How much does it cost to publish an app?

I got this question on the blog today (edited for grammar):

I’ve been searching online trying to find out how many apps I can make at a time. I have a few app ideas, some which do not exist at all. I see with Apple they take $99 for submitting to iTunes. Is this “per app”, or just a one-off fee that I can make numerous apps from?

Also, from what i can find, Android apps can cost thousands. Is that for the making of the app, or making it live? I take it this price is definitely per-app.

For beginning or prospective developers, here’s a quick summary of what it costs to release an app for iOS or Android.

Cost: $99 yearly fee.
Apps: Unlimited (need to be approved by Apple)

Cost: $25 one-time registration fee
Apps: Unlimited (near-instant approval by Google)

Basically both Apple and Google charge a single registration fee, to publish an unlimited number of apps. Neither app store will charge you on a “per app” basis. Once you’re registered as a developer, you can upload whatever you want for free.

Of course, there’s still some cost involved in writing the app - whether that’s time or money. If you’re a programmer familiar with either Java or Objective C, it shouldn’t take too long to write an app. The “thousands” of dollars only come into the equation if you have to hire an external developer to do the work for you. No matter which platform you choose, this would cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

It might be worth clarifying that that $25 is for the Android Market. Because there is no restriction (AFAIK) on how you distribute your applications you could well avoid this fee (do Amazon charge for registration? As I’m not US based I haven’t yet played around with them).

It’s also worth noting the other important point of the $99 Apple Store fee. Without paying that you cannot deploy and test to a device, so if you are thinking of playing around and want to see something working on a proper device but are not yet ready to commit to distribution you can do this with Android without paying a penny.

It’s free for the first year and then you have to pay, but don’t remember how much was that (no more than 100$). Still, the biggest and most important market belongs to Google and it’s a must when you’re developing under Android.