The IceCondor android app is split into two halves. The GeoRSS reader, and continuous location tracking. The GeoRSS reader is the hook. Its the no-cost component that is free-standing. It has real value and could be an app by itself, but a great app contributes back to its ecosystem. it needs to produce data as well as consume it. Producing location data is what the continuous tracking half does. I see this as similar to craigslist - people come for the classified ads, but a smaller portion of the users pay for the service that subsidies everyone else.
The continuous location tracking part of the app uses a web service - icecondor.com. That adds a lot of complexity and resources that have to be maintained. The phone could hold all the track data and maybe it should, but there is not easy way for phones to communicate with each other (this deserves more investigation). Icecondor.com serves as the mediator between icecondor users. The storage of one's "track" is modeled after flickr. The first 12 hours of tracking are free and storage beyond that (probably along with other services) are $x/year. The server side payment processing is not in place and I'm glad I did not work on that part yet because its not needed yet.
The lite version came out Sunday and got a download an hour for a couple days, now its at a download every two hours. It has two limitations, 3 feeds in the GeoRSS feed reader, and a feed update frequency as well as a location publish frequency of every 1 hour at most frequent. The full version has an unlimited number of RSS feeds and updates as frequently as every 3 minutes as well as publishing the user's location as frequently as every 3 minutes.
I've been using the lite version this week and I can honestly say that I want position updates more frequent than once per hour. Which is a good feeling because other users might feel that compulsion as well. I would love to reach the 35 users who have it installed currently as well as the 100 or so who tried it and uninstalled it but with a free app, there is no info on individual users who download it.