Facebook announced earlier this month that they will introduce paid apps on their Facebook 'app center' platform.
Taking a leaf out of Apple's book, Facebook have now made it possible for developers to offer paid apps to Facebook users. David Ebersman, the Facebook CFO knows that other forms of income outside of gaming and advertising will be vital to their success given their recent IPO.
The intention behind the Facebook App Center is to present apps to users that are most likely to be useful. Apps will be presented based on their ratings and recommendations from users who have purchased them. The apps will be HTML5 and web-based apps; which does beg the question whether the quality of the applications will persuade users to part with their hard-earned?
Is this a smart move from Facebook. Over the last 18 months, the trend for apps on the Apple app store and Android Marketplace has been to move from paid apps to 'freemium' apps; free apps packed with premium features?
This move from Facebook has us asking though if the time has come for premium apps to provide a premium experiences?
Both the Apple app store, and most especially the Android Marketplace have filled up with sub-standard applications...making it more difficult to find truly great apps. Each of these vendors have introduced ways to organise, sort and find useful applications; but is this enough. Clearly, other vendors have seen an opportunity to improve the process for finding useful apps. App search engines like Quixey, and Chomp (recently acquired by Apple), along with apps like Discovr Apps are all doing their bit to help us sort through mediocre apps and find an app that can help us or solve a problem.
However, with a predicted 44 Billion apps to be in the Apple app store by 2015, it is not going to get any easier to sort through the chaff.
This trend forces us to ask; is it time to start to charge a premium for premium app experiences?
There are various services that customers or prospects might pay more. For example, if I can access all my banking data and past statements on my mobile device, and search this information; would I pay for this. Furthermore, what if a banking app allowed me to perform analysis on my spending patterns, and compile a budget based on my behaviours? Surely $1.99 is not too much to pay for such an experience.
We believe that if an app provides a premium experience, and lets me save money; or better still, make money...then why wouldn't I pay for that?
What are your thoughts...what apps or app features for existing apps would you pay for?