The Amazon App Store for Android is Amazon’s take on the app-driven business model pioneered by Apple’s iTunes. Amazon’s app store also focuses on providing apps exclusively for Google’s Android operating system. And while many question whether or not we need yet another Android app provider, the Amazon Appstore for Android introduces some innovations that make it attractive enough to the growing Android phone market.
Google’s philosophy to the app marketplace is totally counter to that initiated by Apple, where apps need to be approved before they can find their way into iTunes and prospective buyers. Google, on the other hand, opted for a more open, market driven approach where they post the application online, then let the users review and rate the apps, and ultimately decide which ones to reject. There are pros and cons to both philosophies, but for Google, this approach has drawn criticism from the perspective of mobile security. The result is an app store that is quite messy.
Enter, Amazon App Store for Android. Drawing from its extensive experience in retailing thousands of products and its ability to effectively organize the process and provide a pleasant user experience, Amazon imposes a selection process that features only the “best” apps for each category, ensuring that buyers get only high quality apps for their Android phones. Already, app developers and marketers are starting to grumble against this selection process, but no one denies that the result of imposing such a process has resulted in a more orderly and secure interface.
Amazon has also come up with some great ideas for its app store. Each day they feature a free app for the day which users can download absolutely free. Although it isn’t yet clear how this can benefit the developers, it sure is a great thing for users. What app developers can benefit from is the ability to market their apps on Amazon.com. Amazon has integrated the App Store into the main website, providing access to its huge market base.
One of the truly useful enhancements the Amazon App Store for Android has is its “test drive” feature. When users click on the Test Drive button, Amazon launches an Android emulator so that the user can preview the app. This feature doesn’t work for all apps, and the emulator renders some apps better than others. But this truly sets the Appstore for Android apart from the rest, including Google’s own Apps Marketplace. Given its obvious practicality, we do expect to see the same feature on the competing app stores.
Compared to other app stores, Amazon’s looks a little lean. But this isn’t necessarily a negative, considering Amazon’s strategy is to present only the best apps for each category. The selection process that supports this objective also has members of the developer community furrowing their brows and clicking their tongues in disapproval. This kind of selectivity, after all, is what turns them off of Apple’s iTune business model. It’s a bottleneck that many think is totally unnecessary and counter-productive. But it’s the kind of action that’s necessary if the Amazon Appstore for Android is to lay claim to having the best apps in the industry.