I just read and interesting article in this site, there you will see that one of the facts they expose is that 59% of the developers don’t break even.
From my experience and the people I know I totally relate to this. Two years ago things were different, by just launching an app thousands of people would download it and see if it was of any interest, by then good quality was key to retain them. Today good quality is not enough, you also need to have an appealing design for the segment you are targeting as well as a more than great marketing strategy around it. Only a few exceptions get on the exponential curve of the popular apps in iOS, the rest need to work hard for it.
As it is already mentioned discoverability is becoming the biggest challenge brands have. not only for new developers that happily launch their new apps to make money out of them but also for normal brands that happen to be late comers to the mobile space area, and see with sadness their number of visits be less that the expectations they had.
I have see great apps, beautifully designer be lost in the middle of the app war, pitty? probably.. but the same happens in the normal product world… great products have been invented in the past but other better marketed products have gain the market share against them.. so no difference in this new “game of thrones”.
Even if app owner are willing to pay 700 euros or more for a phone.. little pay 7 euros for an app… weird he? The crucial difference that has made the “little apps market” different that the web software one…. are “the enthusiatic nurts”. They have been creating free and great apps just as a hobby suncking the prices of new apps, and giving the final user a feeling that for an app… you don’t want to pay much.
Still there is hope, I know enough developers that can make a living with some apps just be aware that users expect more and more out of you!