Amazon's Appstore & Android App Launches

Today Amazon opened their Android application store for business. The Amazon Appstore is accessible via Amazon’s web site, and is also accessible on Android phones via the Amazon Appstore app.
The new Appstore is currently featured prominently on Amazon’s home page, but it is also in the Departments section of the web site, making it pretty easy to get to the site. The Department navigation actually displays three options, apps, games, and free amazon apps. Amazon’s free Android apps include Kindle, Amazon Mobile, Amazon MP3, IMDb, and Audible.
In order to use the Amazon Appstore you will need to make a change to the settings on your Android phone. Tap Menu, Settings, Applications, and check the Unknown Sources checkbox, as shown in the screenshot. Amazon provides step-by-step instructions as well as a getting started video that guide you through the process.
You will need to enable Unknown Sources before you can install the Amazon Appstore app on your phone. You enter a phone number or e-mail address that Amazon uses to send a link to download the app to your phone. After the download completes you will see a notification, which you tap to launch the installation of the app.
The Appstore app is pretty similar to the Android Market app. You have the ability to search for an app, browse through the apps by category, and access a list of recommended apps. When I did a search on “ebook” I found that the Kobo eBooks reader app is in Amazon’s store, but Barnes and Noble’s nook app is not.
I find that the process for purchasing and installing apps from the Amazon store is not nearly as seamless as with Google’s Android Market. When you first start the Appstore app you provide your Amazon ID and password, and purchases are made against the credit card that you provide for Amazon one-click purchases. Buying an app from the Appstore is a one-click process on the phone and the web site. The app is then downloaded to your phone and an app installation screen appears like the one you see in the screenshot. After installation is complete you see another screen indicating that the app is installed, therefore installation of an app requires three taps on the screen. Installation of an app from the Google Android Market involves one tap.
Another problem that I think users will have is that the Amazon Appstore does not discover apps that are already installed on the phone from the Google Android Market. As a test, I tried to install an app that was already on my phone. The app downloaded to my phone and then attempted to install it, at which point a message box displays saying that the app is already on my device but not associated to my Amazon account. I was asked if I want to remove the app on my phone and install the Amazon version, which I then canceled. While the app did not install, the Appstore app added it the update section of My Apps and I see no way to remove it from the list.
Bottom line is that I think the Amazon Appstore is going to be confusing for people who have phones with the Android Market installed and have already installed apps. People will end up with two different app update sources, which I can see will quickly get confusing. I think the Amazon Appstore needs to do a better job of discovering apps already on the phone and not even allow users to begin the installation process without first explicitly removing the app from the phone. I also don’t like the fact that the app always downloads to the phone, which will burn up data transfer amounts, before it procedes with checking to see whether the app can be installed.
I see the best use for the Amazon Appstore on devices that don’t have the Google Android Market. Over the years we have seen several low-price Android tablets appear that do not have the Android Market, and Amazon provides a good alternate for those vendors. I’ve also read speculation that Amazon might be developing their own tablet, which makes a lot of sense to me.