Children's App Manifesto: a call to action for developers, consumers and investors

A NOT-SO SOLEMN PLEDGE: We all love paying $0.99 for apps but is this really feasible for developers? How many apps does it take to pay the bills? The developer of apps based on the work of beloved illustrator, Eric Carle, offers a "taste of the books" and two matching games for $1.99--while the hardcopy sells for $8 or more--and yet consumers apparently grouse about the online costs. These issues are raised by Launchpad Toys co-founder Andy Russell and Wired Geekdad Daniel Donahoo, who last week penned the Children's App Manifesto, a "call to action and a template" to help developers, consumers, and investors "strike a balance between [their] respective interests and what's best for the long-term viability of the market." In other words, they're creating a sounding board to discuss revenue models and how to make education app development sustainable without compromising content and quality. We like where this is going: one small step for apps, one giant leap for appkind.

Kirsten Winkler adds her two cents about edtech biz models in BigThink, highlighting how Khan Academy's breakaway from conventional business models (ads, freemium, premium) is proof of a way to deliver free, quality content. But this is possible, she claims, only because Khan apparently has "no commercial interest." Nothing beats free, says Audrey Watters, but then again, nothing in life comes free (according to Econ 101). The generous checks from the likes of Google and Gates are great kickstarters, but handouts are simply unsustainable from any business point of view.

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