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Can you survive on Android without ever having to pay for an app?

Android Apps: Free vs Paid

One fierce battle fought between Apple and Google is over apps and developers, and each platform tries to entice programmers with its own strengths. The main winners in this battle are smartphone users who get to explore two large ecosystems packed with free and paid apps, and find the perfect software tools for their devices. One such smartphone owner who has been using Android for over three years now without paying for any single app turned to Reddit for advice on how to spend a gift card on paid apps.

“I’ve been using Android for ages and never really needed to buy an app,” badapple89 wrote on Reddit. “Now I have $25~ to use up, what have I been missing out on that I need (and can’t get for free)?” he asked.

Badapple89 further added that he’s not keen on playing games on a smartphone, and doesn’t want to spend money on launcher apps either, which are popular purchases among Android users.

Many Android users joined the discussions, posting their suggestions for must-have Android apps worth paying for. Some commentators said that paying for apps is not always required or necessary, and that there are many free, or ad-based apps that do the job well.

Some Reddit users have also pointed out that they only pay for certain apps, and only up to a certain limit, and do so to support developers.

“For me the best apps give something simple and unique. Paying a buck or three to remove ads is a no-brainer, totally worth it in my view,” user shavenwarthog said. “Then again if you haven’t ‘needed’ to buy an app, you don’t need to start now.”

Interestingly, no Android user advised badapple89 to try to get any existing paid apps free of charge via shady methods.

The discussion on Reddit seems to highlight a specific “problem” developers may have with Android – that users are likely to find a way to make the most of their smartphones and tablets without paying for many apps.

Both the Google Play Store and the App Store offer a similar number of apps, although many developers still choose to make apps for iPhone and iPad first. Apple often brags with its App Store statistics including downloads and revenue for developers, although studies have shown that Google is catching up. Even so, Google has yet to reveal any specific details about app revenues that go to Android developers.

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.