I'm in the process of upgrading a 5 year old desktop application, and I'm looking at different ways to generate revenue from existing customers as well as new customers.
A new feature that will be added to the software will be a portable option, whereby the user can install onto a thumb drive and run from any PC - without reference to the Windows registry or local files.
Would it be legitimate to charge extra for this option? To have two versions: Product A and Product A Portable, with one priced at $40, and the other at $65 or thereabouts?
Or have users come to expect software these days to be fully portable without paying extra?
This is indeed a handy feature and good enough from business point of view to generate revenue as well. IMO, if your desktop application has potential but sales are lower then you need not to sell this feature as a separate add-on. But if the sales are justifiable then you can surely ask your customers to pay for this portable option.
I'd say the answer depends on how you operate right now.
If you are licensing per machine, say, then portable use may be high added value. That would justify a significant premium.
If you license per user, requiring installation, and maybe a policy of so many activations, there's some benefit... but if it's really just a more convenient (for the user) way of doing something you already intend or they already expect, it's harder to create an added value. In this latter case, it might be better to take the opportunity to increase the base price for all users of the latest version, with portability one of the new and improved features happening at the same time.