This week, Amazon threw open the doors of its new application store to developers. The Amazon Appstore will compete with Google's Android Market to offer apps for the Android operating system. Amazon's store, which is scheduled to open to consumers sometime in 2011, will differ from the Google and Apple stores in at least one important respect: Amazon will set the prices for all of its apps, rather than allowing developers to do it. Here's an early look at how tech commentators are taking the news.
Better Quality Control Than Google, Less Censorship Than Apple "Google doesn't vet apps until users report problems with them," writes Kat Hannaford at Gizmodo, "whereas Amazon is going to take a leaf from Apple's book and spend about a week analyzing each app before giving it the thumb's up. This should help weed out buggy, junky apps, but for anyone concerned about Amazon taking on Apple's puritanical morals--don't worry. Supposedly they're only concerned with porny and illegal apps, but everything else should be a-ok."
Recommendations Will Drive Traffic "Amazon will promote mobile applications in the main store, based on user purchases and behaviour," writes Bill Ray at The Register. In other words, people shopping for books and DVDs will get app recommendations--"so this could bring in customers who've never considered buying an application for their phone before." Ray points out that "as Android users become increasingly non-technical, there's an increasing customer base who've never sought out an application ... Amazon will be hoping to attract the majority who don't yet know that they really want a copy of Angry Birds."
This Town IS Big Enough for the Two of Us! "Make no mistake," writes Jason Kincaid at TechCrunch, "this isn't going to replace Google's Android Market by any means. Google's store will have better international support for some time (Amazon is US-only at launch) and it will still be shipping on plenty of phones by default. But given how many Android devices are going to be out there in the near future (they're activating over 300,000 a day), there's certainly going to be enough customers to keep more than one store in business."
Hmm, They're Not Using the 'A' Word "Perhaps significantly, the Amazon Appstore omits the word 'Android' from its name," points out Stephen Shankland at CNET. "According to the FAQ, applications must work on Android 1.6 or later, but it's not hard to imagine Amazon expanding to offer apps for other devices if manufacturers permit it."
This Is the Last Thing Android Needs Matt Rosoff at Business Insider predicts this will only make life more difficult for Android users. "Having separate app stores for the same platform contributes to the biggest problem facing Android: fragmentation into a bunch of slightly different platforms, each offering slightly different experiences and supporting different apps. That's not a smooth user experience ... When users buy an Android phone, what will they get? That depends. How will they get new apps? That also depends. Will those apps work with every Android phone? Probably not."