Amazon Appstore gets the job done but has flaws

first_imgAmazon now has there very own App Store for Android devices. The fact that Android (or anyone else) can put out their very own app store on Android is a sign of the platform’s openness but it can seem extraneous. After all, the standard Android Market is a pretty good way to get apps and many people with Android devices are already using it.I gave Amazon’s Appstore a try and I found it to be serviceable but of limited appeal. It’s a fine way to get apps, but splitting the app ecosystem (particularly my personal app ecosystem) does not seem to be ideal. That said, it does has a few things going for it, foremost being the simple facts that a) I’m familiar with Amazon and comfortable using their services b) I already have an account there that I use regularly and c) from their experience with the Kindle they know a lot about properly handling digital content.If you want to install the Amazon Appstore on your Android device (I used a Verizon ThunderBolt), the best thing to do is just go to Amazon’s app page and give them an email address or phone number so they can send you a link to the .apk installation file. Before downloading anything though you need to go into Settings > Applications, and approve “Unknown sources”. It’ll seem a bit sketchy for people not familiar with Andriod/desktop Linux, but it’s a standard operation. After that you can go back to the link you were sent and download/install the file. Keep in mind that the Amazon Appstore currently doesn’t work on AT&T.Once the Appstore is installed you just need to go to app. Here you just need to login to your normal account and then start your buying. You can’t download apps, even free ones, without logging in. But once you are logged in it’s basically a one-click operation so buying is quick and easy. That said, this introduces us to the first serious problem I had with the store–there seems to be no way to logout. So if you lose your phone you can go into your Amazon account and disable the device, but if you hand your phone to your young cousin they can start buying apps left and right.Before you ask–you can’t create an account without a credit card so you can’t just make a junk account that you can use to download free apps. On the upside, you can at least look through the market (either online or on your phone) without logging in. You can also test out some (not all) apps on your PC if you want to try before you buy.Once you are in the store it works well. You can find and download your apps and once they are installed they live on your phone like normal apps from any source. The benefit of the Appstore is that you can use Amazon to look through your apps, rate them, try them, view purchase details, and so on. It’s basically just how Kindle digital purchases work, which is to say pretty well. So you get a web overview of your apps, but all the management can only be done on your phone.The Appstore selection is reasonable, but right now the main attraction seems to be Angry Birds Rio and the free app of the day. Today’s free app is Doodle Jump, which is a hugely successful title, so we can see that Amazon is serious about this launch and is hoping to lure in users with top-quality freebies. The first purchase is always the toughest so this should get some people in the door and start to build up a user base. Exclusives (or at least timed exclusives) have worked on other platforms and this is one way Amazon can use their size to their advantage.For the time being the Amazon Appstore seems like it will exist as a somewhat unnecessary secondary market for Android devices. It’s not bad, but it’s just an extra step to go through, with the main advantage being the security of working through Amazon and the convenience of consolidating your digital purchases on a site where you already buy physical goods and digital books. Things will get really interesting if Amazon was to ever release an Android device (maybe an Android-powered Kindle?) that could really promote this store because, for the time being, it doesn’t come preinstalled on any devices.last_img

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