The varied cost of applications (and developing them) for different mobile devices

As I find myself slowing losing resistance to buying an iPhone, I started thinking about all the free and $0.99 apps on the App Store. Granted, I’m using a platform (Palm OS) that is migrating from being “cheap because it’s old” to being “expensive because no one builds them anymore.” However, there are still Palm OS smartphones being sold by Sprint.

I found one example application across several platforms that is somewhat telling of the pricing model the iPhone has.

Bookworm for Palm OS by Astraware Limited – $14.95

Bookworm for iPhone by PopCap Games, inc. – $4.99

Bookworm for BlackBerry by Magmic Games – $6.99

Bookworm for Windows Mobile Smartphone – $9.99

The (old) Palm strategy appeared to be to make money off of the Palm OS device, and not to help provide access for the 3rd party developers to make the device useful. At one time I was interested in developing Palm OS software, but found that I was looking at a several hundred dollar investment just for the (high quality) IDE (CodeWarrior – $499). The pricing of the applications that are nearly obsolete now is telling.

I’ve noticed that the Windows Mobile Marketplace registration is now only $99 (per year). That’s a much more reasonable entry point, but I believe the iPhone development kit standard price is $99 (one time).

MEANWHILE, the Palm Pre has been out for over a month, and we’re still waiting on general release of the Mojo SDK. This is not a good sign to me, and frankly, that aggravates me as a developer.