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  (Source: Reuters)

Amazon's "welcome packet" for prospective developers.  (Source: Engadget.com)
The app market waters are about to get very deep

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon is making a deeper foray into the smartphone world by creating its own independent app market for Android devices. Amazon already competes with iTunes with Amazon MP3, but is seemingly stepping up against Apple and Google with the latest announcement.

According to the report, Amazon would charge developers 30% of an apps' profits, mirroring the same 30/70 split employed by both Apple and Google in their respective app stores. There is also a stipulation that apps sold on Amazon would not be allowed to be sold for a lower price anywhere else.

The one advantage Amazon has over Google is that it already maintains a "payment relationships with millions of customers, all of whom are familiar with its checkout system," WSJ said.

The Amazon announcement comes as a number of players have hinted at plans of their own app stores. Verizon Wireless is bringing the VCAST music and app store to Android devices that run on the network, like the popular Droid line and the Samsung Fascinate. Best Buy has also expressed interest in launching an app store of its own. "We are exploring this concept at this very early stage, but we have no concrete plans at this time. Google, though, is an obvious partner," Best Buy Chief Technology Officer Robert Stephens told WSJ.

It's no surprise that so many players are trying to capitalize on the lucrative mobile application market. Research firm Parks Associates told The Motley Fool that by 2014, consumers will have downloaded 11 billion apps. Juniper Research has projected the value of the mobile app market to be around $25 billion by that year.

With the popularity of Android continuing to climb, and the impending launch of a number of more economically priced devices running the OS this holiday season (not to mention the announcement that Verizon will definitely be getting the iPhone), it's easy to see why Amazon is jumping into the game. According to WSJ, Android's share of the U.S. smartphone market climbed to 19.6% in August, compared to 2.5% a year earlier. The iPhone was still holding on to 24.2% of the smartphone market in in the same timeframe. (Figures provided by comScore.)

One down side -- developers have noted -- of Google's Android Market is its cumbersome organization. Many quality apps get buried underneath 50 different fart machines and free horoscope apps. What Amazon can bring to the table is a better organizational structure, making quality and niche apps easier to locate. Amazon could also capitalize on its ability to recommend content to consumers, the same way it currently does with its online store.

No name for Amazon's app store has been announced, nor has a possible launch date. "We don't comment on rumors and speculation" an Amazon representative told WSJ. However, prospective developers began receiving a "welcome packet" from Amazon. A few items of note: DRM is up to the developer to require or not; Amazon would review apps that are submitted, rather than letting any app into the market the way Google does; and the app store will allow videos from developers, allowing consumers to view demos of the apps before installing.

Another possible risk of the Amazon development -- it could further segment the already subdivided Android universe. 



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ok?
By solarrocker on 10/8/2010 8:23:04 AM , Rating: 3
So we're now going to get multiple app stores for the Andriod, this might get a bit confusing. Unless they all sell the same stuff for different prices. Then I'm expecting to see websites to pop up where you can search multiple APP sites for the best deals.

Either way things are getting interesting




RE: ok?
By Motoman on 10/8/2010 9:57:58 AM , Rating: 1
It's only confusing for people too stupid to understand how something could be available for purchase in more than one place.

Are you confused that you can buy a CD at more places than just Best Buy? Are you confused that there's more than one gas station in the world? How about the concept that you can buy the latest Call of Duty game in damn near every retail store on the planet?


RE: ok?
By MeesterNid on 10/8/2010 10:19:05 AM , Rating: 4
Easy on the coffee there. I think what he was trying to say is that it may be confusing for people to find some app they heard about but don't necessarily know where it's sold if there are multiple stores and each lists different set of applications.

Sheesh.


RE: ok?
By solarrocker on 10/8/2010 10:46:09 AM , Rating: 2
Precisely,

As said Amazon will not allow apps to be sold cheaper anywhere else, which could mean some apps will be sold at amazon only. This would leave some other sites out.

But this could be easily sold with a central search site for Android apps that searches all the online stores.


RE: ok?
By LRonaldHubbs on 10/8/2010 11:35:23 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
But this could be easily sold with a central search site for Android apps that searches all the online stores.

That site already exists. It's google.com


RE: ok?
By melgross on 10/8/2010 11:50:37 AM , Rating: 2
You're missing the point here. If Amazon has a "no lower price than us" requirement, then the other dozen or so stores will as well. That will mean that you will have to go shop around to even find apps, and may never know where they are, or even if they exist, because searching in one store will only find what's in that store.

This isn't like buying a major product that you know about in advance. This is looking through apps in a category, and spotting what you might like, and what's got a good rating. With one store, that's far easier. This way, you will have to look through a bunch of stores, and may never find what you would have liked the most, because it might be where you didn't look.

Having third party sites try to compile this might not work either, because we don't know if Amazon, or others will allow it. And even if a third party can compile a listing of all programs and keep it up to date as appshopper.com does for Apple's app store, they may not be able to link to it as they do, requiring people to get the name of the app, and then go to that store to read about it, and possibly buy it.

While you seem to think this is easy, it's a heck of a lot more work than going to one place for things, and as has been shown, most people won't like that. It's one major reason why the Amazon music store has seen its sales stalled at lower that 8%, even though it links the songs you buy right to people's iTunes library for them. Most people would rather just buy from iTunes, even if the songs fron Amazon are a bit cheaper.

So your theory is wrong. This will just add to the mess.


"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad














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