This may be the most tempting way to make money for mobile application developer, who expects to get their money back and see the result right away. The only demerit of it is that it requires great effort to market it. The fact that no users want to pay for the apps is that they do not know anything about it and how good the apps are if they do not have the chance to try it. So, unless users have a free trial, or they really in need of this apps, they won’t pay money for it.
Let’s try putting developer’s foot in the users’ shoes. No one likes to pay money when knowing nothing about what they are going to buy. So, free apps are a win-win situation for both users and developers. Once the users try the apps and they like it, they do not mind upgrading their account to premium. As a consequence, developers can get money from premium accounts for more features like bigger upload capacity, no ads for paid version…
The developers can sell many items in these so-called free apps including virtual goods, and subscription. Take Zynga game for example, users should buy token or some virtual goods, or they can ask their friends in the game, but this is quite time-consuming, so instead of waiting, users just need to buy it.
An example for this kind of method, Noom, a weight loss coaching app.
By displaying ads for other company or other mobile apps, mobile development companies can get money from these companies. Displaying these banner apps on top or bottom of the apps while waiting for playing the apps or between game levels is the most common way of this method. However, this method now does not be preferred due to its distraction and the developers can lose their users.