Amazon continues to set Appstore apart from Play
Adds carrier-specific aisles as well as a test drive feature, adding to its recent in-app purchasing moves
Published: 22 May, 2012
Amazon's Appstore for Android is increasingly becoming a fully fledged alternative to Google Play. The retailer recently introduced in-app purchasing and now it has started to court mobile operators, announcing a deal with regional player US Cellular.
The cellco will create an exclusive 'store-within-a-store' within the marketplace, for its subscribers, promising a curated and easily navigable experience amid the confusingly large number of Android applications. Operators can drive significant traffic to stores with their homescreen support and particularly carrier billing, and several have their own-branded sections within Android Market, now renamed Google Play. That name change reflects the search giant's desire to assert tighter control over its own Android store, which could make Amazon's rival more attractive to some partners.
US Cellular customers will be able to access Android apps via a customized menu and user interface, featuring dozens of programs which are pre-approved by the carrier. The categories include games, business tools and social media services and the operator says it will add to the menu on a regular basis. It preloads the original Amazon Appstore app on most of its Android handsets as well as other Amazon offerings, notably Kindle, Amazon Mobile and MP3.
The retailer itself continues to enhance its Android experience, tying it tightly into its well-known user interface and its streamlined purchasing processes to woo users away from Google Play (and, of course, iOS App Store, a tougher battle). This week it has introduced Test Drive for Android, which allows Appstore for Android customers to trial selected apps prior to purchase. The service harnesses the retailer's Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud servers to enable on-device tests, extending a formerly PC-only feature to mobile devices.
Other ways in which Android seeks to set its store apart from Google's include a 15-minute refund policy, as pioneered in the Kindle bookstore, and a structure which delivers higher revenues to developers - according to app store analytics firm Flurry, for every $1 generated by App Store for iOS, Amazon Appstore yields an average of $0.89 per user, and Google Play just $0.23. As PCWorld points out, this highlights how Amazon can leverage its digital retailing expertise to differentiate its mobile and cloud offerings.
In other Amazon news, the company announced a deal with the UK's largest bookselling chain, Waterstone's, which will now sell Kindle e-readers and deliver digital content via Amazon's shopfront. This seems to have replaced a deal Waterstone's was attempting to do with Barnes & Noble, to give the Nook device its first international launch.