According to the AppBrain statistics, the current number of mobile applications in Google Play is rapidly heading to 3 million, and this ascending trend isn’t likely to change soon. Sounds promising from a developer’s point of view, right?

Well, it’s not that simple. The list of top developers is hardly changing much over the past years, especially in the competitive categories. Obviously, only the luckiest [and the craziest] would dare compete with giants, like Google or Facebook, let alone win over some share of their loyal audience.

This leaves fewer niches worth fighting for.

Leaving gaming apps aside, most developers’ expectations generally fall for tools/utilities and, certainly, personalization apps.

First of all, the variety of options to try out seems huge. Secondly, open-source libs around the Web potentially minimize the hard work. Last but not least, if there’s no Google, who can prevent their app from getting to the top?

Well, that’s when the illusion of attainable success plays a trick on developers’ minds, and here’s why.

Myth 1. The variety of options to try out is huge

The top-10 Personalization apps currently include device launchers, themes/wallpapers and ready-to-use ringtones for users’ smartphones. That’s it.

The top-10 apps in Tools are mostly device cleaners, battery savers and antiviruses, accordingly.

In the end, the “huge variety of options” is limited to 3 potentially popular app types for each category. Sounds discouraging, ha? Wait, it gets worse.

Over the past year, the popularity of wallpaper/theme/ringtone apps, let alone the device cleaners/CPU optimizers has been continuously decreasing for one obvious reason – they’re proving useless.

Why would you download a separate theme/wallpaper app, if you can easily select a stunning wallpaper or screensaver from your Gallery photos?

Who needs a ringtone catalogue, if cutting any song on device takes seconds in an easy to use ringtone maker app, like Ringtone Maker Wiz or else?

Okay, now to device cleaners and battery savers… Have you ever wondered how much CPU or battery such an app consumes itself? Just try and track it once, you’ll be shocked!

Truth be told, you’ll be lucky to end up with the same amount of spared CPU and battery life with and without a memory cleaner on your phone or tablet!

Myth 2. Open-source libs minimize hard work

Just look beyond the mentioned top-10 Tools and Personalization apps – you’ll find tens of thousands of app analogues.

The functional core of such apps is usually based upon one of the popular open-source libs, and their development, obviously, didn’t take much time or effort.

However, who would install a poorly-performing, ugly-designed app analogue, instead of a stylish highly-reliable app by a trustworthy developer, displayed on top of search results?

I wouldn’t, would you?

Myth 3. No Google, no competition

Top-10 Personalization apps neither include Google, nor Facebook applications. Does it mean the competition in this niche gets less severe? Ugh, no, just look at the table below:

Aspect Personalization: # of apps
Total # of apps 153 507
Free apps 121 270 (79% of total in category)
Mid-/high-quality apps 128 945 (84% of total in category)
Apps with 50 000+ downloads 13 723 (9% of total in category)

(Source: AppBrain)

As we see, the number of potential competitors only among the free Personalization apps exceeds 120 000!

Moreover, even though most of the rivals are mid- or high-quality apps, their download rate [read: developer’s revenue] is сritically low!

What does this mean? Even if your newly-added Personalization app is awesome, chances are, you still won’t be able to monetize it on Google Play. It’s sad, but true.