Before I start I’d like to make on thing clear – I think ASTRO File Manager is a superb file management application and I have nothing against their developers or the app itself!

If you’ve used an Android phone, you probably know what Astro File Manager is. Briefly, it’s a file management application that lets you organise, edit, and manage the files on your SD Card. Not only that, but it also comes bundled with extra features such as application backups, task manager, SD Card Usage monitor. Overall, it’s a great application all-around.

Up until now this application has been free, with no advertisements (although there was always a beta expiration warning when you first ran the app). Today, however, the developers have launched an update which contains advertisements within the application. In itself, this isn’t a problem - plenty of applications have ads and some users are happy to put up with them. Most applications have two versions: a Free/Lite version which has either limited functionality, advertisements, or expires after a certain period of time, and a full paid version which has no restrictions whatsoever.

The issue here is that they haven’t created a paid version – users have no choice but to use the version with ads. As a result, many disgruntled users of Astro are voicing their concern in the app comments in the Market, simply because they hate the ads and would be very willing to pay the price to have the advertisements removed.

snap20100712_160835 snap20100712_160854 snap20100712_160902

I think this is a key lesson, not just for the developers of Astro but for all other developers, too. As long as your app is valuable, loyal users will support it by purchasing a paid version (and Astro is clearly one of these great apps - it currently ranks #1 in the File Management category). Similarly, users should appreciate that devs spend a lot of time creating applications, testing, fixing, releasing and then improving based on feedback.

If you’re a user of Astro who isn’t happy with the new update, here are a few options you have:

  1. Write a KIND email to the developers of Astro voicing your concern, support, and intention to purchase if an ad-free version is made
  2. Try an alternative file manager: FileGo, EStrongs, Root Explorer etc

It’s unclear whether there’s a paid version in the pipeline, but if there isn’t, such unexpected and forceful ad introduction was definitely the wrong move.

Let’s hope that the developers of Astro respond to this positively and release an ad-free version of Astro at a reasonable price.

  • Andy C

    On their defence, maybe they are not living in one of the lucky few countries that Google have enabled google checkout. Here is Australia we cannot have pay for apps so the ad funded route is the only way to go.

    Please Google developers don't just come from the 4 countries you allow...


      Just the way they went about it in my opinion was wrong. No heads up or advance warning. I'm sure myself as well as others would pay a nominal fee to get rid of the ads and support our devs. Sort of like a donation.

    • Bobby Phoenix

      You can always go the "donate" route like Chomp. The don't have paid apps either, but they allow a no ads version by paypal donation. I did, and love that way.

  • derick

    I won't update until it makes me.

  • Soumya Mukherji

    I have already un-installed the application and looking for other options.

  • Gogol

    Use EStrongs ... Simply the best!~

  • Soumya Mukherji

    @ Gogol Thxs

    Will try it out !

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    I personally tried pretty much every other manager out there and keep coming back to Astro. I am willing to deal with ads but I'd gladly pay for a premium version.

    Multi-select, thumbnails (actually intelligently cached in a way that works), a bluetooth module, a tool that shows what occupies space in a directory, etc, etc, etc.

  • Steve

    I think that Astro is a great app and if this helps them get income I think that that is great.
    I personally do not understand why ads should bother anyone, so long as they do not interfere with the way the program functions.

    • Smith

      But they do!
      1) They cause the app to load slower because it has to connect to the ad server to load them.
      2) They're obtrusive - you're on a mobile device where every pixel on-screen is valuable. Having ads wastes some of the space and means more scrolling and possible inconvenience.
      3) They can easily be clicked by accident. I've done it a few times in the past on other apps. Then I have to wait for the browser to open, close it, and go back to the app which depending on how it was made might not be in exactly the same state it was in when I left it.

      I've paid for pretty much every Android app I've found useful, and if the Astro guys were to create an ad-free version I'd be happy to pay for that.

      Being in a country where Google Checkout is no excuse. They could easily sell it over the Internet using a distribution service like E-Junkie which accepts Paypal and Google Checkout, automatically emails the download link, allows them to release updates, view logs and so on. Astro is so popular as soon as they stick up the webpage it'll get through the Android community really quick - Twitter, Facebook, Forums, Blogs etc.

  • John

    AndroZip File Manager is best and add free. AndroZip FTW!

  • http://www.productiveorganizer.com kyith

    i find that android users are pretty picky. they want it for free, want it good, want everything but to pay for it.

    now they just put one small panel of ads to earn some money. they get screwed

    • Bobby Phoenix

      No we don't want it for free. If it's free that's fine, but if you have a paid version also, we would gladly pay for it. Give the option is what we are saying.

  • Chroma

    0_0 mfw I saw your notifications bar.

    Seriously, I'll let them know about me buying a paid-add free version

  • NKV

    ASTRO File Manager Pro now available for $2.99 without ads.

  • DuDe
  • Pent

    Coincidentally I just today released a free-forever-no-adverts file manager to market called File Magic.

  • Henry

    I'm not entirely against Ads in Free versions of a product. If they put out Ads in paid versions (which I've heard some devs actually do), that's just a bit too much.
    However I don't use Astro, I use Estrongs and I love it.

  • UmmSulaimaan

    I am in love with Estrongs. I just started flashing my rom and love this too, which makes me want to use root explorer, but I guess I have not gotten geeky enough to figure it out. In fact, I have not gotten geeky enough to use Astro either. Guess I am just a girl and like pretty so I stick w/Estrongs cause its prettier than Astro! But I will have to master root explorer for sure!!