Amazon has launched a developer portal for an upcoming Amazon marketplace created specifically for the Android platform.
The news of its existence isn't anything new, however the launch of the developer portion has now caused quite a stir in the Android community, and for good reason-- Amazon's offering could pose as a serious alternative to Google's own Android Market. In fact, reports have deemed the new Android-based marketplace as the next Apple App Store, providing a more controlled approach about what gets published and what's rejected than Google's own offering.
Based on details supplied by Aaron Rubenson, category leader for Amazon Mobile Services, and Ameesh Paleja, general manager for the Engineering Division of Mobile Service, Amazon's marketplace will be integrated into Amazon.com and offer users recommendations. In addition to showcasing apps that are similar to each other, Amazon plans to connect physical products to apps, suggesting specific apps when consumers shop for products-- a consumer shopping for first-person shooter on the PC or console may be suggested to check out shooters available on the Android platform like NOVA and Desert Storm: Modern Combat.
Additionally, consumers shopping for items on Amazon.com can actually purchase apps and have them sent to their phones. Various app developers already use this process, choosing to sell their games and tools outside the Android Market. Consumers simply purchase the app and submit their mobile phone numbers. The automated system generates an SMS message containing a direct link to the download. The drawback to this method is that users have no way of knowing when an update is available unless the app determines its version when launched. Apps contained in Google's Android Market are either updated automatically (Froyo) or flagged for a manual update.
Amazon will reportedly move away from Apple and Google's approach to pricing of allowing developers to set their own prices. Instead, Amazon will take full control, allowing the developer to submit a "List Price." Amazon will then use a variety of marketing factors to determine the actual price it will offer for the app, and then fork over 70-percent of the proceeds of each sale to the developer. If Amazon reduces the price to nearly nothing or free, then Amazon will pay out 20-percent of the original "List Price."
The news of Amazon's Android-based Appstore could be an important landmark for device manufacturers. Many current tablet makers using Google's Android OS are (1) not officially sanctioned by Google and therefore don't have access to Google's Android Market and apps or (2) have chosen not to use Google's portfolio based on budget or other reasons. Amazon's market would be open to all Android platforms, offering new or retooled apps that otherwise may not appear on the official Google Android Market.
At this point it's unknown when exactly Amazon's Appstore for Android will officially launch, however it's slated to open its doors sometime this year.