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Amazon launches Android Appstore as Apple sues

Mar 23, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views opened its Appstore for Android, providing a service not offered by Google's Android Market: allowing users to sample apps before they pay for them. The Appstore launches with exclusive free downloads of “Angry Birds Rio,” and offers additional benefits such as its recommendation engine, but it already faces a lawsuit from Apple over its name. Mar. 22 opened its Amazon Appstore for Android, offering free and paid applications based on the open source operating system. Customers will be able to buy applications in the Appstore in two ways: either through their computer's web browser, or directly from their Android phones or tablets through an Amazon Appstore app.

Several features differentiate the long-awaited Amazon Appstore from Google's competing Android Market. Most notably, users can test applications they're interested in on a simulated Android phone. Customers access the app simulation via a "Test Drive" feature accessible via desktop browsers, letting them decide if they like the application before bothering to download it.

Amazon's Appstore for Android
(Click to enlarge)

One of the chief knocks against Android Market is that it doesn't make it easy for users to find applications to download. Despite the presence of topic menus and a search bar, Android Market lacks other features to help users slog their way through 150,000 applications. By contrast, Test Drive will help consumers sift through the 3,800 applications in the Amazon Appstore.

"Test Drive lets customers truly experience an app before they commit to buying," stated Paul Ryder, vice president of electronics for "It is a unique, new way to shop for apps."

Amazon calls up the Angry Birds is also offering another perk to bring users into the Appstore. The company partnered with Rovio Mobile to launch "Angry Birds Rio for Android" exclusively in its Appstore, allowing customers to download it for free for a limited time. Also exclusively, the company will launch ad-free versions of Angry Birds and Angry Birds Seasons. Moreover, the Appstore will offer customers a paid application for free every day.

Developers suggest a price for paid applications, but Amazon can sell the applications for less to undercut applications on the Android Market. Amazon will pay developers the greater of either the standard 70 percent of the sale price, or 20 percent of the price the developer suggests the application sells for. should be able to draw consumers in to the Appstore by parlaying its personalized recommendation engine. The engine suggests applications users might be interested in based on their previous purchases and browsing activity on the e-commerce web-site. Customer reviews and one-click payment options will also be potential hooks.

While the Amazon Appstore for Android will compete with the Android Market, it's also a stepping stone to compete with Apple's App Store, which offers some 350,000 applications for iPhone and iPad users. Apple didn't take kindly to the "Appstore" nomenclature and on Mar.18 filed suit against for trademark infringement, claiming ownership of the App Store name.

"We've asked Amazon not to copy the App Store name because it will confuse and mislead customers," Apple told The New York Times.

Google Books deal shot down by judge

The Appstore for Android represents yet another incursion onto one anothers' turf on the part of major technology players. Amazon already offers a Kindle for Android app, and is rumored to be working on an Android-based color version of its Kindle e-reader. Meanwhile, Google has pushed into Amazon's turf with efforts such as the Google eBookstore.

Google's older Google Books platform for searching and organizing online books has run into its own legal snags. As reported today in eWEEK, a 2008 settlement deal between Google and the Author's Guild and the Association of American Publishers has been rejected by New York court judge Denny Chin, who said it would not be fair to other book-scanning rivals such as

The deal had called for Google to pay rightsholders $125 million to scan orphan books, or those works for whom authors can't be found or are unknown. and Microsoft opposed the deal, arguing that it would give Google too much control over orphan works.

Android leads app consumer wish list, says GetJar may be the most notable entry into Android app sales, but it's far from the first. GetJar, for example, which sells Android apps as part of its cross-platform mobile application store, says Android is a growing part of its business. On Mar. 22, the company released a survey of 2,500 customer respondents, 40 percent of which said they will switch to Android for their next phone. By comparison, only 18 percent said they would switch to the Apple iPhone.

The survey may not be completely unbiased however. As noted in an eWEEK report on the survey, most iPhone users procure apps through Apple's App Store, not GetJar. According to GetJar, 31.7 percent of respondents use Symbian, 23 percent use a Java feature phone, 18 percent use Android, but the remaining 27 percent, including iPhone users, are not identified.

Availability's Appstore for Android is available now.

Clint Boulton is a writer for our sister publication eWEEK.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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