Watch out Google. Amazon.com is opening its own Android app store. Amazon's store will officially open later this year, but the e-tailer is gearing up by inviting developers to submit applications so Amazon can vet them before the store debuts to the public.
Much like Apple's App Store, Amazon will approve applications submitted to the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal before adding them to the store. Amazon's efforts open an alternative to Google's Android Market, which is not new, but Amazon is the only one with clout. It also cuts down on junk apps and malware.
Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, noted that "Amazon is the first retailer to do a store, and they will differentiate on marketing the apps and higher quality control. This could be a big game changer because, after all, this is a store."
Al Hilwa, an analyst at IDC, said Amazon is doing what it's good at -- being a merchant. As he sees it, there's a need to do a better job organizing, categorizing and presenting Android apps, and Amazon homed in on the need.
"Does it help the platform to have its wares in multiple stores? Well, it hurts its reputation of simplicity and user experience, but it is a testament to the success of the platform, not to mention its openness that others want to jump in, solve problems, and make money," Hilwa said. "Android is and will be ubiquitous, and it is not going to win the long-term awards for user experience. This leaves room for other players to hold the high end of user experience, potentially making more profitable businesses, if not necessarily winning market-share wars."
New Android Kindle App
Meanwhile, building on the momentum of its record-breaking third-generation Kindle sales during the holiday shopping season, Amazon is also rolling out new apps for its market-leading Kindle e-reader. The company just released a "Buy Once, Read Everywhere" Kindle app for Android-based tablets.
The Kindle apps have been tailored specifically for Android tablets so consumers can access the Kindle Store with one touch. The new Kindle app lets consumers buy apps for Kindle, Kindle 3G, Kindle DX, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, Mac, PC, BlackBerry and Android-based devices.
"Many people are buying both a Kindle and an LCD tablet computer," said Dorothy Nicholls, director of Amazon Kindle. "We're very excited to support the upcoming Android and Windows LCD tablet computers with free Kindle apps that we'll tailor for the particular devices. Our Whispersync technology makes it simple to move back and forth between devices."
Windows Phone 7 App Features
Amazon also announced Kindle for Windows Phone 7. The app includes features new to any Kindle app, including personalized recommendations integrated into the app home screen and the ability to send book recommendations to a friend without leaving the app.
With Kindle for Windows Phone 7, Amazon promises readers seamless integration with Kindle; Amazon's Whispersync technology that lets consumers sync their library, bookmarks, notes and highlights with the devices of their choice without losing their place; and access to more than 775,000 books in the U.S. Kindle Store.
Windows Phone 7-based tablet users can also tap into Kindle's Worry-Free Archive, which automatically backs up a Kindle library on Amazon, so the books can be downloaded again anytime. Readers can send an e-mail to a friend with a link to the book they are reading or to any book in their library without leaving the app.