Promiscuous Developers Want Downloads Not Dollars

Few developers of location-aware mobile apps are distributing titles across multiple storefronts, but those who are are doing it because they want downloads rather than revenue, according to data out today from Skyhook Wireless.

Skyhook, which provides a Wi-Fi database to determine a user’s location, said a manual search turned up 6,000 location apps through Apple’s (s aapl) App Store, 900 in the Android (s goog) Market and 300 in BlackBerry (s rimm) App World. But only 43 titles were available in all three stores, and most of those were free — an indication, Skyhook concluded, that developers make cross-platform apps to boost downloads, not revenues. “Developers that are interested in high revenue tend to focus only on paid apps for iPhone,” according to the company.

But the low number of cross-platform apps could just be a reflection of BlackBerry App World’s small (but growing) library, which some iPhone and Android developers are just beginning to embrace. And while getting paid for each download is great, advertising dollars are increasingly playing a key role in monetizing location-aware mobile applications. Developers of compelling location apps will surely support multiple storefronts as the segment matures and their apps become recognizable brands. But their business models won’t necessarily depend on download revenues.

Related GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d) research:

Image courtesy Flickr user Nimbuzz.