1. richard_walters's Avatar
    My name is Richard Walters, and I am the developer of Calculator. Last week I released a major update to the Windows Phone app, highlighted by this article on Windows Central: Calculator for Windows Phone gets a huge upgrade, Windows 10 version coming soon | Windows Central. The update significantly improved all areas of what was already a highly rated app, and I'm very pleased with the end result. I hoped that my own satisfaction in the new version would be reflected by the Windows Phone community, but that has not generally been the case. There is a single reason for this; the Currency Converter, which used to be freely available, is now a premium feature.

    Previously, the app included five calculators: Basic, Programmer, Scientific, Currency and Units. The app was free and supported by adverts, with an in-app purchase costing $1.49 to go ad-free. However, only a very small percentage of users paid for the in-app purchase -- almost all felt that it did not provide worthwhile value given that it didn't add any new functionality. The revenue generated by the app was not worth the time investment on my part to continue to support it, which would have been a great shame as I've very much enjoyed working on it and I know that a good many users find it useful.

    In the latest version, I added a Financial Calculator, which is unlocked by the in-app purchase. I also made the decision to make the Currency Converter a premium feature, as it is the one part of the app that costs me financially as I pay a third-party for access to their exchange rates service. With this new monetisation policy, the free version of Calculator provides the same core features as the new Windows 10 calculator (Basic, Programmer, Scientific, Unit Converter) although each feature is much enhanced, e.g. with the addition of scientific constants and ASCII buttons. The Financial Calculator and Currency Converter are then premium features not available in the OSs inclusive calculator app.

    The change in monetisation policy is to enable me to continue to support the app going forward. Unfortunately, I've received a multitude of negative reviews such as:

    "Since upgrade you locked currency exchange. Not professional... So why one star..."

    "Unimpressed with latest update disabling currency converter unless you upgrade to full. Uninstalled."

    "Currency was free in previous version! :-( "

    "Don't get it, the update makes it so you have to pay for everything"

    "they ruined the app! I can't use the currency converter anymore 😞 . they ask for money"

    "Used to be easy to keep track of currencies in start screen. That has now become 'to be paid' ... I'll get my currencies somewhere else and look for another unit converter at the same time."

    "The currency converter is locked after the last update. You will be prompted to pay for it. I have uninstalled Calculator."

    "After updating, many functions just got lost, and people who want to use those functions have to pay. But they were free in last version!"


    The average daily rating for the app dropped from ~4.25 to 2.75 in the days after the update was released. And yet it is a much improved version of the app. I must say that some users have kindly contributed very positive reviews about the update too, although they are not the majority.

    Let me put the case for the change in monetisation this way. I have actually taken three months of unpaid leave from my current job in order to work on the app full-time and release this latest version. I have taken a huge hit financially in doing so, but Ive very much enjoyed this period of my life. My hope is that over time, the new monetisation policy will help recoup the loss of income to make this venture worthwhile. It remains to be seen if this will be the case. The point is, I would love to work as a Windows app developer full-time and release other apps in addition to Calculator. If only 10% of the people who downloaded the app decided to purchase it, then this would be possible for me. Unfortunately, the ratio is nowhere near that number, even for such a high quality app as Calculator. At $1.49, the cost of the in-app purchase represents fantastic value it is much cheaper than a handheld scientific calculator with the same level of functionality, much cheaper than a coffee from a coffee chain, or a pint of beer from a bar. It is only a fraction of the cost of the phone, which without apps would merely be a very expensive device for making and receiving calls. If more Windows Phone users were willing to support developers, then there would be a lot more Rudy Huyns out there working full-time on creating wonderful Windows Phone apps to help fill the app gap between Windows and the other mobile platforms.

    My hope is that this post will raise awareness of developers motivations for charging for content in their apps. I also wish to spark a debate so that I can further understand the consumer's point-of-view and thereby cater more sensitively for their concerns.

    Richard Walters

    Developer of Calculator
    @RWaltersApps
    facebook.com/Calculator2
    Download Calculator from the Windows Store
    07-27-2015 08:11 AM
  2. PratikMade's Avatar
    Since I'm not a developer I don't know how much it costs for you to maintain the app but I appreciate your efforts and dedication towards windows ecosystem, developers do get affected by the small user base of Windows phone I see. Hope the Microsoft's two billion users that would probably upgrade to Windows 10 would help you somehow.
    07-27-2015 08:28 AM
  3. hb1x's Avatar
    That's sad.
    But don't bother about the negative reviews. A lot of good reviews gonna come your way after the release of Windows 10. And then, these 100-200 bad reviews wouldn't matter.

    I personally believe that you've got an amazing app. I never even though that I'd buy a calculator app. But on that faithful day, when I read about it on WC, I just gave it a shot..... and within 10 mins, I bought it.
    The funniest part is..... My primary phone is an Android device. But it didn't matter. Even if I dump my (backup) Windows Phone, I can still use the app on my desktop/laptop. And $1.49 is a steal TBH. I would've paid double.
    Image: http://imgur.com/LRIAKZG

    Keep up the good work. You're gonna go far and wide.

    On a side note, your app is still rocking 4.4* in India.
    Image: http://imgur.com/IluPjQj
    07-27-2015 09:26 AM
  4. SteveNoza's Avatar
    I have never understood the reluctance to pay for good apps, I'd rather pay a few bucks for a well built app with no ads than suffer through an ad ridden mediocre one. Hopefully, you can make enough money to keep doing it.
    07-27-2015 09:28 AM
  5. RumoredNow's Avatar
    I hate to say it... It pains me...

    I've used webOS, Android and Windows Phone each pretty extensively. I've dabbled in others, but never mind those. My core experience is with the 3 listed. I've spent plenty of time on the forums for each of those and time in the App Stores as well.

    I wish I knew the reason...

    There is a hugely vocal element within our user base on Windows Phone that seems to believe they should have every App free. I see hostility and confusion expressed by such users towards paid versions. This vocal element willfully ignores that there often times is one lone individual putting in time on something out of love and respect for the platform and a desire to contribute to the platform. They treat the App as a thing and have an overdeveloped sense of entitlement and a disregard of reward for effort, originality and dedication.

    I can't code my way out of a wet paper bag. Thus, I am grateful for Apps that do what I need or want. It certainly is beyond my ken to create them, so I respect those who do.

    Maybe the difference is that on webOS indie devs were even more of a rarity and the sense of community was a bit tighter than on WP. Android is filled with cracked and hacked Apps and APK download havens so I guess that keeps the freebie freaks a bit quieter.

    I tried to generate interest in a "Buy an App Day" event. The very miniscule amount of participation it generated made me weep. Less than 10 people contributed in any visible way; out of the thousands that are viewing this site at any given moment.

    It makes me ashamed for our community at times... < There, I said it. I'm ashamed. Every time I read a post or a review of an App or a comment in the blog and the comment is "should be free" in tone or words... I cringe. How petty does our community look? How undeserving of the Developer support users cry out for do we make make ourselves look when we beg, plead, demand and cajole for free Apps and giveaways?

    I have a currency converter I paid for and use very little. It's part of another bundle of utilities I purchased. Your App sounds redundant for my needs. I'm downloading and making the in-App purchase now. I'll poke at it pretty often and post a fair and honest revue in a couple of days.

    Why?

    Because I can't code my way out of a wet paper bag. Because I put my money where my mouth is. Because I thank you for bringing this issue forward.

    Because I'm ashamed...
    07-27-2015 11:30 AM
  6. rhapdog's Avatar
    I don't really have need for the Financial Calculator since retirement, or the Currency Converter, as I don't travel out of the US.

    However, I see both of those as something that could seriously be advantageous on the Desktop in Windows 10, especially to a lot of business travelers, bankers, financial consultants, and small businesses. Those are people who will buy the app for the desktop and appreciate having it on their mobile as well.

    I can imagine it would be handy as a car salesman to have a financial calculator and loan calculator on their phone (without ads) as they work out a deal on the spot with a customer as the customer is looking over the car.

    People who complain about a currency converter not being free probably bought the lowest budget Lumia they could get because they couldn't afford better, and they probably can't afford to travel where they would need the converter anyway. People who do serious travel that would actually use it will be willing to pay for the convenience.

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of trolls out there that complain about lack of freebies even on apps they would never have a use for, simply because they believe everything should be free. Some pirate the software on their Desktop OS while others run Linux and try to find everything free. Quite a few constantly berate companies that charge for their software.

    You don't hear them complaining on Android, because they can find free apps for pretty much everything. Apps that are sub-par or ad-ridden.

    You don't hear them complaining on iOS, because people who purchase the premium Apple products can generally afford it and don't mind shelling out a few bucks for the software. This is why developers love to target that platform, even though percentage wise it is a lot smaller than Android, it is much more profitable because of the "higher-end user base."

    Then there is Windows Phone. Small user base with people that have the same mindset as Android, because a large majority bought low cost phones. That will change as the world moves to Windows 10 on Desktop and Tablets, especially for apps like yours that will really provide a great service to desktops and tablets, as well as phones. As Windows 10 takes hold, the Windows Store market will begin to improve, and you'll see a lot more people willing to purchase apps because people will actually start using them from the Desktop, since they will be able to be run in a window. Windows 8 apps never really took off, because full-screen apps on a desktop is off-putting.

    I wish you best of luck. Once I have the final Windows 10 installed on my Laptop and the Windows 10 universal version is out, I'll be heading to the store to make a purchase. Will it be because I need it? No, but I see the need for it, and I want to contribute. Looking at my app purchases over the last year, I only average about $8 per month, which doesn't sound like much, but I'm fairly sure it's way above average for Windows Phone users. I'll make yours part of my next month purchases.
    07-27-2015 09:01 PM
  7. Manmikey's Avatar
    I hate to say it... It pains me...

    I've used webOS, Android and Windows Phone each pretty extensively. I've dabbled in others, but never mind those. My core experience is with the 3 listed. I've spent plenty of time on the forums for each of those and time in the App Stores as well.

    I wish I knew the reason...

    There is a hugely vocal element within our user base on Windows Phone that seems to believe they should have every App free. I see hostility and confusion expressed by such users towards paid versions. This vocal element willfully ignores that there often times is one lone individual putting in time on something out of love and respect for the platform and a desire to contribute to the platform. They treat the App as a thing and have an overdeveloped sense of entitlement and a disregard of reward for effort, originality and dedication.

    I can't code my way out of a wet paper bag. Thus, I am grateful for Apps that do what I need or want. It certainly is beyond my ken to create them, so I respect those who do.

    Maybe the difference is that on webOS indie devs were even more of a rarity and the sense of community was a bit tighter than on WP. Android is filled with cracked and hacked Apps and APK download havens so I guess that keeps the freebie freaks a bit quieter.

    I tried to generate interest in a "Buy an App Day" event. The very miniscule amount of participation it generated made me weep. Less than 10 people contributed in any visible way; out of the thousands that are viewing this site at any given moment.

    It makes me ashamed for our community at times... < There, I said it. I'm ashamed. Every time I read a post or a review of an App or a comment in the blog and the comment is "should be free" in tone or words... I cringe. How petty does our community look? How undeserving of the Developer support users cry out for do we make make ourselves look when we beg, plead, demand and cajole for free Apps and giveaways?

    I have a currency converter I paid for and use very little. It's part of another bundle of utilities I purchased. Your App sounds redundant for my needs. I'm downloading and making the in-App purchase now. I'll poke at it pretty often and post a fair and honest revue in a couple of days.

    Why?

    Because I can't code my way out of a wet paper bag. Because I put my money where my mouth is. Because I thank you for bringing this issue forward.

    Because I'm ashamed...
    I feel the same as RumoredNow, who has expressed my views far better than I could so a big plus 1 to his post.
    Please don't feel disheartened and keep up the good work. I will now ownload your app and make the purchase because I want to support your efforts as a WP developer, I will give it an honest review after a couple of weeks

    Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
    07-28-2015 06:16 AM
  8. Slatergs's Avatar
    I'd agree with the other guys. It's sad the feeling of entitlement that people have when it comes to apps (or life for that matter).
    I don't have huge need for any of the calculators at this point in my life, but I do for the currency converter. App is well done and deserves the support, so thank you!
    a5cent and RumoredNow like this.
    07-28-2015 06:49 AM
  9. Slatergs's Avatar
    As a follow up:
    I really like your app. It was clearly thought out and much effort put forth. This can be seen in minor things like taking the time to put all the flags in for currency exchange. It is small little touches like this that give an overall quality feel to the app. Works very smooth on my Lumia 435.
    Thank you and keep up the great work!
    07-28-2015 12:58 PM
  10. richard_walters's Avatar
    Thanks for your support everyone! It really does make it worthwhile when people say that they really love the app and enjoy using it.

    Version 4 is now out for Windows 8.1. For some reason, the app is stuck in full-screen mode on Windows 10, although all other Windows 8.1 apps have tried can run in a window. I'll be starting work on the native Windows 10 version later this evening to remedy this. With the work I put into the Windows 8 rebuild, upgrading the project to Windows 10 should be fairly painless, and hopefully I'll have an update out within a week or too.
    hb1x, hiya15, RumoredNow and 1 others like this.
    08-03-2015 07:39 AM
  11. a5cent's Avatar
    Reading this hurts. Reading about the negative reviews by people who are largely clueless and entitled brats hurts even more. What hurts most, is how such ignorance can negatively affect a project of passion such as this one.

    To all those "reviewers" I say:
    Shame, shame, shame *rings bell*

    Just bought the app BTW...
    08-03-2015 09:21 AM
  12. gMaesterUK's Avatar
    I agree with everyone's comments, it's a sorry state of affairs when the vocal minority feel entitled to freebies, and write reviews that aren't favourable just because they have to pay to use something that's they choose to install!

    However, to the developer a little dig. It's never a good idea to give people free things and then try to charge for the same 'perceived' functionality later. Make it a lesson learnt.

    You also have to understand that there are a large number of users from countries where our weekly take home pay is equal to their annual salary. I'm not excusing some users behaviour but sometimes you have to look at things holistically.

    Ultimately the developer community won't treat us as a worthwhile ecosystem in which to develop until average spend is greater then Android which is achievable.

    Just my thoughts on the subject.

    G.
    RumoredNow, a5cent and Reflexx like this.
    08-03-2015 09:30 AM
  13. IndyJG's Avatar
    Agree with everyone's comments. Stories like this make me angry. I was a proud supporter of Rumored Now's Buy An App Day. I rarely use a calculator and the stock Windows app has suited me, but after reading this I went ahead and downloaded your app and made the in app purchase to support you, Richard. I can see you put a lot of effort into it. I'm proud to do my small part to support you. Keep up the great work!
    08-03-2015 09:48 AM
  14. richard_walters's Avatar
    I think they're all fair comments. I don't have an issue with people who no longer want to use the app because some content is now premium -- more the (sometimes quite hateful) reviews as a result of this. There are plenty of free alternative Currency Converters out there, and no-one is entitled to software by right.

    I am glad that most of the app content is free, particularly the features that really help for educational use. I think Scientific Calculator is by far the nest part of the app. I will also add new content in time, e.g. complex numbers, that will also be free. As you might expect, most of the negative comments have been from users in relatively wealthy countries.
    RumoredNow and a5cent like this.
    08-03-2015 12:15 PM
  15. tale 85's Avatar
    I keep reading reviews on apps. Especially ones that have free trials or just a straight purchase. Never in my life have I seen more people exaggerate having to pay for an app.
    You would think they're buying a complete software package for a couple hundred bucks.
    But there's the other side of the story.
    And this is where the developers need to pay attention. When you're shopping for apps and games, every time you press a button, select a function, someone is asking for more money. "It's a free App, unless you want to use it", "It's a free game, unless you want to play it."
    Be up front with your charges. Give us the Menu...with prices....in your app description. Offer a refund, if you don't deliver on your hype. Or the app crashes every time you use it. Or...doesn't work at all.
    Like any industry, you have the scammers, incompetent products and the blood suckers. People like you suffer.
    I'm guilty of shying away fro paid apps. My reason is financial, not that I can't afford the app it's getting money into my Microsoft account. It's a pain in the ****. And I have paid for some pretty useless apps.

    From a customer standpoint, I don't like surprises. Tell us what it costs, what we get for the money, and the options list.

    Good luck with your app. I hope you do well.....and don't let the Huns get you down
    08-03-2015 01:29 PM

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