Android Sees Further Fragmentation With Arrival of Amazon Store

Fragmentation with versioning. Fragmentation with devices and screen sizes. And now, developers are going to have to deal with further fragmentation with Amazon’s plans to launch its own Android app store. While the store isn’t officially out yet, Amazon is putting a call out to developers ahead of a launch later this year.

Amazon is taking a middle-of-the-road approach between Apple’s tightly-controlled ecosystem and Google’s free-for-all in its Android Marketplace.

Unlike Google which takes a retroactive strategy and only takes down apps once they’re in the store, Amazon will vet apps ahead of time to make sure they work, do what they promise and don’t violate the user’s security. But Amazon will be more permissive than Apple, allowing satire and other types of apps that have been banned from iOS.

Potential Strengths Over Google:

Billing and In-App Payments: In-app payments is one area where Google has fallen down consistently. Although the company has added more direct carrier billing partners in the last month, the product is still immature. Because Apple has credit cards on all of its users, it has rushed ahead of the pack in offering a reliable and quick fulfillment process for purchases of virtual goods in games. Amazon will also have an edge here with its one-click payments process.

A cleaner, safer experience for the user: Because Amazon vets apps, consumers may feel more secure in downloading apps from companies they’re not familiar with. On top of that, there’s a lower chance that a popular app might have to compete with dozens of spammy copycats.

Recommendation and discovery: Discovery has been a consistent pain point for developers as it is hard for consumers to learn about new apps beyond those on the top of the charts. Amazon’s personalized recommendations technology, refined after years of use, may be able to even out the imbalance between what the very top apps earn and what the rest do.

Potential Weaknesses:

How will users find Amazon’s app store? Amazon is somewhat vague on when this store will launch and hasn’t been very clear on how users will access to it.  The company is making a bet that manufacturers and carriers will want to include their Android store in lieu of Google’s.


Amazon retains control over pricing: The key difference here is that Amazon will retain control over pricing, not the developer. Amazon has the ability to change the price of an app dynamically so that the store overall earns more revenue. Developers will either earn 70 percent for each sale if the app is offered at full price, or at least 20 percent of the price if Amazon discounts it.