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The Future of Mobile Apps?.
25 Mar 2011
There has been a lot of discussion about Apple's 'closed' App Store and Google's 'open' Android Marketplace. Some have said that Apple sets the bar higher by vetting all the apps that come through its doors, while others claim that Android is allowing more competition and freedom for developers by setting the barrier for entry fairly low. Well, now there's a third option. Amazon, the online retail giant, has opened its own Android App Store. Although it's currently only available in the US, it's taking a new approach to pricing and selling apps. In both Apple's App Store and the Android Marketplace, the developer sets the price for their app and gets 70% of each sale. With Amazon, the developer sets a suggested 'List Price,' but Amazon ultimately decides on the price at which it will sell your app. Again, the developer receives 70% of this cost, but in the event that Amazon massively discounts your app (or even gives it away), developers are guaranteed to get at least 20% of their List Price.
There is also a chance Amazon will decide to give your app away: every day they'll be offering an app for free on their site. They're hoping to encourage people to visit every day, download the free app and purchase additional apps. If your app is chosen to be the free app of the day, you'll still receive 20% of your 'List Price,' and the number of downloads for these apps are likely to be huge. The final thing that Amazon has on its App Store, that knocks the competitors out of the water, is their Test Drive feature. Using Flash, Amazon have developed a way to try out any Android app in their store for free on the web. So before buying any app, whether it's 99p or £20, you can make sure it does exactly what you want before you buy. It's a killer feature and one which Apple and Google might want to investigate. Although most apps are bought over the mobile platform, and Apple and Google have control over their app delivery services, there may be a rush of non-Google Android phones looking to include Amazon's store on their phone. Amazon holds huge sway in the online market, and their ability to cross promote apps alongside other sales gives them a lot of leverage in the app market. As for me, well, I don't own an Android phone, but this new development certainly tilts the scales a little further in Android's direction. Have thoughts? Please comment! (Photo: Amazon US)