The rivalry between Google and Amazon over Android consumers is about to get a bit more brutal, as the latter online retailer is gearing up to offer full-blown in-app purchasing (IAP) soon for apps listed in its Appstore.
Currently in-app purchasing is reportedly still in beta form on Amazon's Appstore, meaning consumers may find numerous apps that actually let them purchase goods from within the app. Comixology is a good example, allowing readers to purchase graphic novels and comics from within the app. The purchase is charged to the reader's credit card stored on their Amazon account, or applied to a registered gift card.
But apparently on a whole, not every app offers this convenient feature. Developers interested in integrating micro transactions must be invited into the program after filling out a request form. However sources claim that Amazon is gearing up to open the program to all developers, possibly sometime this month.
There's no question Amazon is kicking Google where it hurts. The online retailer not only offers a new free Android app every day, but also provides music that can be stored and streamed from the cloud. The company also offers movies and TV shows to both rent and own, whereas Android Market consumers can only rent video.
To make the competition even more fierce, Amazon's Kindle Fire is currently the best-selling Android tablet on the market, and one of a handful of gadgets that officially accepts Amazon's Instant Video stream. Plus users can set up a One-Click payment option and shop for anything on Amazon's storefront right from the tablet. Let's also not forget the Amazon Kindle app which sells books, magazines and virtual newspapers.
To some degree, Google has the upper hand by offering native applications for Android. The Market typically gets new releases first, so consumers with both Android Market and Amazon's Appstore installed can see the tug-of-war taking place on their device regarding app versions -- one store may say the app is currently up to date while the other claims an update is available. Google has also supported in-app purchases for quite some time.
To be honest, in-app purchasing within Amazon's Android apps was assumed to be a given. But based on reports, it will soon be another feature Amazon will have under its belt. We can't wait to see what will happen when Google launches its rumored 7-inch ICS tablet later this year.