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Amazon Reportedly Prepping Android App Store

E-commerce leader would take on Google's Android Market, criticized by consumers and developers for its cumbersome checkout system.



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The already crowded app store marketplace is expected to soon get another big player -- Amazon.com -- according to several published reports.

Amazon has targeted Google's Android phone market, in a move that would put Amazon in direct competition with Google's Android Market store. Android Market has more than 80,000 apps available and is growing rapidly, gaining on Apple's iPhone store, which still has a wide lead in apps downloaded.

According to market research studies, Android Market, launched in August 2008, was slow to take off, stocking only 2,300 apps in March 2009, but by December of that year there were 20,000 available. By August 2010, there were more than 80,000 and the additions were gaining momentum.

Amazon would have an immediate advantage with an apps store, too, because its existing customer base is familiar with its checkout system. Google's checkout system is regarded as cumbersome by many consumers, and a study by location technology provider Skyhook found a high percentage of developers also complained about Google's checkout system. However, consummation of a deal between Google and PayPal, rumored for months to be in the works, would help Google Market more easily process Android owners' apps acquisitions.

The Android app market has other attractions, including the fact that Google makes it relatively easy for developers to create applications for Android devices -- at least easier than app store standard bearer Apple does.

Amazon will hardly be alone in entering the app store business. Alcatel-Lucent is seeking to create a universal mobile applications platform. It recently acquired OpenPlug, which has created tools that allow mobile application developers to write an app once for use on any of the five major mobile operating systems -- Android, iPhone, Linux, Windows Mobile, and Symbian.

Another competitor -- a sort of app-app -- is Appolicious, which offers Android and iPhone applications. It is also an app itself, presenting reviews of apps. Many carriers and mobile phone providers also have their own app stores.

Amazon has declined to comment on the reports, although published reports suggest its app store will debut soon.

For Further Reading

Alcatel-Lucent Acquires OpenPlug

Survey: Android Developers Unhappy

Android Growth Continues, Others Lose Share

Apple Allows Apps Translated From Flash

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