, and accept the decision to charge for it.

"What other options did you consider before deciding to charge for Action Launcher 3's upgrade?"

Pretty much everything I could think of. I almost went with an annual subscription, but I balked here because I had strong doubts the market at large would accept it.

"Will Action Launcher 3 have a free version to try out?"

Yes, Action Launcher 3 can be installed and trialled in a time-unlimited manner. Unlocking the premium features occurs via an in-app purchase.

"I get that you are charging for the upgrade, but why not release the new app as a separate app?"

The main reasons are:

* SEO. There are a lot of web articles that link to com.actionlauncher.playstore, and I want people following these articles to be taken to the best possible version of the app (Action Launcher 3).

* Action Launcher currently has a 6 figure active install count, and I want all of these users to have the latest version pushed to their device when it becomes available.

"What about the alpha/beta features in Action Launcher 2? Will you at least finish those?"

Sorry, but no plans to do this. Generally speaking, those features were labelled alpha/beta or put in Labs for a reason.

"You owe it to Action Launcher 2 customers to at least fix all the bugs!"

This depends entirely on how many Pro users keep using Action Launcher 2 once Action Launcher 3 releases. If as I suspect/hope, the vast majority transition to Action Launcher 3, it's tough to justify my spending the time on software rarely being used anymore, when instead that time could be spent making Action Launcher 3 better. There are a few bugs in Action Launcher 2 I'm not thrilled about. A few are AOSP bugs, but most are my fault. And to my knowledge, all are fixed in Action Launcher 3.

(For what it's worth, it's rarely as simple as taking a fix from Action Launcher 3 and bringing it to Action Launcher 2. That's kind of like taking a piece from one jigsaw puzzle and trying to make it fit in a different jigsaw puzzle (again, Action Launcher 3 is a complete rewrite)).

"I bought Action Launcher Pro recently! I want my money back!"

If you bought Action Launcher Pro in the last 30 days and find yourself wanting to refund this purchase in light of this news, please do the following: buy the Action Launcher 3 Plus in-app purchase when it releases. Make sure you use the same Google Account used to purchase Action Launcher Pro. Then email with a subject of "Action Launcher 2 Refund". Once I verify that you have purchased the new upgrade in Action Launcher 3, I will refund the Action Launcher Pro purchase (be aware this won't happen instantly, but I will get to it assuming these steps are followed).

"Why are you telling us this now?"

I appreciate this is not a normal course of action, and I expect the idea will take a bit of getting used to for some. My hope is that by informing everyone about the decision and why I have made it ahead of time, people will have had time to process it by the time Action Launcher 3 releases. Hopefully on release day, the topic of discussion can (mostly) be the quality of the app itself and what it brings to the table, rather than pricing model of it.

"Are all features that are present in Action Launcher 2 present in Action Launcher 3?"

No, there have been features cut. I may bring some/most/all features back at some point, but the goal with Action Launcher 3 was to make the best experience possible, and if that means a few features that I tried in the past but never quite clicked are cut, then so I think that’s fair. When you see Action Launcher 3, hopefully it will make sense why certain features were cut.

"Can you tell us what is in Action Launcher 3?"

It contains the best features of Action Launcher 2, some great features of Google Now Launcher, and a new headline feature I'm immensely proud of.

"When is Action Launcher 3 releasing?"

As soon as it's ready to go. I can't be more specific, because I just don't know when I'll have all the bugs done. I've got 10 to go as of writing. Hopefully no more appear before launch.

”You know what, this is kind of like the way I buy a new Call of Duty every year. Or that fact that my having bought Captain America 1 on Blu-ray doesn’t entitle me to a free copy of Captain America 2. I was mad reading the headline of this post, but you've convinced me, and I'm actually fine with this move!”

Terrific! Thanks for your understanding!

"I've read all this, but I still think this is wrong. There's no way I'm paying for an upgrade."

I'm sorry you feel that way, but that is of course your right. Hopefully you'll check out the free component of Action Launcher 3 when it releases all the same.

To sum up, charging for Action Launcher 3's premium features will help ensure ongoing Action Launcher development remains a viable business proposition going forward. While there will no doubt be some Action Launcher Pro customers who remain upset at this decision, given making it will result in a far higher quality app in the long run, it is a decision I hope most will agree is the right one.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Now it's back to work for me so I can get this app to you all ASAP.

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