42 App Ideas That Made A LOT of Money

1. Instagram:

If there’s one app idea you wished you had come up with it would have to be Instagram.  Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger founded Instagram in 2010. Less than 2 years later they sold to Facebook in a deal worth $1 billion. The amazing thing about that was that when they sold they had zero revenue. Imagine buying a company for a billion dollars that didn’t make any money!

2. Square

One of those apps that is literally changing the world.  It enables small retailers to easily accept credit card payments through their iPhones instead of having cumbersome credit card machines. Anyone can accept card payments and there are no contracts, monthly fees or merchant accounts.  It has been successful too, with revenues for 2012 expected to exceed $100 million.

3. Ebay

Not all apps are built by new companies.  Ebay have found that their business works very well through an app. More than 65 million people have downloaded eBay’s apps for various devices. They spent $5bn on the auction service from mobile devices in 2011. This is expected to rise to $8bn in 2012.

4. Camera+

is the most successful camera app for iPhone. It has been downloaded over 8 million times and has revenue of over $5.1 million.  It is developed by Tap Tap Tap who also have a puzzle app called The Heist. Definitely one of the better iphone app designs in this list!

5. Fruit Ninja

is produced by Halfbrick in Australia. It was second in the list of top paid apps in 2011.  It has been downloaded over 10 million times at a price of $0.99

6. Design this Home

has over 300 000 daily users and is bringing in an estimated $1 million per month. It was developed by App Minis for the relatively small amount of $50 000. The game is based on designing and decorating a house.

7. MotionX GPS Drive

is the top selling navigation application in the app store. MotionX is a full feature navigator with many features including high quality voice guidance, predictive live traffic and map data that is always up-to-date. The software only covers the U.S. and Canada and a monthly or yearly subscription must be bought from within the app.

8. Doodle Jump

by Lima Sky was started by Croatian brothers Igor and Marko Pusenjak in 2009 and gained over 10 million downloads in 20 months. In 2011, Doodle Jump was the 9th most downloaded paid app.

9. Plants vs Zombies

is number 12 in Apple’s all-time paid app list. It belongs to PopCap Games which is one of the most successful game-producing companies..

10. Bejeweled

Another app from PopCap, Bejeweled is is one of the most successful games in App Store history.  PopCap boast of 4 million downloads and the price is $2.99.

11. Pocket God

has been downloaded well over 3 million times and is constantly being upgraded by the makers, Bolt Creative.  The game is in position 9 on iTunes all-time best selling paid app list.  The app is priced at $0.99.

12. Skee Ball

is the thirteenth most downloaded paid app in history.  It brings the addictive boardwalk game to the iPhone. The makers, Freeverse sold 2.5 million copies of the game at 99 cents per game but have now been acquired by Ngmoco.

 

13. Flick Fishing

is another game developed by Freeverse and was launched in November 2008.  It has been downloaded over 2.5 million times and is the 25th most popular game on Tunes.

14. Flight Control

puts you n the seat of one of the most stressful professions, air traffic controller.  Over 4 million people have downloaded the game in the three years it has been in the app store.  At a price of $0.99, it has been very lucrative for its maker, Firemint.

15. Where’s Waldo

The Fantastic Journey is the ultimate search and find adventure for all ages, as players scour the virtual globe in search of Waldo and his friends. Where’s Waldo is in Apple’s top 25 best-selling paid apps of all time. Selling price is $1.99.

16. Angry Birds

is number one (Angry Birds), five (Angry Birds Seasons) and eight (Angry Birds Rio) in Apple’s list of top selling paid apps. The parent company Rovio generated revenue of $106 million in 2011 which almost totally due to success of Angry Birds.

17. Pandora

is an internet radio app which allows users to create their own custom radio based on the type of music they like. Pandora had 80 million users as of January 2011 and finished 2011 with $138 million in revenue.

18. Shazam

is the amazingly clever app that can tell you the name of a song, artist and album simply by “listening” to it. The British company posted revenue of $24 million in 2011 with sales mainly driven by the app.  They have over 175 million users and add over a million users per week.

19. SoundHound

is another popular song recognition app. Not only will it identify a song, artist and album but it will also let you find the lyrics for the song and download it through Amazon.  It can even give you gig information for the artist.  The app has a free version with ads and a paid version.  They are up to about 80 million users now and handle 5 million song searches a day.

20. Hipstamatic

makes the photos you take with your iPhone look really retro cool with filters and other effects. Last year Hipstamatic generated about $10 million in revenue and is in the iTunes – Top grossing list June 2012

21. Cut the Rope

is number 4 in the list of all-time best-selling paid apps. Cut the rope so that Om Nom can get his candy.  It’s another simple but fun game which works particularly well on the iPhone.  The app is developed by ZeptoLab and Chillingo. It has been downloaded well over 100 million times.

22. Words With Friends

is Number 6 on the list of all-time top grossing apps. Words with Friends from Zynga has had over 20 million installs. Choose from the free version with ads or paid version which costs $2.99.

23. Infinity Blade

took graphics to the next level and the makers, Epic Games, were rewarded with sales of over $30 million. The game costs $5.99 and won many awards including the Apple Design Award 2011.

24. Tiny Wings

Andreas Illiger is the one-man show that created the hit app Tiny Wings.  The cute little bird is #7 in the all-time paid app list with annual revenue estimated at $3 million.

25. Draw Something

Fifty days after its release, Draw Something had been downloaded 50 million times and was said to be making $100 thousand per day. In March of 2012, both Draw Something and Omgpop were bought by the game giant Zynga for $180 million.

26. Clear

The minimalist to-do list app sold 350 000 copies in its first nine days when it was launched in February 2012.  Clear is published by UK company Realmac Software.

27. FlightTrack

lets users track the details of any commercial flight.  It provides real time departure information, delays and gate numbers in an attractive and user-friendly design.  The app generated more than $1 million in sales within a year of its launch. It was developed by Ben Kazez who was just 19 years old at the time.  He has since sold his company to Expedia.  The app sells for $4.99 in the app store.

28. MLB At Bat 2012

Major League Baseball’s official app was downloaded more than 3 million times before the end of the first week of the 2012 season.  The app sells for $15. The app gives even the most avid fan everything they need to know about baseball.  It will also live-stream the games but that needs a MLB.tv package which costs an additional $110.00 per year.  The MLB app is the top downloaded sports app ever.

29. Texas Poker

is one of several gambling apps in the list of top grossing iPhone apps.  The app belongs to Kama Games who have enjoyed revenue of over $20 million from this app alone.

30. Tap Zoo Classic & Tap Pet Hotel 

 

These games are just two in a series of “Tap” games from Pocket Gems in San Francisco. The games are free downloads but they generate revenue through a clever system of in-app purchases. Users need to buy coins or gems in the games using real money in order to collect certain animals or complete some tasks. They have over 60 million downloads so far with a revenue that is said to be well over $50 million.

31. Starbucks

  

Something a bit different from the other apps featured in this article. The Starbucks app completed 26 million transactions in 2011 accounting for revenue of $110 million.  Just shows how brick and mortar businesses can also benefit by having an mobile app.

32. iMobsters, World War and Restaurant Story

Owner Storm8 has passed 300 million downloads. The company had 10 of the 100 top grossing apps on iOS in 2011

33. Spotify

iPhone app lets you listen to all of Spotify’s 13 million track library.  Spotify has more than 10 million users and a few million of them are pay a monthly subscription.

34. Dragonvale & Paper Toss

These two games are by Backflip Studios from Boulder, Colorado. The company logged in excess of 100 Million downloads in 2011. Their revenue is estimated at $1 million per month.

35. Doodle Jump 

A long-time fixture in the top earning apps list, Doodle Jump has over 10 million downloads and a price tag of $0.99. The game was developed by Croatian company Lima Sky.

36. Fat Booth

What would you look like if you were fat?  Take a picture of your face with your iPhone and this app will show you what you would look like if you put on some weight.  The app sells for $0.99 and is in the top 25 best-selling paid apps of all time.

37. Scrabble

The classic board game has transferred well to the iPhone and has made the top 25 all-time paid apps.  The app version has many features not available to to the original board game.  For example, with one touch you can with a random opponent who could be on the other side of the world! Scrabble is produced by EA Games along with many other IOS games.

38. Whats App Messenger

changed the face of mobile communication by allowing users to communicate by text without the expense of sms.  The app costs $0.99 but the total number of downloads is not publicly known.  Whats App Messenger sits at number 18 in Apple’s list of all-time top paid apps.

39. Color Splash

quickly and easily turns your photos into black and white leaving your chosen part of the picture in full colour for dramatic effect. The app is by Pocket Pixels and the iPhone version is on for sale in the app store for $0.99.  Color Splash is in the top 25 paid apps of all time.

40. The Moron Test

is one of the most popular games in the app store.  It is a series of seemingly simple puzzles.  Once you have mastered the puzzles watch as your friends fail!

41. The Game of Life

is from games giant Electronic Arts.  They have several of the top paid iPhone games in the app store.  The Game of Life is the electronic version of the old time favourite board game.  The app is number 14 in the app store best-selling paid apps list.

42. Monopoly

Another classic board game which made a successful transition to iPhone app.  Multiple players can play by WiFi, Bluetooth or pass and play.  The Monopoly app is one of the best-selling games of all time and is owned by Electronic Arts.

Hope you enjoyed this post!

Let me know if you have any similar anecdotes to share of app ideas that have made A LOT of money!

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BY : Tapha Ngum | CATEGORY : App Design | Date : 5 July, 2012 | Tags : , , ,

4 Responses to “42 App Ideas That Made A LOT of Money”

  1. Joseph says:

    Thanks for putting this list together. Definitely gives me some motivation to make my own app :)

  2. Nhery says:

    This is really cool stuff. I’m working on my mobile app just for fun but hey i hope I could make millions too when it gets launched lmao

  3. Thats a great list of great apps.

  4. Marc Murphy says:

    I’ve noticed that there are a lot of apps that don’t really understand that they are meant to run on a phone. In other words, they are way too complex. The best apps have graphics are well-suited to the small phone screens and simple point or swipe interfaces.

    I enjoyed Star Wars Angry Birds but even that game was a little unwieldy with all the zooming in and out required. Mostly I left it zoomed out but that made the detailed graphics difficult to appreciate.

    Here are my thoughts on coming up with app ideas: http://www.clickbitz.com/blog/coming-up-with-app-or-business-ideas/

    I don’t mention it in the post but I think C64, Atari 2600, and even old BBS games could be fertile ground for phone games.