Amazon Launching Android App Store: Smartphone Developers Wanted
When it comes to smartphone app stores, there are really two approaches: There’s the style of the Google Android Market, which is a free and unmoderated anything-goes kind of frontier for developers. And then there’s the Apple iTunes App Store, with its intensely polarizing walled garden. But Google Android smartphones may unexpectedly getting the best of both worlds from Amazon, which is inviting developers into a moderated and thoroughly-walled Amazon Appstore.
First things first: this is a bold move on Amazon’s part. Needless to say, a major industry player like Amazon competing with Google on its own smartphone platform (compatible with Google Android 1.6 and up) like this isn’t going to go unnoticed.
But the Amazon Appstore has the potential to solve a lot of headaches for the Android end-user. The biggest criticism of the Android Market as it exists today is that yes, it avoids Apple’s often-draconian review process – but there’s no quality control with Android apps. There’s no guarantee that an Android app that works on one device will also work on the next.
In theory, the Amazon Appstore will have that kind of quality control, and the company affirmed in a TechCrunch report that it’s going to try every app to ensure compatibility. Pornographic or illegal applications will still be banned, but it sounds like Amazon will try to be a little more liberal than Apple with the review process.
Things get a little complicated when it comes to pricing. The Amazon Appstore Developer FAQ says that ISVs and developers can get 70% of their list price – essentially an MSRP — but less when Amazon’s algorithms determine in real-time if there should be a price break to increase sales. But developers are guaranteed at least 20% of their asking price, even if Amazon decides to give the software away for free.
On paper, it sounds like it has a lot of promise: theoretically, any loss in per-download revenue by those automated price breaks should be made up for in sales, and users are more likely to give a paid application a shot if they know it’ll run on their device.
And for the enterprise world, TalkinCloud has a hunch some of the Android tablets shown off at CES this week will have an option to ship sans the Android Market and with the Amazon Appstore — businesses are more likely to support a tablet that won’t let them run illegal software, after all.
If you sign up right now, Amazon is waiving the $99 fee to become an Appstore developer for the first year. We know app stores are big business, and if you sign up, let us know your thoughts.