The App Store. For the longest time, this phrase was associated with one place, and one place only; Apple. Either the patent for this phrase was overlooked, or simply denied, as Amazon.com has recently announced their own “App Store” vending Android OS apps. Likewise, it looks like Google just got a serious competitor.
TechCrunch first started circulating the news about an impending App Store for Amazon back in September of last year, and it looks to be spot on. January saw an open call for developer submissions, and three months later, Amazon is pulling the trigger. Again, while the initial news called a number of dead-on items, Amazon has managed to remain tight lipped about a few features that are clear USPs.
Amazon’s new App Store allows consumers to “Test Drive” just about any Android application directly from within their browser. Wow. Without getting into the highly technical wizardry that makes this happen; When a user clicks on “Test Drive,” Amazon triggers an Android emulator to launch. The emulator runs on flash, but allows for direct control of the app under consideration. Naturally, as an emulator, apps that take advantage of location and/or gyroscopes/accelerometer will not function properly, but just about every other feature remains true to the physical “real-world” counterpart.
To make sure that there’s a steady stream of traffic running through the Amazon App Store, the company has also instituted a “Free App of the Day,” program. Obviously, this has tremendous pull, as free apps will be selected by Amazon staffers, and provide an incentive for eager Android owners to return regularly to check in on their “Freebie.” Likewise, this freebie includes an upside for the developer(s). Amazon’s shake down works like so: If your app is selected to be the Free App of the Day, you’ll still be eligible for a 20% cut of the previously set list price. In other words, your decently selling app at $10, moving 1500 copies/per suddenly drops to free, you move 150,000+ copies in one day, and you still get a 20% cut. Bonus!
And now for the good news. Amazon’s launch of the App Store for Android now puts them in the driver’s seat of a car they know all too well: distribution. This marketplace marks the first serious competition to Google’s own official Android Marketplace. Taking cues from previous user experiences at the Google store, and adding a dash of Apple magic, Amazon has enacted a stringent app submission process, whereby they’ll be screening every app submission. This flies in the face of Google’s own process whereby screening standards can be a bit “relaxed.”
The one downside that Amazon is currently facing is combating the built in Android App market currently supplied on many Android devices. Instead of one clicking through to an app store, users would have to visit Amazon.com and then access the store. But then again, how long will it really take for an amazonappstore app to appear?
Amazon.com is a massive and long standing member on the digital front. They already sell their own hardware via the kindle, and now an Android apps store? Anyone want to lay their money down on how long it will take for Amazon to drop the Kindle OS, and start installing Android? My guess – Christmas 2011.