CAD and free cookies, could cado go freemium?

In a galaxy far far away, we released a blog post talking about blocks and their inclusion in cado…. And as a parting thought a question was put to you about your feelings towards to in-app purchasing and the freemium model. This was because of the then news headline story about little Joey and his penchant for buying magical cookies (no not those kind of cookies) in his favourite app game, while unbeknownst to his mother, running up an astronomical bill on her itunes account. The names and details of this story have been changed to protect the identity of Joey and his cookie stash.



I often think what the Cookie Monster would have made of in-app purchases.

This question raised a lot of interest and I thought it worth re-visiting and will take this opportunity to garner your opinion on how we should price our most prized cado.

The first issue how to make cado available, the usual pricing strategy now seems to be: freemium + in-app purchases, and the fully paid all singing all dancing version. The appeal of this model is obvious, let the maximum number of people discover and get a feel for just how good cado is through the semi-skimmed free version whilst suffering advertising and limited functionality. Then allow bundles of functions to be purchased to tailor the application to suit your needs and then finally for the full fat professional user, the paid version.

The alternative is to offer a trial or time restricted version of the full application, and tha… oh, hang on….. Cupertino does not allow trial versions on the App Store. Nuts. There are some pretty cool ideas on how this could be implemented (read more) but this is not the case so lets move on.

Now I think we know that there is definitely an increasing popularity towards the free app. Analytics show us this and the trend is only going one way (read more). Check this out.

app pricing

Are there any other alternatives out there to get our free fix? I don’t think so, and I don’t think that users would feel ripped off for having to make in-app purchases for additional functions…. As the would have not paid anything to begin with….  The key to provide sufficient usability within the free version to give a true and fair reflection of the app and its abilities.

Ok, so if we have agreed that the above freemium option is a reasonable way forward, the next question is the pricing itself. Now I am not talking about clever cash cow, loss leading or 2 by 2 business matrices … I am just talking about very simply; do you think apps inherently command a lower price than the equivalent software available on the traditional desktop or laptop platforms. Lets eschew the screaming penguins and chickens app…. Lets focus on the productivity apps – we would love to get your thoughts on this topic as its something that I don’t think many developers have a good handle on. We know through price testing on other apps, that apps seem to have a very low price elasticity but that includes the ‘use once and throw away’ apps. I am of the opinion productivity apps that provide real utility to the professional user (who is the one paying for the app), and traditional pricing know-how tells us we can price our product based on the utility provided to the user in the absence of any real comparative competition. CAD (read real) on the iPad and in the app store is an emergent market, hence we are breaking new ground here.

Give us your thoughts and hopefully we will get this right for you guys!


  1. Matt Curry says: (August 28, 2013)

    A free app that has all features except for save is appealing to me.

    I want to know that the App can do what I expect.

    If the app is good I beleive $20 for solid CAD with DWF. $40 if it reads and writes directly to DWG is reasonable.

    Of course CAD costs much more than that on my PC, but typically employers pay that and we are left to pay for our own apps.

    Looking forward to trying CADO there really isn’t a CAD app for the IPad that I find useful.

  2. IANDIMAN says: (August 29, 2013)

    Try before you buy is always the best way ,,, who want to pay £20,50,or even a £100 on a unknown app only to find its not what you want or looking for. I’m at this moment looking for a CAD App for IPad and there many on the AppStore but I’m not parting with any cash till I try it, not even a £1/$\€ so now I’m looking to get one for my apple mac desktop instead of Risking it for a biscuit on my iPad ,,,,, so hurry up with your app I have and idea that I want to put on iPad glass today ….. Smile ,,,,, please can I have a demo….

  3. Vim says: (August 29, 2013)

    Hi Matt, yes try before you buy is definitely the order of the day. We’re trying to figure out the correct balance between paid and free. The other consideration is who is using the free version and who will use the paid? Home users versus professional users… interesting point you raise about employers paying for CAD stations. This is changing with BYOD (see our previous blog on the same topic) and iPad rollout within businesses.

  4. Vim says: (August 29, 2013)

    IANDIMAN – we are working hard to get cado to the level we want it to be. There definitely will be the opportunity for you to try before you buy, we are that confident in the quality and functionality of cado.

  5. Mark says: (October 2, 2013)

    For the right app I’m willing to make an investment on the iPad. For example, I love OmniGraffle on the Mac and paid $50 to have it on the iPad. The key to iPad apps is to exchange the file with a Mac / PC app. I don’t use my iPad for daily work but when I’m traveling or away from my desk it’s great to be able to use the tool on the iPad. A great 2D CAD package the I could use on the go and then import to my desktop 3D CAD tool would be awesome. Look forward to seeing the results of all your good work.

  6. Vim says: (October 5, 2013)

    Thanks Mark – thats exactly what we think! Stay tuned, we are working hard on this and we think its going to be awesome!

  7. Tom says: (December 13, 2013)

    Price –
    free but you cannot save nor print.
    About £30-£50 if it delivers everything in a way that I can seamless move between other packages and cado; it should be able to access dxf dwg from cloud services such as dropbox.
    £15-£30 if it is not seamless integration and needs to be ported on iTunes.

    If you can get it to give out a basic cam file then I would pay more again.

  8. Pedro Fardilha says: (February 6, 2014)

    Hi guys.
    I agree that a mixed freemium / full paid versions of the app is probably the way to go.
    That way anyone can do a proper test drive of the app. Home users will probably just buy some basic functions while prosumers will might prefer to buy the full package all at once as long as that initial test is truly positive. ( I know I would)
    Even if you don’t end up selling the full package to all your costumers at least you are not shoving away those who need a decent (but somewhat more basic) cad app and you still can have some profit from that home market.
    Besides, every “basic” user is a potential full app user latter on down the road.

  9. Vim says: (February 7, 2014)

    Thanks Pedro – users will definitely be able to try before they buy. We just need to get that balance right.

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