Internet retailer Amazon.com launched its Appstore for Android devices today in a move that could whittle away some of the advantages Apple has enjoyed with its hugely successful AppStore and overcome the disadvantages of Google’s Android Marketplace.
Amazon’s new store can be accessed at www.amazon.com/appstore and comes with a novel feature called “Test Drive” that lets users test apps on a simulated Android phone before buying them.
Currently, there are about 3,800 apps on the Amazon Appstore, a number that’s likely to grow as Android developers flock to the store.
While developers can suggest the retail price for their apps, Amazon will have the last word on the price. The split between developers and Amazon is said to be 70-30, with the higher number in favor of the app publisher.
The Amazon Appstore will include personalized recommendations, customer reviews, 1-Click payment options and video content that shows apps in action.
The much anticipated Angry Birds Rio for Android debuted on the Amazon Appstore today.
Screened, Tested Apps
Amazon said it would screen all app submissions from developers for known viruses and malware and test them to check that it actually does what it claims to do, and test whether the app affects the stability of the other functions of the Android phone.
Amazon’s tests are supposed to include:
- Installation: To ensure that the application installs and opens, upgrades can be installed and the application can be uninstalled by following the phone’s regular uninstall method.
- Functionality: To ensure that the application doesn’t crash and the description of the application matches the application’s description.
- Usability: To ensure that graphics, videos, animation, and text within the app are clear and readable to the user
- Technical: To ensure that the application doesn’t interfere with, or stop working when, a user receives calls or text messages while the application is running.
A big disadvantage of the Google Android Marketplace is that the apps are not tested before they are offered to users.
A few weeks back, 58 malware apps were discovered on the Android Marketplace. They had been downloaded by as many as 200,000 users to their Android phones before the rogue apps were killed.
Like the Apple AppStore, the Amazon Appstore is a combination of free and priced applications.
Users can purchase the Android apps from the PC or via their Android phones or tablets (after first installing the Amazon Appstore for Android app to your phone).
Amazon intends to offer a free paid app every day in a move to drive traffic to the site and gain users quickly.
Apple Advantage Diminished
While Apple offers applications only for its devices like iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and the Mac via the AppStore, the store has been seen as a convenient way to get applications in various genres that have been tested to run well on the devices. iPhone, iPad and iPod fans have downloaded some 10 billion applications from the Apple store.
Apple offers some 350,000 applications at its AppStore.
With its large existing customer base, the Amazon Appstore could provide tough competition to both Apple AppStore and Android Marketplace.
Meanwhile, Apple has sued Amazon for using the AppStore name, charging it with trademark infringement and unfair competition.