Amazon launched their curated Android Appstore today, and there are several interesting bits.
1. It’s not a free-for-all like the Android Market. It was only a matter of time before someone took advantage of the openness of the Android Market. So now Android users can benefit from a curated (and presumably safe) store just like iOS users do.
2. You can test drive any app from your browser before purchasing and sending to your device. This feature doesn’t seem to be working yet, but it’s bound to be a hit. No more wasting space on your device with the free preview version of an app.
3. As with the App Store and iTunes, you likely have an account. Amazon probably has the largest online collection of accounts tied to credit cards. That’s a huge deal. You can’t underestimate the power of the Amazon brand.
4. The store will offer a free app of the day each day, and today’s is Angry Birds Rio, an exclusive to the Amazon Appstore and a tie-in to the upcoming movie Rio. A free app every day will definitely bring users to the Appstore.
5. The Amazon Appstore delivers and installs apps over-the-air, one of Android’s major bonuses over iOS. Users will definitely appreciate the ease of browsing and test driving in large format and delivering apps to their device without iTunes and a cable.
6. Apps now become part of Amazon’s recommendation engine, which is a highly useful piece of the Amazon experience.
1. Amazon sets the prices, not the developer. This could be a good thing though. From the TechCrunch post:
The biggest departure from the mobile app stores we’ve grown accustomed to involves pricing. Unlike Apple’s App Store and Android Market, where developers can set their price to whatever they’d like, Amazon retains full control over how it wants to price your application. The setup is a bit confusing: upon submitting your application, you can set a ‘List Price’, which is the price you’d normally sell it at. Amazon will use a variety of market factors to determine what price it wants to use, and you get a 70% cut of the proceeds of each sale (which is the industry standard). In the event that Amazon steeply discounts your application, or offers it for free, you’re guaranteed to get 20% of the List Price.
This means if an app is offered as the free app of the day, the developer would still see 20% for each download. Could be big money to be made here, since that freebie app will undoubtably get lots of downloads.
2. The Amazon brand is enormous for developers. They can now leverage features like Amazon’s recommendation engine, which will probably lead to some gaming, plus millions of real accounts with credit cards and a dead-simple way to browse and deliver apps.
3. It’s too soon to tell if Amazon’s review process will be as controversial as Apple’s, but unlike the Apple bottleneck, developers will have another, established channel, the Android Market, for their work if they hit a wall with Amazon. No more stories of lost revenue waiting on Apple to approve an app.
4. The test drive feature of Amazon’s store uses an emulated Android instance hosted on EC2. I’m speculating here, but it seems possible that an EC2 Android offering might follow. This would be an interesting way to develop Android apps and would open up development to more people.
I’m curious about this because the Android emulator is notoriously slow, even on big iron. So, maybe Amazon has found a way to make it perform over the wire.