Some Simple Mobile Tools apps are becoming paid
It might sound shocking, but don’t worry, it isn’t as bad as you think. The apps have been completely free since the beginning, with a Purchase Simple Thank You dialog showing up from time to time. Unless you actually had it installed.
With the new system some of the most popular apps will cost a small sum of money, so there will be no nagging about donating or purchasing any app anymore. Some less popular apps from the suite will stay free for now, as honestly, they aren’t really worth paying for ;) Since free apps on Google Play cannot be switched to paid ones, I will have to publish brand new apps and make them paid. Everytime I upgrade an app to paid, you will be able to download it for free for 1 week (Google Play does not allow longer sales). If you download it within that week, you will never have to pay for it. I will let you know both in the particular app, in the app changelogs and on social media. Knowing that you will have a fresh app install will also allow me doing some structural changes, which would be too difficult, or risky, if I had to do it in a casual app update.
Why am I doing it?
Developing these apps takes a lot of time. Working on them is actually my full-time job, this is not some hobby project. It isn’t just about coding, though. I spend a lot of time reading and replying to your feedback/reviews on Google Play, emails, Facebook etc. And since the apps involve so many different aspects of Android and programming in general, it takes a lot of research too. For example just because you don’t see me commiting anything on Github for a day, it doesn’t mean that I had a day off. It could also mean that I was researching a particular feature, even during weekends.
I was already making some money via Simple Thank You and other means of supporting me, but I want to scale it further. I could be making a lot more with some other full-time programming job and I had a lot of offers, but I don’t want to go that way. If I had to work on the apps only in my free time, that would really slow he progress down and reduce their quality.
What does this mean to you?
Well, once you see an announcement that some app has become pro, you should download it as soon as possible. As I mentioned, every pro app will be free for the first 1 week. It will be a brand new app with “Pro” appended to the app name on Google Play. The launcher name on your device remains unchanged. Don’t forget rating them, just to help with the launch :) The links on the homepage will be updated to the pro version too, so you can easily get them by visiting it.
Your setting items will be reset to their default values, so you might need to revisit them. You will also have to migrate some locally stored Calendar events, local contacts in Simple Contacts, or copypaste Notes. The current app versions will stay published on Google Play, they just won’t be updated anymore. The philosophy of the apps remains untouched. All apps will still be adfree, open source on Github, without internet access and without requiring any weird permissions. New versions of the apps will be eventually published on f-droid too. They will technically be new apps there aswell, so you will have to download them again, not just somehow update. Pro apps will be published with version 6.0 from the beginning, to avoid confusion. That’s how you will also be able to differentiate the old and the new app versions on your device after upgrading, while you will still have both on your device. Just open the app, go to Menu -> About and keep only the one with version 6.0 there.
What about Simple Thank You?
It will still be around and required for Shared Theme to work. From technical point of view Shared Theme needs 1 app that will take care of the synchronization, it cannot be decentralized. It will still be paid, but I will make it cheaper.
That’s it for now, hope this new way of monetization will work out well :)
Why no ads?
Adding ads in the apps would require adding the Internet permission, which would really discourage a lot of people from using them, and it would go against the whole core of the apps.
What is the difference between free and Pro app versions?
Initially not much, but the free app versions won’t be updated anymore. I mean those apps, to which a Pro version exists.