Amazon Appstore for Android
|Initial release||March 22, 2011|
|Stable release||15 / 26 November 2014|
|Development status||Active / 333,000+ apps|
|Type||Software update, digital distribution|
The Amazon Appstore for Android is an app store for the Android operating system operated by Amazon.com. It was opened on March 22, 2011 and was made available in nearly 200 countries. Developers are paid 70% of the list price of the app or in-app purchase.
On September 28, 2011, Amazon launched the Kindle Fire tablet. The tablet, designed for media consumption in the Amazon ecosystem, relies solely on the Amazon Appstore for its marketplace, eschewing Google's Android Market. Alongside the tablet was a new design for the Amazon Appstore designed to better integrate with the tablet's user interface.
The Amazon Appstore includes the "Free App of the Day" feature. Every day, an application, frequently a game, is offered for free. On the launch day, this game was Angry Birds Rio (Ad-Free), in itself a promotional game. On The European launch day the free app was Angry Birds (Ad-Free). The Free App of the Day feature makes an exception to Amazon's payments, instead giving the developer none of the list price during the featured day.
The store's "Test Drive" feature allowed users to try an application in their web browser by launching a virtual copy of Android in the Amazon EC2 cloud for half an hour. The Test Drive service was decommissioned in 2015, Amazon saying that the service had been in decline, partly due to many apps not supporting the feature, and the increasing prevalence of the “free-to-play” business model making it obsolete.
In May 2013, Amazon introduced Amazon Coins as a form of payment on the store.
Number of applications
When the Appstore for Android launched in March 2011 it had about 3,800 apps. In June 2014, the app store had seen significant growth since June 2013, tripling the app selection from 80,000 to 240,000. As of June 2015, the app store has nearly 334,000 apps.
Shortly after the Amazon Appstore launch, the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) published an open letter expressing concerns that were primarily aimed at Amazon's distribution terms. The main concerns about the conditions were that Appstore terms force developers to permanently lower their AppStore prices if ever they do promotions on other stores, and that Amazon could choose to lower the price of an application while deciding to reduce the developer's share without having to ask permission. Following this address, Amazon clarified the Appstore developer agreement, but this did not assuage the IGDA's concerns, which declared that "Amazon’s terms represent a threat to game developers".
In July 2011, the Swedish developer Bithack pulled its Apparatus application from the Appstore and published an open letter explaining that the store was a "disaster" for indie developers. The main problems related to the very slow review process, the absence of any means to filter unsupported devices, and that Amazon changed the price of the application without consulting the developer, leading to the IGDA reiterating its warnings concerning Amazon's policy once again.
The Amazon Appstore does have an advantage over other app stores. Its free app of the day appeals to bargain-conscious users. Its integration with any Android device means Fire tablets users, that normally only use this app store, that move to future Amazon smartphones and tablets may use their Fire tablet apps in their future Android devices.
Accusation of trademark infringement by Apple
Apple filed a lawsuit against Amazon for using a similar name to the Apple App Store. Amazon claimed that the term was too generic to be trademarked, and asked the judge to dismiss the suit. Apple responded to Amazon's attempted dismissal of the lawsuit by claiming that Amazon was tarnishing the trademark by using the name. A federal judge denied Apple's request for a preliminary injunction, disagreeing with Amazon's claim that the term is generic, and citing that Apple had not established "a likelihood of confusion" with Amazon's services to obtain an injunction. Apple changed its complaint after Amazon started advertising the Kindle Fire, now saying that Amazon is trying to confuse customers further by dropping the “for Android” part of “Amazon Appstore for Android.” In the amended complaint, Apple wrote that “Amazon’s use is also likely to lessen the goodwill associated with Apple’s App Store service and Apple products designed to utilize Apple’s App Store service by associating Apple’s App Store service with the inferior qualities of Amazon’s service.”
In January 2013, Apple's claims were rejected by a US District judge, who argued that the company presented no evidence that Amazon had "[attempted] to mimic Apple’s site or advertising", or communicated that its service "possesses the characteristics and qualities that the public has come to expect from the Apple APP STORE and/or Apple products." In July 2013, Apple dropped the case.
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- Perez, Sarah. "Amazon Shuts Down TestDrive." TechCrunch. TechCrunch, 17 Apr. 2015. Web. 20 July 2015. Amazon Shuts Down TestDrive
- Amazon Appstore triples selection to 240,000 apps.
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We are not aware of any other retailer having a formal policy of paying a supplier just 20% of the supplier’s minimum list price without the supplier’s permission.(...)If you ever conduct even a temporary price promotion in another market, you must permanently lower your list price in Amazon’s market
- "IGDA warns Android game developers about Amazon's Appstore terms". guardian.co.uk. 2011-04-14. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
- "IGDA Outlines 'Significant Concerns' Over Amazon Appstore Terms". Gamasutra. 2011-04-14. Archived from the original on 10 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
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- "Tir de barrage contre Amazon". Canard PC. 2011-04-14. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
- "Apparatus will be pulled from Amazon Appstore". bithack.se. 2011-07-04. Archived from the original on 5 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-15.
If you are a small indie development team, or possibly even alone, don't bother with Amazon Appstore. Create a great app, publish it on Android Market, and provide great customer support. You will never succeed on Amazon Appstore without a big wallet, or at least an established reputation so that Amazon puts value behind their promises.
- "Game developer pulls app from Amazon Appstore over problems". The Inquirer. 2011-07-05. Retrieved 2011-07-15.
The final problem was that Amazon changed the price without consulting the developer. The price was cut to $0.99, only a quarter of its original price, which, while perhaps good for players, is not good for the developer.
- "IGDA still unhappy with Amazon Appstore policies". Joystiq. 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2011-07-15.
- Google Play vs. Amazon Appstore: Which Is Better?. July 2013
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- "No app for that: Apple’s false ad suit over Amazon Appstore thrown out". Ars Technica. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- Bostic, Kevin (2013-07-09). "Apple drops 'App Store' lawsuit against Amazon, says no need to pursue case". Appleinsider.com. Retrieved 2014-01-02.