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Could An Amazon Android Market Tip the Mobile Scales in Google’s Favor?

This year is going to be a very contentious one when it comes to the world of mobile. As everyone continues to jump on board the question is always about who will dominate. RIM actually is still in the lead but that will end this year for sure. Android is leading the charge of current activations (about 300,000 per day) while Apple’s iPhone still leads the Android platform overall by an ever slimming margin.

Aside from the service provider issue (AT&T, iPhone, Verizon soap opera) the biggest difference between the world of iPhone and the Android is the open nature of the Android and the closed system of the iPhone. Both have their benefits. The other difference is their app experience from purchase to quality and all stops in between.

I am an Android user (DroidX). I can’t do the multiple phone thing like many seem to do but I also have an iPod Touch which allows me to have the app experience with both platforms. Right now there is no comparison in that I find it a better experience acquiring and managing apps for the Apple world. Part of the problem that I have an inherent lack of trust in most Android apps unless attached to a big brand or vetted by the tech community at large because it feels like the Windows world of viruses and technology landmines. I like to error on the side of caution in the tech world.

Enter Amazon in 2011. TechCrunch reports on the progress of the Amazon Android App Store that is supposed to come online this year.

Fragmentation. Curation. Recommendations. Take your pick: Android is getting all three, compliments of a new Amazon-run application marketplace due to launch later this year. Today, Amazon has launched the developer-facing part of the store, inviting devs to submit their applications so that they’re ready when the app store is ready for its consumer debut later this year (Amazon isn’t giving a firm date on the full launch). The developer portal is athttp://developer.amazon.com.

We reported on this impending news back in September, so it isn’t a huge surprise. But it’s going to bring some very interesting dynamics to the way Android applications are purchased and distributed. In some senses, this is the Android equivalent of Apple’s App Store — even more so than Google’s official Android Market.

What I was most interested in was how Amazon is going to have an approval layer that currently doesn’t exist in Android market. For people like myself who are concerned about allowing just anyone access to my phone, it creates a level of confidence that at least someone is minding the store and trying to keep the bad guys out.

Amazon is taking an approach that is more in line with Apple’s. Developers who wish to appear on Amazon’s store have to get approval (Amazon says that the process is currently taking about a week). And Amazon is going to have slightly more stringent guidelines: your application has to work properly (i.e. it can’t crash right off the bat) and it has to do what you say it does. It also has to be safe. Android Market has many of these same requirements, but the difference here is that Amazon checks apps before they’re deployed to its store, while Google does so after problematic applications are reported.

The TechCrunch article goes into depth about the particulars of this development. As always, I recommend our readers check out our referenced sources because we choose them for a reason (that is to help you get the best information about whatever issues we are examining).

Where the rubber meets the road here is just the fact that if Amazon is getting into the apps game then Google has got to be happy. Amazon’s reputation and its distribution power are unmatched. Even with this offering only being in the US it’s a huge plus for the Android platform (and by default, Google). Personally, I can’t wait to use it.

The TechCrunch post wraps as follows

..the (Amazon) team did say that the mobile storefront is being built with tablets in mind, so my guess is that we can expect this to launch after Android tablets running Honeycomb are on the market (which will probably be around April or later).

I asked the Amazon team how Google felt about the launch — there was an audible chuckle, and they said something about Android being on an amazing growth trajectory and that they were fond of its openness.

Reached for comment, Google gave this statement:

Android is an open platform – and entities other than Google are free to create their own content and marketplaces, much like the web.

I bet they’re thrilled.

I have to agree especially with the iPhone set to break away from the chains of its AT&T exclusive agreement. This year in the mobile space will be about the race to the front between iPhone and Android.

Oh, remember the mention of RIM at the start of this post? Expect them to get smaller and smaller in the rearview mirrors of the lead dogs. RIM, can you say, “Going the way of the Palm?”

  • veggiedude

    The headline doesn’t make sense. An Android store in Amazon will be taking money away from Google’s store. That is less money for Google, which does not make any money on the Android OS – it gives it away free remember?