Android Tablet News:
Amazon seems ready to get into the app-store business with plans to launch a new Android app store.
The company has reportedly sent welcome kits to some developers to entice them to start signing on to the store, according to reports in The Wall Street Journal and Engadget.
With its plans to offer an Android app store, Amazon may be hoping to take on the Google Market, currently the app store of choice on most Android devices. Exploding sales of Android smartphones and the introduction of new Android-based tablets hungry for apps may have caught Amazon’s attention and had it clamoring for a piece of the action.
Amazon has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Smartphones running Android OS were more popular than iPhones among new U.S. buyers in August, according to a report from the Nielsen Company.
Currently, Google’s Android market has about 90,000 apps, compared to Apple’s App Store with 250,000 apps.
Upstart, independent challengers such as AndSpot and SlideMe are slready trying to create their own Android app stores. It’s all kosher because, unlike Apple, Google allows for multiple app stores to exist on the Android operating system. These independent app stores hope to lure users with the promise of better search and user interface, greater availability internationally and increased revenue.
Amazon may be betting on something similar, and it certainly has the clout and the brand to be more popular than the upstarts. But winning over developers may not be easy.
“From the developer perspective, its trial-and-error to see how effective they really are. A lot of these app stores — whether from Verizon now or Amazon in the future — are yet to prove themselves,” says Paul Chen, director of business development at Papaya Mobile, an Android games developer.
Still Chen says his company is open and willing to embrace any distribution channel that could increase the visibility of its apps.
Though Amazon has been extremely tight-lipped, here’s everything we know so far — based on the leaks — about Amazon’s plans:
Look and Feel
Amazon’s app store is likely to be a lot like Apple’s: carefully curated and targeted at consumers who are tired of the chaos in the Google Android Market. Spam, poor quality of apps, and the inability to easily find apps are major problems in the Android Market. But what Amazon’s app store will be called, look like, or the kind of features it will have are all still under wraps.
For consumers,Â it will be exciting if Amazon can bring features such as recommendations, wish lists and deals to its app store.
Cost, Control and Availability
Developers will reportedly have to pay $100 to sign up — just as they do with the Apple app store.
Unlike the current Google Android Market, where any developers can publish apps as long as it follows the company’s guidelines, Amazon will decide what will get into its store, according to a report in TechCrunch.
Apps can either be free or paid. Paid apps will have to be competitively priced. That means developers can’t charge more for the same app on the Amazon app store than in other markets.
Amazon’s app store will likely be available only in the United States, though it won’t be long before Amazon extends it to other countries. After all, Amazon has all the necessary payment systems in place to make this happen, even as Google Checkout remains limited.
Support and Distribution
This is where things get confusing. It is not clear which Android devices Amazon’s app store will support or how it will be distributed. Google’s Android Market comes preloaded on all Android smartphones. But Amazon will have to ink deals with device makers to get its app store in there.
We’ll also have to see if Amazon’s Android app store and Google Market will coexist on a device.Â If they do so, it could cause consumer confusion and give rise to app store fragmentation.
Also, with the availability of tablets and hardware boxes running Google TV, which is based on the Android platform, it will be interesting to see whether Amazon limits its app store to just smartphones or if it is willing to go where Google fears to tread.
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