Amazon app store won’t require a device

Feb 21, 2011
Tech
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In the Kitchen: Recipes, Chefs Android app on the same page with a link to download it immediately.

That kind of cross-promotion — capturing customers in multiple markets by offering them other things they might be interested in — is going to be powerful force if Amazon wields it correctly. With the ability to zero-in on customers’ buying habits and to suggest apps to complement the items customers are already buying, Amazon could have a big edge when driving customers to its new store.

Google, on the other hand, could be at a serious disadvantage. Amazon has a huge customer base that, with some skillful implementation, it could turn into app store customers almost immediately, even if they don’t have a compatible device yet.

But Google has an edge of its own. Amazon’s store isn’t out yet (it’s still coming “soon”), but we do know that developers will be giving up some freedom to produce for it, with Amazon even mandating what the prices of apps will be. That isn’t exactly an inviting environment, and gives Google a chance to offset the big draw that all those potential customers will bring to app developers.

It might not be something Google can address until after Amazon’s store is live, but while the Amazon offering might take a chunk out of the Android Market’s revenues, Google will be in the position to respond to what developers aren’t liking about the Amazon model. The constraints are bound to have an affect on morale and create an environment at least some developers won’t be fond of — if Google is there waiting to address their concerns, it could help make the Android Market an even more desirable place to sell apps.

That might not be enough to battle with the retail powerhouse Amazon represents, but it’s a step that will help the Android Market remain the place that developers and users go to first when they want the freedom to get exactly what they want, without a third party dictating (as many of) the rules.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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