[Update] – 26th of July, 2019
This article is not up-to-date. This was just a discussion I had with myself and with the users of the app few months ago.
The final decision was to remove the PRO version from Google Play in order to keep only Printoid LITE (free) and Printoid PREMIUM (paid) online. This simplifies a lot the offer, and removes the confusion in the head of lot of you guys.
Don’t worry, the other solutions proposed in this article will not be applied.
Hello dear Printoid users!
I would like to operate a huge change in the way Printoid is proposed on Google Play.
As a user, this will probably impact you (even if I would like to do changes as transparent as possible for you). But, it’s a pleasure to invite you to take part to the decisions.
The principal reasons
The main reasons of this business strategy rework are very easy to understand:
1. First reason, I would like to make the offer more clear
Today Printoid is available in 3 tiers on Google Play:
- LITE, for free, without ads, but with a very limited scope of features
- PRO, for ~$5.00, without ads, with ~75% of the features
- PREMIUM, for ~$7.50, without ads, with 100% for the features
Unfortunately, the differences between PRO and PREMIUM are not so obvious for everyone. Even if there is a version comparator here, and even if this link is indicated in the Google Play page of every versions.
It seems confusing for a lot of new users and, it’s not good for you, nor for myself.
2. Second reason, I would like to find a better way to monetize my work
Yes, Printoid is a paid app, and I know that a lot of makers are waiting for free tools. Because OctoPrint is free, “Printoid has to be free”.
No, that’s not possible. I work daily on this application, I’ve spent my last 3 years in front of my computer, with sleepless nights adding new features, fixing issues, doing improvements, listening for complains, doing great user support, etc…
Printoid is a paid app but, it’s not an expensive tool. Less than 1/3 of the price of a filament spool 😉 And to be honest with you, it’s not so much at all regarding the work and the time I’ve invested on the project.
3. Third reason, the piracy of the app
Since the beginning, Printoid PRO and PREMIUM have been hacked and provided for free over the Internet.
I don’t tell you that, piracy is hell, etc. etc. I don’t want preachify you, etc. I just want to tell you that, as an independent developer, it’s so hard to loose 25% of benefits because of piracy. Since I’m not a multi-national company, please note that I don’t earn a lot of money with Printoid. I earn less than the average pay-day here in France every month. Even if I don’t take piracy into account.
Why so much piracy of the app? Is the app too expensive? Is the current business model wrong? I need to understand.
The current business model
As explained just above, Printoid is today available in 3 tiers. 2 tiers are available as paid apps on Google Play.
- Users are free to use LITE only – without paying nothing
- Users are free to purchase PRO only
- Users are free to purchase PREMIUM only
- Users are free to purchase PRO then PREMIUM (with PRO refund)
- Users are free to purchase both PRO and PREMIUM (without PRO refund)
In fact, it’s not obvious. And if it is not obvious, it is probably not the best business model possible.
Every user is also free to support my work from Patreon.
The future business model
Today, I have no fixed idea for a new business model. Only few tracks to follow.
The main thing to keep in mind is, on Google Play, each version of Printoid has its own user database. Removing a version (for example PRO) will let every users of this version without any updates of the app in the future.
1. First idea, only one paid version on Google Play
My first idea is to remove the PRO tier. That means, keeping only LITE (for free) and PREMIUM (for ~$7.50) available on Google Play.
This would require me to migrate progressively every current PRO users to PREMIUM for free. (what could not be nice for those who have already purchased PREMIUM – I agree…)
[Update] – 26th of July, 2019
This is the solution I’ve chosen. Please read the following article carefully:
2. Second idea, PRO becomes PREMIUM too
In order to avoid any confusion between PRO and PREMIUM tiers, I could rename Printoid PRO to Printoid PREMIUM, and deliver the same app in both tier, with the same name, the same icon, the same features, the same price.
But this would be a bit confusing for new users to see two Printoid PREMIUM applications on Google Play…
3/ Third idea, Printoid LITE becomes Printoid (without tier indication)
And within Printoid LITE, a new menu, like a catalog, could let you doing in-app purchases in order to activate only the features you want.
For example (and only for example):
- Video streaming feature: $0.79
- Commands panel: $0.79
- Printoid Hub: $2.99
- Full pack of features: $7.50
Printoid PRO and PREMIUM would be still supported on Google Play, but only for a limited time (in order to ask for all current users to migrate to the Printoid ‘base’ application).
Of course, using your Printoid account will help you to re-activate automatically the full pack of features in the ‘base’ application, without having to pay again.
4. Fourth idea, a monthly subscription to use Printoid
All the three tiers (LITE, PRO and PREMIUM) would become exactly the same app, the three for free on Google Play (in order to keep the 3 users base).
And in-app, I could propose a monthly subscription at $0.99 each month.
- Current PRO users would have their first 5 months for free.
- Current PREMIUM users would have their first 8 months for free.
- All LITE users (previous and new users) would have 1 month for free.
Only one monthly subscription (at $0.99) would be available, to unlock all the app features).
Please note that, everything in this article are issued from my own reflections. That’s only ideas, that will maybe not applied at all. May Printoid will stay like that, with the 3 tiers on Google Play.
Please also note that, this article is only relative to Printoid on Android. Please do not ask for the iOS version again: guys I’m not an iOS developer and I still don’t have enough free time to maintain the Android version like I would like to do…
I have so many ideas to improve Printoid, to create new uselful features for you makers. But I really need to find the best business strategy in order to live with my passions: the Android apps dev and the 3D printing universe.