Good news for Android users as competition is hotting up with Amazon`s announcement & opening of their online app store.
The story was first broken by accident after a journalist discovered the app store by entering the correct URL (http://www.amazon.com/appstore) before Amazon intended to launch, days later the full site was revealed & opened to the public, though only the US customers can download at present before the service is rolled out world-wide.
This is the third app marketplace, following Google`s own Market and AppBrain. Publicity for the launch has been widespread and positive, with the limited time offer of Angry Birds: Rio for free bringing a lot of attention to the Amazon app store for this coup in winning such a sought after title.
The new app store brings several advantages over other versions for users, the most obvious of which is lower prices for a number of apps, hinting at the possibility of a price war similar to that, that Amazon engaged in with the sale of e-books to try to dominate the market. Additional markets should also help increase the number of copies of apps that sell, increasing revenues for app authors & so encouraging the creation of a greater range of apps & pushing the professionalism & complexity of the top apps as more money is in the market to compete for.
Being on Amazon is a big deal for Android because of the huge audience of the website combined with its recommendation engine. If someone had bought a phone, tablet or a specific accessory then they will have apps recommended to them among other items, greatly increasing the exposure of potential customers to paid apps who may not have known enough to look for them before. The second advantage is also a big one & new to Android – Amazon vet all the apps before allowing them on to their store. This should avoid a repeat of the Droidcam Malware problem of a month ago, making the app store a safer environment for users who are increasingly using their phones for sensitive information transfer such as online payments. It also helps to protect app authors from having other people crack their apps and upload them as their own work, taking income from the creator.
A twist to Amazon`s Appstore launch is that Apple have filed a lawsuit against Amazon saying that Apple had registered “App Store” for their own marketplace. The story becomes more complicated as Apple have not yet been granted a trademark on the term, the application is still pending after filing in 2008 yet Apple state it has been granted to them already by the US Patent and Trademark Office. This is why both Google and Microsoft now do not use the term “Appstore” or “App store” with both using “marketplace” instead. Microsoft have already filed proceedings of their own against Apple trying to prevent them taking out a trademark on the term on the basis that the words are far too common and have a long history of earlier use. People have talked of “killer-apps” since the early days of Silicon Valley but Apple argue it`s a new use for the term as it implies small, portable and uncomplicated applications suitable for mobile & Android phone use.