My pal Jason Grigsby (@grigs) poses an interesting question:
The premise is that the ancillary costs of apps bought to augment your awesome smartphone will lock you into that phone (and carrier, in the iPhone’s case) and prevent you from jumping to another smartphone platform, like Android or BlackBerry, and possibly a different carrier.
I think we can all agree that carrier lock-in is much more of a barrier, specifically early termination penalties, than apps, but let’s consider this question separately.
The best way to determine if you’re locked in is to survey your usage of apps and tally the cost. Next, you’ll want to know if the platform you’d switch to has those apps (or suitably equivalent ones) and how much additional cost you’d incur.
Jason’s conclusion is that apps aren’t costly enough to present enough of a barrier.
I tend to agree, and I also suspect that mobile developers know this and will adapt their pricing accordingly.
It’s only a matter of time before we see a seat licensing variant. For example, I bought Angry Birds for my iPhone. I’d like to play it on Android too, and maybe eventually on an iPad.
Rovio, the publisher could allow me to buy a multi-seat license for slightly more that would allow me to install the full version on x number of devices.
This only makes sense for developers. Why? Because many of us feel this way about buying apps.