Amazon Launches App Store

29 Mar

From FinallyFast:

On Tuesday morning Amazon.com launched their own Android App Store, which will distribute software for smartphones and tablet computers running Google Inc.’s Android operating system, and compete directly with Google’s official Android Market.

The Amazon Appstore includes free and paid apps from Android software developers, and will also offer allow users viewing the site on a computer to test out applications before buying them, in addition to Amazon’s free app-of-the-day. Every day, Amazon will be choosing a premium application and making it free to consumers, giving people a reason to check in on the store on a frequent basis. This is made possible by the fact that Amazon (not the developers) sets the pricing of each application. The first free application will be Angry Birds Rio, which is a new version of the popular “Angry Birds” game series that ties in with the upcoming animated movie “Rio.” Angry Birds normally costs $1.

Since 2008, a slew of Android-running phones and tablets running Android have been released, and Google’s own Android Market app store, which is available on these devices and online, now offers more than 150,000 apps. As Amazon sees it, this growth can make it hard to discover apps that you like. The company believes its experience helping shoppers find what they want online will translate well – especially because it could use data on what you’ve bought from Amazon.com in the past to recommend Appstore apps.

Seattle-based Amazon will be testing all apps before adding them to the Appstore to make sure they work as developers describe them and that they’re free of malicious software. Available apps will conform to Amazon’s general content rules, which means the Appstore will, for example, exclude apps that include pornographic content.

The Appstore is available online at Amazon.com/appstore, and a mobile version is available for download at the same Web address, and is expected to eventually be shipped pre-installed on Android phones, similar to Google Android Market.

Aside from competition from Google and other purveyors of Android apps, Amazon faces a lawsuit filed by Apple Inc. Friday contesting Amazon’s use of the term “App Store,” which is the name that Apple uses for its online store for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Apple’s app store was launched in July 2008 and now offers more than 350,000 apps. Before its launch, Apple applied for a trademark for the “App Store” term. “We’ve asked Amazon not to copy the App Store name because it will confuse and mislead customers,” Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said. Amazon spokeswoman Mary Osako said the company does not comment on pending litigation. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

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