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Amazon To Launch 'Amazon Appstore For Android'

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the welcome-to-the-party dept.

Cellphones 222

angry tapir writes "Amazon is preparing to open an Android app store to compete with Google's Android Market, and has launched a beta portal where developers can submit applications for Android-based smartphones. The applications will be sold on the Amazon Appstore for Android, which the company expects to launch later this year. At launch, the Appstore will be available for customers in the US, and it will be compatible with Android 1.6 and higher. Users will be able to shop for applications from their PCs, which isn't possible with the existing version of Android Market, or from their smartphones, and pay with their existing Amazon account."

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Re:Fashion caps, sports jerseys, handbags, fashion (0, Offtopic)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772996)

I hope you get Slashdotted...

But why? (1)

punkrockguy318 (808639) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772512)

What's the point? It's easy enough to share/sell an application on Google's Android App store...

Re:But why? (2)

godrik (1287354) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772522)

to get the $.01 per transaction google currently gets.

Re:But why? (2)

xlv (125699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772650)

> to get the $.01 per transaction google currently gets.

more like 30% unfortunately for us Android developers... OK, that's shared with the carrier but still...

Re:But why? (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773000)

> to get the $.01 per transaction google currently gets.

more like 30% unfortunately for us Android developers... OK, that's shared with the carrier but still...

I suspect the payout via Amazon will be worse, just based off the fees for selling one's own products through their other services. I also suspect that if that is the case, it may make or break Amazon's plans (or at least limit their reach).

Re:But why? (3, Interesting)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773310)

But now there's competition. That's the silver lining I see here.

Of course, that doesn't solidify anything- the whole plan could fall apart out of the starting gate, but it could be nice.

Re:But why? (5, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772524)

What's the point? It's easy enough to share/sell an application on Google's Android App store...

Wouldn't you want your app being recommended by Amazon while you're looking for seemingly releated stuff?

Re:But why? (5, Insightful)

punkrockguy318 (808639) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772604)

Yes, and this Users will be able to shop for applications from their PCs, which isn't possible with the existing version of Android Market, or from their smartphones, and pay with their existing Amazon account. Didn't RTFS

Re:But why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773274)

Users will be able to shop for applications from their PCs, which isn't possible with the existing version of Android Market

You obviously don't own an Android handset, either. There are a number of third-party websites and applications that link directly to the market.

http://www.appbrain.com/

Re:But why? (-1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772658)

Because all these players are trying to muscle in on the Android platform. They all think they can out-apple google, and theyre probably wrong. These stupid stores will lead to lock-in and fragmentation. Soon Amazon will cut deals with mobile phone companies to make their store the only exclusive store on your phone. Developers will have to deal with apple-like censorship and gouging.

I'm not seeing what possible advantage this has for the consumer nor am I seeing any huge problems with the google market. Heck, the google market app since its last update is pretty awesome.

These companies should be working with google and the open handset alliance to improve the platform not balkanize it. Soon your android phone will be a proprietary mess of vendor lock in that wont work with anything. Your unrootable Amazon partnered POS will be the final nail in android's coffin. The mobile companies are doing their best to be as little open as possible via shady deals and questionable policies. Dont encourage them.

Re:But why? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772880)

How does this Balkanize the Android platform? Just because there's an Amazon store doesn't mean you wouldn't be able to still use Google's store. What makes you think Amazon would try to make an Amazon-only phone? Nobody would go for that, there's too many competing Android phones already.

Amazon just realizes that Google is making easy money on a weak app store, and since Android is open, they can easily try to compete. Google will have to up their game if they want to stay in the game.

Re:But why? (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773032)

How does this Balkanize the Android platform? Just because there's an Amazon store doesn't mean you wouldn't be able to still use Google's store.

Until some carrier deal locks the app marketplace to Amazon and you cant get into the Google Apps Store? I am not saying it will happen, I am saying it's possible. Kinda like being locked into Bing Search, as noted by LockerGnome (and numerous others).

Re:But why? (1)

Dr Herbert West (1357769) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773212)

Please mod parent up--- I have never seen the term "Balkanize" used in the context of software dev. Awesome, and appropriate.

Re:But why? (4, Insightful)

mlingojones (919531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772982)

Stop talking.

In this comment in a different thread (http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1936596&cid=34765090 [slashdot.org] , relevant portion reproduced below) you complain about the Mac App Store with regard to it being a "monopoly store."

In fact there is a regression here as now we have a monopoly store as opposed to all sorts of vendors fighting it out using all sorts of sales channels. Apple, Inc now dictates prices, margins, selections, censorship, etc.

However, in the comment to which I'm replying (relevant portion reproduced below) you complain about the Amazon App Store with regard to fragmentation and lock-in.

These stupid stores will lead to lock-in and fragmentation.

First, there's no indication that this could lead to lock-in. Amazon has not expressed any interest in pursuing exclusivity deals with carriers/device makers.

Second, what the hell! If there's only one store it's a monopoly, but if there are more than one the platform is fragmented? You can't have it both ways!

Re:But why? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773074)

Soon Amazon will cut deals with mobile phone companies to make their store the only exclusive store on your phone.

If it's the exclusive store for your phone, then by definition it's the only one. How can you have more than one that's exclusive?

Re:But why? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773178)

because it would be exclusive on AT&T (or Verizon, or Sprint) but not exclusive on T-Mobile for instance.

even if it were exclusive to all carriers (impossible) it would still be switched for Google's market on community ROMs. the Android experience means the Google Experience to most Android enthusiasts. Amazon's nazi attitude won't fly with them.

Re:But why? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773322)

because it would be exclusive on AT&T (or Verizon, or Sprint) but not exclusive on T-Mobile for instance.

If it's exclusive for AT&T, and you have an AT&T phone, then it's the only one available. Which was the point I was making, which you have somehow twisted bizarrely. Hacking your phone to support an alternative doesn't change the fact that it's an AT&T exclusive.

Re:But why? (3, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772698)

Sell? Not exactly. Google doesn't make money selling/licensing an OS or selling apps, they make money selling ads. They prefer you get a free (as in ad-supported) app than a paid one. If you (as a developer or user) like that model, cool. But if not, too bad because the google app store only supports paid apps in 32 countries (that number was 14 until just a couple months ago).

Re:But why? (2)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772838)

In some countries it's impossible as they're not on the market yet. Also, Google takes a cut - Amazon could take a smaller cut. And, as has been pointed out, Amazon can market apps. A lot of developers are currently complaining that best-selling apps appear high up the lists and sell even more, whereas newer stuff is way down the list and only get seen by really bored people with a lot of time on their hands.

Re:But why? (1)

Alternate Interior (725192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772984)

Sure, easy enough to **sell** through Google. But if you have a Google Account that doesn't end in @gmail.com, it'll make it much easier to **buy** apps.

Not all Android devices have Market (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773182)

It's easy enough to share/sell an application on Google's Android App store...

Not if you're targeting Wi-Fi tablets and media players that run Android. For example, Archos 43 is supposed to be the Android counterpart to the iPod touch but doesn't have Android Market because it lacks 3G data, which as I understand it would have doubled the price of the device. (Compare the $250 Archos 43 to a $500 unlocked phone.) Is Amazon Appstore expected to work on these?

Re:But why? (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773266)

Amazon? Who needs one from Amazon? How about something created and run with more of a community spirit?

Build a community-based replacement version of Android, replacing ALL non-GPLed code, so the end user and community can evolve what's actually installed. Put in ad and script blocking. Why should Google be tied into everything you do?

Why not have a community moderated store, and have part of the cut it takes hel fund open-source projects? Amazon and other could sell through the store too, but they might have issues being off in a corner with anything having DRM or unfriendly licensing.

1.6 is a hard target (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772520)

since it doesn't specify the V7 processor. I wanted to port my firefox plugin [mozilla.org] to android and I had to go with a newer android build because FF requires the V7 spec processor.

YAY !! MALWARE AVENUE FOR THE MASSES !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772536)

Gawd I luv a parade !!

I for one (0)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772546)

can't wait for an amazon app store.

About damn time. (2)

Zelgadiss (213127) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772556)

Was wondering when Amazon was going to enter the fray.

They already have a music store, selling apps isn't that big of a jump.

Already having peoples credit card numbers and the trust of most will also helps.

Re:About damn time. (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773082)

I see Amazon using the Android apps as a loss leader to sell the rest of their inventory. Buy a book, get the ebook at 50%, and have a free book app for your Android. Buy some computer software/hardware/other gadget, get an Android app at 50% off or free depending on price/volume. How many obsessive compulsives do you know who would buy a home weather station if it could constantly report the conditions to their smartphone? Or cat monitor, or fridge status, etc etc.

Even if all these types of software already exist thru individual purchases or smart purchasing, don't underestimate the selling power of bundling for lazy/unsmart people.

Re:About damn time. (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773208)

They already have a Kindle app for Android; why on earth try to cannibalize its sales? The whole selling point of Kindle is its buy once, read anywhere philosophy (and it really does that quite well). Per-book apps break that.

Re:About damn time. (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773326)

Bigger question then: Is Amazon going to decide what to sell my app for or am I the developer going to set the price?

Re:About damn time. (2)

KuNgFo0 (519426) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773654)

They've stated in the terms that you can suggest a price, but ultimately Amazon decides what to charge for your app. I can't imagine any developer actually being happy with this arrangement.

AppBrain (4, Insightful)

rhook (943951) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772600)

"Users will be able to shop for applications from their PCs, which isn't possible with the existing version of Android Market"

Guess they haven't heard about AppBrain.

http://www.appbrain.com/app/appbrain-app-market/com.appspot.swisscodemonkeys.apps [appbrain.com]

Re:AppBrain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772784)

AppBrain != Amazon
The name Amazon has a lot more behind it than some random people called AppBrain.
If they moderate it well and add reviews or other stuff like that, I don't see why not. The potential for a walled garden within the uncontrolled market, where things can be more under control like the Apple store is.

Re:AppBrain (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772952)

The Android market doesn't have this functionality by itself. It's really irritating. Nice to have a third party site that helps browsing apps, but that doesn't mean Googles app store doesn't have room for improvement.

Fragmentation (0, Troll)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772606)

So in addition to the hardware fragmentation, there will be store fragmentation too. Sounds great.

Re:Fragmentation (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772652)

So in addition to the hardware fragmentation, there will be store fragmentation too. Sounds great.

Some call it "fragmentation" and some call it "competition"

Unless you want everyone to carry exactly the same hardware, there is bound to be "fragmentation". Why don't they call it "fragmentation" when Chrysler parts don't fit on my Mazda?

You would think that at some point, app programmers, who from what I can tell are the only ones complaining about "fragmentation" would be happy to see lots of different platforms because it means more opportunities.

Maybe it would be easier if there were only one hardware platform for all cell phones and one hardware platform for all computers and one hardware platform for all cars. One operating system. One phone carrier. Then, life would be easy for the few hundred programmers and designers that would have jobs.

Re:Fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772726)

It's not competition when Amazon pays the carriers tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to bundle their appstore with the carrier's phones (possibly to the exclusion of the official Android market). That's actually the opposite of competition. Amazon's market would be doomed to failure if the enduser had the choice between it and Android's.

Re:Fragmentation (3, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772832)

Amazon's market would be doomed to failure if the enduser had the choice between it and Android's.

If you ever actually saw the Android Market app in practice, you know that competing with it is trivial, because it is utter crap. It's the single most crash-prone piece of software on my Nexus One, is is dog slow even when it's working, the UI is inconvenient, and you can only make purchases on the device itself, and not from PC (where it's far more convenient to browse stuff, read reviews etc).

Re:Fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772972)

I've been using the Android market since 2009 and the G1 but thanks for the assumption. No crashes for me, on any version of Android yet (1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, 2.2.1) on my G1 or my Droid, on any OTA or community ROM. Yes, the Market has FCed on me before (like all apps have) but that's a problem with Android's multitasking model & memory limitations that has largely been solved with 2.2.

It's really funny (and naive) how you think Amazon (of all companies) will be able to more competently write a market app than Google. On the backend you may be right but that's not what you're talking about.

If you wanted to read reviews on the PC there have always been unofficial market browsers on the 'net. Many of them even support QR codes for automatic opening on the phone -- and if they don't, there's always Chrome-to-phone (or similar tools).

Re:Fragmentation (1)

mlingojones (919531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773040)

It's not competition when Amazon pays the carriers tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to bundle their appstore with the carrier's phones (possibly to the exclusion of the official Android market). That's actually the opposite of competition. Amazon's market would be doomed to failure if the enduser had the choice between it and Android's.

Has there been any indication at all that that will happen?

Re:Fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773114)

You mean like Amazon currently does now with their preinstalled MP3 store app? Amazon's appstore won't be able to gain any traction at all unless they negotiate bundling/exclusivity deals. It doesn't have enough incentives for the regular user to pursue installing it -- Android's works well enough for most people.

What jobs? Without competition there no incentive (0, Flamebait)

crovira (10242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772762)

for the carriers to do bugger all except charge.

Need I remind you of what the state of the market was before Apple introduced the iPhone?

There were NO APPS!

Re:What jobs? Without competition there no incenti (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772964)

Not true.
I have been using Apps first on my Palm and then Palm phone for many many years. We just called them Programs.

Re:What jobs? Without competition there no incenti (3, Informative)

alexhard (778254) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773012)

There were NO APPS!

I guess you've never heard of Symbian, then.

You have a point, (0)

crovira (10242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773090)

but the store didn't have a glass window at the front.

And it didn't have a street (web) address as visible as "going to the app store to pick up a GPS and an SQL app, for under $x.xx."

Now it does.

Symbian isn't big in the States (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773206)

I guess you've never heard of Symbian, then.

Most cell phone customers in the United States have likewise never heard of Symbian. In this market, "smartphone" means BlackBerry, iPhone, or Android. Nokia has far less market share here than in the European Union market, and "Symbian" is confused with a sex toy [wikipedia.org] .

Re:What jobs? Without competition there no incenti (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773324)

"Need I remind you of what the state of the market was before Apple introduced the iPhone?

Considering the iPhone was introduced (January 2007) more than a year and a half before Android (October 2008), the state of the Android Market was obviously "nonexistent," so it's not surprising there were "NO APPS!"

Your point was...that competition from the iPhone invigorated stagnant Android application development???

Or, maybe, you're referring to the overall marketplace for PDA-type device apps, and conveniently ignoring Palm, RIM, and WinMo, even Newton, for which there were plenty of apps, especially when one considers the lower available bandwidth and higher data transport costs at the time. Even if you restrict it to smartphones, Palm, RIM and WinMo were out with available apps when there were NO APPS for the iPhone (i.e. before it was released).

Re:What jobs? Without competition there no incenti (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773632)

are you nuts? there were millions of apps before istore was even thought of. only those apps were called software, or programs.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772766)

The problems are the cost to the developers to list their apps in all of these locations, and that the rules the various marketplaces enforce upon you as a seller can be very confusing.

I currently sell products thru amazon and several other online channels. I pay amazon.com 15% (+$1.35 per item) of all sales that go thru their channels, and $39 a month for the privilege of listing my items. And another $39 a month to list on amazon.ca and another $39 a month to list on amazon.co.uk and another $39 a month to list on amazon.fr and another $39 a month to list on amazon.de Yes, its still profitable for us or we wouldn't do it, but they certainly take a big bite.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773084)

Wow...I would never have imagined that you'd have to pay them a monthly fee to list your item. Especially when they're taking 15% of your sales already. Wow.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773402)

Why don't they call it "fragmentation" when Chrysler parts don't fit on my Mazda?

Cars aren't upgraded the way smartphones are.

Maybe it would be easier if there were only one hardware platform for all cell phones and one hardware platform for all computers and one hardware platform for all cars. One operating system. One phone carrier. Then, life would be easy for the few hundred programmers and designers that would have jobs.

Yeah, the handful of console developers out there have it real rough.

Re:Fragmentation (2)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772672)

Yes, it's much better to have a single organization that can decide for me what apps I can decide to buy and sell. One that can block apps for any reason or no reason at all. All jail his Jobness

Re:Fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772778)

Yeah, except Google/OHA doesn't really block or filter much of anything, including the oh-so-offensive pornography which Amazon apparently finds impermissible. Enjoy having your apps removed from the Amazon store because they compete with Amazon.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772872)

And then we can put it on Google instead. Exactly my point- with multiple stores, you'll find one that will accept it.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773130)

"Yes, it's much better to have a single organization that can decide for me what apps I can decide to buy and sell. One that can block apps for any reason or no reason at all."

And yet over 70,000,000 iPhones have been sold since 2007 [wikipedia.org] all at $200+ (compared to free Android phones with contract [google.com] ) and there have been thousands of iPhone developers that have become millionaires due to app sales [google.com] while even Angry Birds struggles with Android fragmentation with over a dozen Android devices Angry Birds will NOT work on. [rovio.com]

I appreciate the spunky Android upstart trying to compete with the big dog iOS but Android has some huge obstacles to overcome if even major players like Angry Birds is frustrated with Android and EA offers 60+ iOS apps but only a dozen Android games. [androlib.com]

Re:Fragmentation (3, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773446)

I write phone apps for a living. We'd love to exist on iPhone- but apple won't let us because we replace some of their functionality with better versions. They don't like that.

As for 70+M phones- Android is pretty damn close (hell, my company's app is on 20M+) its marketshare is growing, it sells more per month than iOS already, and it's branching into tablets and music players. Add that on to the fact you don't have the risk of Apple deciding to pull the rug out from under you and you'd be a fool to bet on iphone over android. You may decide to target both, but if you pick one Android is the easy decision.

Re:Fragmentation (4, Insightful)

dudpixel (1429789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772702)

in the android world, we call it "choice".

Re:Fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772818)

Except this won't be foisted upon you by choice. It will be preinstalled on your Android phone, irremovable unless you root it (if you can). And just wait for a carrier like Verizon to sign an exlusivity agreement and additionally remove access to the Android market.

There have always been additional markets for Android if you desired to use them. This one is the one that won't be opt-in.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773416)

in the android world, we call it "choice".

Until Apple releases a version of iOS that doesn't work on older phones, then the Android World calls it fragmentation.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773690)

yup. because that is NOT choice. jobs has chosen for you.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

Yaos (804128) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772768)

I hate competition as well.

Re:Fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772998)

Wow! Freedom of more choices does not seem beneficial to you? Hey, Steve Job is waiting for his next blow job, don't get late.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773246)

So in addition to the hardware fragmentation, there will be store fragmentation too. Sounds great.

Tell me.. Have you ever bought a loaf of bread?

Re:Fragmentation (1)

GumphMaster (772693) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773516)

Tell me.. Have you ever bought a loaf of bread?

Have you ever tried to run an Android App on your loaf of bread: it won't go. Thereby proving that variety is bad mmmkay ;)

Wouldn't it be great... (1)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772612)

Wouldn't it be great if Amazon could open a competing Apple app store, and then people could have free choice to buy wherever they please, just like in the real world?

That'd be anti-capitalist, though.

Re:Wouldn't it be great... (1)

mlingojones (919531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772924)

Wouldn't it be great if Amazon could open a competing Apple app store, and then people could have free choice to buy wherever they please, just like in the real world?

Yes, that would be awesome.

On a related note, it's interesting how when it comes to Apple, people argue that only having one store is anti-competitive, over-controlling and locked down. On Android, when someone actually tries to make another store, people complain about lockdown (???) and fragmentation.

There's just no pleasing some people.

Re:Wouldn't it be great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773448)

few people care about the lock-in to Apple's market. many more people care about Apple's abuse of their system. it's actually healthy to remove some choice, because it prevents a platform from splintering into a million pieces and nullifying all past progress it pioneered. basically people are worried Android will become Windows (the embodiment of too much flexibility); and Amazon's reputation is one more totalitarian than even Apple has, making them unsuitable as a default marketplace. don't even expect Amazon to budge to developer criticism like Apple. really I can't think of a worse company to champion an Android market.

great. more fragmentation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772624)

it's also basically the iPhone app store, on Android. gee that's what we've always wanted.

To submit applications, developers first need an Amazon account. Amazon recommends creating a new account for the Appstore Developer Program. Joining the program will cost US$99 a year, compared to Google's one-time $25 registration fee for Android Market. However, Amazon will waive the fee during the first year of the program.

Amazon reserves the right to set retail prices for applications, although developers may indicate a "list price" which must be less than or equal to the list price for all current and previous versions of the app, whether on Amazon Appstore or elsewhere. Amazon will pay developers 70 percent of the purchase price of the application or 20 percent of the list price, whichever is greater.

Unlike Google, Amazon will have an approval process for applications submitted to its store. The company will be testing the apps to verify that they work as outlined in the product description, and that they don't impair the functionality of the smartphone or put customer data at risk once installed, Amazon said. Offensive content, including pornography, is prohibited. What Amazon deems offensive "is probably about what you would expect," it says. Amazon will also stop applications that infringe user's privacy.

Re:great. more fragmentation (1)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772914)

Unlike Google, Amazon will have an approval process for applications submitted to its store. The company will be testing the apps to verify that they work as outlined in the product description, and that they don't impair the functionality of the smartphone or put customer data at risk once installed, Amazon said. Offensive content, including pornography, is prohibited. What Amazon deems offensive "is probably about what you would expect," it says. Amazon will also stop applications that infringe user's privacy.

But unless they get some kind of deal with Google, you will have to turn off the option to 'only allow applications from the market place'.

And if they don't get some kind of deal with Google so their apps are accepted without having to do that, then I'm actually not happy about it encouraging so many security-NOT-concious people to do that.

Did they also announce (5, Insightful)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772626)

when the first apps will be remotely removed from phones?

Re:Did they also announce (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773426)

when the first apps will be remotely removed from phones?

Actually this is a step away from this happening. Unless Google and Amazon agree to remotely remove all apps at the exact same time, this means the app in question wouldn't necessarily be gone forever. This is an advantage you Android lot have over Apple's App Store.

Its the 'compete' bit I dont like (1)

wesleyjconnor (1955870) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772682)

Another site offering largely the same apps as the main android site thereby having the exact same 'Most Popular' and 'Top Paid', do.not.want. What about an Android/Amazon partnership, where they both offer different things tailored to their own markets, with no dupes.

Re:Its the 'compete' bit I dont like (3, Insightful)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772744)

...because, lord knows, I hate the fact that I can buy the same thing at a different store for possibly a different amount of money. Life is so much easier when there's only one store and that's that.

Just in case you're missing it, this is sarcasm.

I don't see the problem, myself. If I prefer the Google store, I'll use the Google store. If I prefer the Amazon store, I'll use the Amazon store. You might also find features on the Amazon store (like buying an application as a gift for someone else) that don't exist in the Google store.

Competition is a good thing.

Re:Its the 'compete' bit I dont like (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773226)

Just in case you're missing it, this is sarcasm.

Is it? Or is it the above statement sarcasm, making a statement about posts that redundantly point out their obvious sarcasm? After all, if you point it out, doesn't that remove its sarcastic properties?

Re:Its the 'compete' bit I dont like (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772836)

You don't put much thought into stuff, do you?

Re:Its the 'compete' bit I dont like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772896)

What about an Android/Amazon partnership, where they both offer different things tailored to their own markets, with no dupes.

In a lot of countries this would be considered "collusion" and would be illegal.

More interesting, mimics Apple app store (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772780)

The more interesting thing about this store is the terms for developers - almost the same as Apple's store.

$99/Year (I think that's being waved for now)
You can choose to have apps have a DRM wrapper (of Amazons design)
Amazon gets 30% of sales

I think potentially this could become THE app store for Android, because it will be probably about as carefully maintained as Apple's App store. No way is Amazon going to let through some things like blatant copyright infringement apps that get into the Android store today. As a result the apps to be found there should be of a generally higher level of quality.

Re:More interesting, mimics Apple app store (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772884)

that also probably means no self-rooting apps, and no apps that can possibly aid in rooting/piracy. so no more ROM managers or the like, Root Explorer or z4root. oh and look for the distribution license crackdown (no GPL, etc) as well as probably a prohibition on free apps at a later date.

man it's a downer being cynical sometimes.

Re:More interesting, mimics Apple app store (1)

Xiroth (917768) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772898)

Precisely. The advantage that Android retains over developing for iOS devices, though, is that if Amazon shoot down your application on whatever grounds (such as what happens with Apple), you can always be sure that you'll be able to find another app store to publish through.

What I think that we'll see is 'tiered' app stores - Amazon and perhaps a couple of other companies will run the top tiered app stores where everything is carefully checked and things like pornography is not allowed; then Google and a couple of other companies will run mid-tier app stores which allow pornography and run a relatively small amount of malware-checking; and then there'll be bottom-tier app stores which sell whatever to whoever, including completely illegal software. At least this means that developers won't be completely left out in the cold, although obviously the higher-tier store, the better for most things.

Re:More interesting, mimics Apple app store (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773008)

The advantage that Android retains over developing for iOS devices, though, is that if Amazon shoot down your application on whatever grounds (such as what happens with Apple), you can always be sure that you'll be able to find another app store to publish through.

The iPhone has Cydia, so I see them on equal grounds - except that the iPhone has a much more widely used backchannel store. If you can't get it from Apple you know where else to look.

Re:More interesting, mimics Apple app store (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772940)

I think potentially this could become THE app store for Android, because it will be probably about as carefully maintained as Apple's App store. No way is Amazon going to let through some things like blatant copyright infringement apps that get into the Android store today.

You may make it sound like not having such apps available is a good thing for the end users. I'd say let the end user decide on that.

On my phone I have a "whack-a-mole" type game. I think it's quite funny. PETA/SPCA members may disagree though.

Now if you were talking about a vetting process to prevent malware from entering the store... an app should do what it says it does, no more no less. That's what it should be vetted on, and that's all it should be vetted on. Let the buyer decide whether they want such apps.

Re:More interesting, mimics Apple app store (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773028)

You may make it sound like not having such apps available is a good thing for the end users. I'd say let the end user decide on that.

It's not a matter of choice, it's a matter of noise. When you have a ton of apps like that in an app store it makes it hard to find "real" applications.

There's always choice in that you can get apps from all over. What matters more is that users finally will ALSO have the choice to try shopping without as much noise in selection. That choice is more important than any other, for normal people using a phone.

Now if you were talking about a vetting process to prevent malware from entering the store... an app should do what it says it does, no more no less. That's what it should be vetted on, and that's all it should be vetted on.

I'm sure there's some aspect of that but it can never be fully examined, but a low-pass filter is helpful to eliminate outright malware. And again, you can go elsewhere for that. Just let real users have a choice of going somewhere they are less likely to find it.

Re:More interesting, mimics Apple app store (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773138)

It's not a matter of choice, it's a matter of noise. When you have a ton of apps like that in an app store it makes it hard to find "real" applications.

Interesting you complain about the volume in the Android store. And you think that Apple's store is better managed, and easier to find apps.

Let's look at the numbers. Apple claims to have "over 300,000" apps in their store now, while Android is reported to have "over 200,000" apps a few days ago. So there are about 1 1/2 times more apps in the Apple store than in the Android store. There is no reason to believe that the average quality in either store is higher, so there are more "noise" apps floating around the Apple store. Unless the store is organised much better, it will be harder to find what you want.

The above numbers, plus the fact that you're talking about hundreds of thousands of apps for each, tells me there must be a lot of noise.

For me the best way to find apps is not to start in the app store, but to search with google for it, e.g. search for "satnav app for android". Then you get reviews, recommendations, etc from various sources. See what other people use, what they think of it, which one works best in various use scenarios. And then go to the store and pull down the app(s).

Re:More interesting, mimics Apple app store (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773264)

Interesting you complain about the volume in the Android store. And you think that Apple's store is better managed, and easier to find apps.

Yes, interesting because it is true. The Android store has many, many apps that are just blatant copyright infringement low wuality things, with much gaming of keywords (not that the App Store is immune to that, but it's at a lower level).

There is no reason to believe that the average quality in either store is higher,

WTF? There's "no reason" to believe that a store that lets people put in anything without even checking to see if it runs without crashing, has exactly the same quality level as a store where it takes a week to get through submission????????!

No reason?? Seriously?

Thats's not even considering the actual reality of what you find in both stores.

For me the best way to find apps is not to start in the app store, but to search with google for it, e.g. search for "satnav app for android"

Right, because you have a terrible app store. In fact I'd warrant that's exactly why Google has shown no interest in fixing it, because it drives you to google.

For me I often find the best way to start with looking for an iPhone app is from the App Store itself, possibly supplementing user reviews with a google search - but the App Store is fundamentally a better way to find an app to fill a need (and of course recommendations from friends about useful apps).

I realize you like Android and that's fine, there's a place for both systems. But please let's not kid anyone about the quality and usability of the current Android app store just as I would not be going off about how amazing and perfect notifications are on an iPhone.

Re:More interesting, mimics Apple app store (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773350)

I don't know and don't care much about the vetting process: the true vetting is done by users. Sort apps by user rating and the good stuff comes up easy enough. And then the user reviews linked to the app on the store are very useful in general.

Also I don't really like the idea of having just one store, which is having a fairly high barrier to entry, and no alternative options. No option to wade through the noise, which can be entertaining at times.

That said I have to say I don't have hands-on experience with Apple's store. I hear many good stories about it, I know the iPhone is considered great by many users (I've played a bit with it and it appears to work very well indeed), but it's too expensive to me.

I like to have a smartphone, it has great functions, and is a great tech toy besides being a phone.

Android and iOS are the only real choices for smartphone OSes now. I don't care much about mobile e-mail so Blackberry is also out. Reading reviews of Windows Phone 7 leaves me cold - it's laudable that it's "much better than Windows Mobile 6" but the reviews that I've seen never bother to compare with either Android or iPhone. That's not promising to say the least.

Android comes on dozens of up-to-date handsets, iOS on just a few (iPhone 4 with a few subtypes). An iPhone costs almost twice as much as what I paid for my phone, and is simply out of my budget.

A disadvantage of the many different handsets in the Android world, combined with differences in screen size, OS version and other specs, is that some apps don't work on certain handsets. It would take really a lot of vetting to prevent that, I don't think Amazon can/will go to those lengths. Also I have heard that Apple mainly checks for "objectionable content" (and still lets the "baby shaker" through - no idea how Google deals with such apps), not for whether the app runs stable.

Apple checks a lot more than you think (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773430)

Also I have heard that Apple mainly checks for "objectionable content" (and still lets the "baby shaker" through - no idea how Google deals with such apps), not for whether the app runs stable.

That is not at all true, I've been involved with developing over a dozen iOS applications at this point. ANY crash means you do not get accepted, period, until you fix the crash. And we're not just talking crash on launch, we've seen multiple cases where they find a crash deep in the app somewhere after they have been using it for a while. I've seen apple testers posting stuff from an application and otherwise exercising components that registered on a server the application worked with.

As I said I don't think it's possible to do a deep security review but Apple is very carefully making sure an app will run without crashing over a reasonable period of use.

The other thing I've seen get apps sent back for fixing, is UI issues - for instance some part of the screen goes blank, or (in one app I worked on) the screen became a jumble of UI elements when rotated. That also will get you sent back.

Apple also carefully reads through your description of what the application will do, and makes sure it does AT LEAST that. One guy I know had an app rejected because the description said it used the image of a penny somewhere and it was really some other coin! Once he corrected the text of the description to be accurate he re-submitted and was accepted.

Basically Apple is doing a ton of checking over apps to at least make sure they are stable and are what users will expect when they buy. That's the best anyone can do really, I hope the Amazon store is the same way for Android apps because they really need someone to help developers clean up the apps a bit.

Re:More interesting, mimics Apple app store (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773272)

For me the best way to find apps is not to start in the app store, but to search with google for it, e.g. search for "satnav app for android". Then you get reviews, recommendations, etc from various sources

Have you tried searching Google for product review lately? Most of the results are tainted with SEO bullshit and price-comparison site whore-mongering. Google is fast becoming useless for searching anything that isn't a Wikipedia entry.

For fuck's sake, Google routinely delivers about.com results right up top as if they are useful for anything

Re:More interesting, mimics Apple app store (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773140)

The more interesting thing about this store is the terms for developers - almost the same as Apple's store.

$99/Year (I think that's being waved for now)
You can choose to have apps have a DRM wrapper (of Amazons design)
Amazon gets 30% of sales

I think potentially this could become THE app store for Android, because it will be probably about as carefully maintained as Apple's App store. No way is Amazon going to let through some things like blatant copyright infringement apps that get into the Android store today. As a result the apps to be found there should be of a generally higher level of quality.

That's right. Nothing dirty or offensive to the United States Government or Big Banking.

Re:More interesting, mimics Apple app store (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773190)

While I'm sure the average quality of apps will be higher, Amazon is unlikely to allow anything that threatens their sales or breaks US law. The Android Market, OTOH, lacks these restrictions so the best apps should be there. I.e. why use a Blockbuster app that charges for movies when you can use a free app that just torrents everything.

To beat Amazon, all Google has to do is to make finding these apps easy. Perhaps through some kind of improvement to their search engine in the Market. Now, I wonder how difficult it would be for them to find a programmer who can work on search engines...

Joking aside, there's also the fact that people like porn and other materials that Amazon thinks would project their company in a bad light. Only one Market will have such things. Now, what are the chances Average Joe will use two Market apps rather than get into the habit of just using one?

Multiple brick and mortar stores too (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773238)

Now, what are the chances Average Joe will use two Market apps rather than get into the habit of just using one?

What are the chances Average Joe will shop at both Sears and JCPenney rather than get into the habit of just using one? Or Walmart and Kmart/Target/Meijer/whatever else? Or Best Buy and... oh wait, its close competitor went out of business and sold its name to an e-tailer. Here's another one: Newegg and Monoprice. A variety of stores complement one another.

Re:Multiple brick and mortar stores too (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773340)

Stores and websites, sure. But most people are resistant to learning multiple systems on electronic devices. Few people use multiple web browsers, search engines, or word processors. It's human nature to pick a favorite and stick with it.

Stores vs. systems (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773436)

Stores and websites, sure. But most people are resistant to learning multiple systems on electronic devices.

What's the line between "stores" and "systems"? For example, buying on Amazon, buying on eBay, and buying from an independent e-tailer all have different checkout procedures.

Re:Stores vs. systems (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773522)

Stores make it easy to checkout, and the procedure is basically the same. Even so, people fall into routines where they buy from the same merchants out of habit (e.g. where you buy groceries). They'll switch if necessary (selection, emotion, convenience, or price), but without incentive they usually form a routine.

Plus, people understand the physical world better than Android "Markets". They're more likely to learn to use it well, rather than learn just enough to get by.

Not much... (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773548)

What's the line between "stores" and "systems"? For example, buying on Amazon, buying on eBay, and buying from an independent e-tailer all have different checkout procedures.

That's true, and why people fall into using one of them far more often than others, only turning to other stores when they can't find what they want at the usual place.

In the real world, most people end up shopping for food at one place.

In the same way once an app store is decent most people would stick with that and not really look around. That's why most people do not care Apple has one official app store, because it works pretty well. The few that do need some things not found there have Cydia, and that works pretty well also.

Re:More interesting, mimics Apple app store (3, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773308)

My big question is what is the payout rules? Do they deposit the money in my checking account automatically? Or do you have to have a minimum sales amount before they'll cut a check?

I write mobile apps as a hobby. I make enough from the apps that it pays for itself, but not enough to quit the day job. I've been releasing mobile apps for both Android and iOS for a little over a year now.
I spent the start of this week actually looking at the sales data to get ready for taxes this year and I've come to the conclusion that Android users don't buy apps. iOS users do.

I do the classic "Lite" version of my apps that are free with ads and then offer a "Full" version for either $0.99 or $1.99 with no ads and usually has a few extra features that didn't make the cut into the lite version.

The lite version of my flagship app has about 15k iOS downloads and 22k from Google Marketplace.

I've sold a little over 900 of the "full" versions of the app for iOS but only about 350 for Droid phones @ $1.99 in both marketplaces.

The problem is, I spend probably 2.5x the time on the Android platform vs. iOS. working out issues between devices/OS versions. Well if you add having to submit to multiple app stores, each with their own submission rules and payout rules, and Android becomes even less and less attractive for people like me.

Re:More interesting, mimics Apple app store (1)

MattskEE (925706) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773386)

My big question is what is the payout rules? Do they deposit the money in my checking account automatically? Or do you have to have a minimum sales amount before they'll cut a check?

Having sold some textbooks through Amazon Marketplace they automatically transfer your funds every 14 days, and you can also have your funds transferred as fast as once per day. Here is how Amazon describes it [amazon.com] .

This app marketplace might be run differently, but this is probably a good guideline for how they will disburse funds.

Are they going to make it US based only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772942)

I tried to use their mp3 store while I lived in New Zealand, and it was not at all obvious that the reason that buying mp3s were failing was because you were in a country it didn't support. Their was (and still is, since the nexus one is still sold there, and the mp3 store is tied to it) a fair few angry people on the forums. I doubt they will get very far outside of the US (and maybe the UK) with it.

They may of course not care.

Honeycomb cant get here fast enough (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773338)

The multiple app store shenanigans are going to be the hardest thing for Android to overcome if google wants to take a serious bite out of apple. The iPads success isn't hardware as much as it is standardization. Of course google non-support for tablets is the reason...but google enabled the situation to get out of hand. Hopefully honeycomb will fix that.

I'm a developer, and I won't support this (4, Informative)

Jimmy_B (129296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773420)

I'm an Android app developer, and under the terms Amazon's currently offering, there's no way in hell I'll put my app there. There are three very serious problems with it. First, Amazon controls the pricing, not the developer - they can use your app as a loss leader. Second, they require that you give them your app and each update 14 days before you publish it anywhere else (such as on the Android Market) for their review process. That means no emergency fixes, and delayed releases, even if you're mainly publishing on the Android Market and want to put it on Amazon too. And third, it's competing with Android Market, which is preinstalled everywhere, with no users. It would be one thing if they offered more than Android Market's 70% take, but there're simply no advantages to it whatsoever.

Maybe they'll change their terms, and I'll reconsider. But the terms they're offering now are simply a bad deal for developers, and I doubt many will bite.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773526)

as if microsoft wasn't dead in the water with mobile stuff already...

all while i'm rooting my brand new, off contract Tmobile HTC G2's. sweet. stick to what you once knew how to buy M$, and enjoy the ease of profit.

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