I’ve seen a few references to a forum entry on Android Community Forums over the last 24hrs and while I don’t think the case in question can be rated highly, the thought that it generates is an interesting one to discuss.
Update: Techcrunch have been investigating and have some more details here.
Rumour: Amazon will start an Application Store [Ref: Amazon cooking something up?]
I’ve been analyzing the Intel AppUp store recently and also thinking about how Android-based tablets can solve the problem of not having the hooks and channel available for applications on large-screen Android devices. We already see that the requirement for an app-store on a consumer device is critical and the potential gains for the store that becomes ‘de facto’ are huge. Google are having successes in the smartphone area (although one report I read yesterday says that it needs to do a lot better due to the limited country coverage of Google Checkout. Update: News on that today too) but there are other areas too. Tablets, TV, Netbooks and Laptops. There’s even a chance to spruce-up the desktop application experience. I don’t see any one store covering this whole area but that doesn’t mean you can’t win if you rule the niche or vertical.
Amazon are no stranger to distribution and as we found out last year, already have a software distribution and monetisation product. It was games-only then but can someone please tell me the difference between distributing a game and distributing any other piece of PC software? The Amazon service runs in the cloud with all the usual Amazon specification, rating, review and comment features and as I write, there are 1823 games being offered from free to $39.99 (Service only available in the U.S.)
What if Amazon tuned this service up for any PC software and rolled it out to their 100+ countries? What if they included more than just PC software? What if Google asked them to carry a selection of premium apps aimed at new markets? What if a hundred thousand Android apps could suddenly be sold through credit card, and direct bank transfer? Update: Even newer news indicates that Amazon might be readying an Android Tablet.
There are a number of important elements that an App-store should have:
- Feedback/rating channel
- Simplify install process
- Provide search and discovery facilities
- Simplify migration of PCs
- Permit try-and-buy
- Helps devs with incentives/marketing
- Allow the community to curate
- Provides affiliation opportunities
When you check these requirements off against an Amazon offering, nearly all of them are covered and with the huge Amazon brand and web presence, marketing it should be easier and cheaper than for most. The only barriers will be 1) Getting devs to submit their apps 2) Getting customers to download the market client. Both barriers are huge and interdependent and could need a pile of cash to solve.
Update: If Amazon were to successfully ship a million their own Android tablets with a set of pre-prepared tablet apps done under NDA, they might solve the chicken-and-egg problem of apps and pre-installed customer base. It’s exactly what Intel are attempting with netbooks and AppUp so it will be interesting to watch and compare.