Amazon Marketplace: The App Store for a New Ecosystem?

Discussion in 'Android News' started by This Green Machine, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. This Green Machine

    This Green Machine DF News Team Premium Member

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    (This is a guest post by Michael Heller from ThisGreenMachine.com. The original article can be found at this link.)

    A thought occurred to me while I was working on my NotionInk Adam column, and it quickly took hold in my brain: the Amazon Android Store could become the default market for “non-standard” Android devices.

    We already know that devices are required to meet certain standards and features[1] in order to be anointed with the true “Google experience”, meaning access to the Market and Google Apps (Gmail, Maps, Voice, etc.) We also know that there are non-standard Android devices (mostly in Asia), which are not allowed access to the Android Market. Google has set these standards to make it easier on developers to make apps that will work across various devices by allowing them to expect certain features like GPS, camera, etc. Amazon, however, doesn’t need to worry as much about that. They can create an app store for everyone else.

    Given the low barrier to entry, only $99, into the Amazon App Store, we can assume that many developers will bring their apps to Amazon, if only for added exposure. So, what if the Amazon App Store becomes basically a spam-free mirror of the Android Marketplace without the Google Apps? Better yet, what if Amazon licenses its App Store to non-standard devices like the woebegone Augen Tablet and Archos Tablets, or even the wealth of devices outside the smartphone/tablet ecosystem?

    If Amazon brings their App Store to a wider set of devices, we could see GPS devices, handheld TVs, iPod Touch competitors, digital cameras or maybe Kindles all running Android and with access to many of the apps found in the Android Market. Sure, these devices may not have access to Google apps, but this is Android, there are always alternatives. Amazon would need to be careful how they organize their App Store, so devices without cameras, or GPS aren’t given access to apps which require those features. But, how much more appealing would an Archos tablet be if it had access to all of the games in the Android Market? Depending on how many developers join the Amazon App Store, it could open up an entirely new ecosystem for Android and its apps.

    Maybe this is why Google doesn’t really mind the advent of these 3rd party app markets, and Eric Schmidt even called it a “net win or everybody”. [2] Any truly quality smartphone or tablet will meet the Google standards and be given access to the Android Market. But, if people want to save money and go with devices that aren’t as good, having access to the Amazon App Store would be a big advantage. Sure, it may cut into Google’s Marketplace profits, but they are still getting the advertising dollars from the ads in those apps, right? And, if Android starts to thrive in other electronic devices such as media players, I’d be willing to bet that Google would make room for them in the Android Market. But at that point, would Amazon have too much power for Google to assimilate the formerly “non-standard” devices into the Android Market ecosystem?

    References: [1] GigaOM [2] TechCrunch