New Trend? Desktop App is Free, Mobile App Isn’t.

I’ve noticed a new trend (at least, it seems that way to me) that seems to be gaining popularity with Micro-ISVs, and that is to give away your desktop application while charging for the mobile app.  I’ve seen it with Plex, Magento, and I’m suspecting this is the strategy behind last week’s (and my new favorite) GTD piece of software Wunderlist from 6 Wunderkinder.  Their new application is simple, beautiful, and runs on Windows and the Mac, while supporting syncing via the web, which fixes my top two annoyances with my current GTD favorite, Things.  They just announced via Twitter today that they’ve open sourced the entire application, but their mobile application is “coming soon”, and my guess is they’ll charge 10 bucks for it, which I’ll happily pay.If this is a new trend with Micro-ISVs, I think it makes quite a bit of sense.  Get users hooked on your mainline offering, even open source it, become the defacto standard, and then charge for the extra bit of mobile functionality.  It solves the “edge case” problem of increasing costs involved when targeting the Big Three mobile platforms (Blackberry, Android, and iOS) and gets people to fork over money where they’re most comfortable – big shiny app stores that make it easy to buy.I think there are some challenges to overcome, but overall it should be a smart strategy.  We’ll see how it plays out, or even if it’s a trend at all.

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