Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Downloading the Amazon Appstore

Yesterday, Amazon finally launched its Android Appstore. So I took it for a test drive today.

First of all, downloading the Amazon Appstore app on my Droid was non-trivial. Amazon even had to make a tutorial video on its site! I guess since it's not distributed on the Android Marketplace, they had to do this workaround. But for non-techies, the idea of being asked to check "Unknown sources" to "Allow installation of non-Market Applications", followed by this warning:

Yeah, that can be pretty scary, especially in light of the recent malware reports of certain Android apps. But I did it anyways because I'm an Amazon fan and they were giving away Angry Birds: Rio for FREE right now!! Who can pass up Angry Birds???

After launching the app, it prompted me for my Amazon login. I do like that I can now pay for apps with my Amazon account.

In many ways, the interface was good and organized like the Apple App Store and other app sites out there. But, Amazon definitely added its own Amazon-spin to it. The product listings follow closely the very familiar Amazon merchandising model, which I liked. It took me all of 0.0000001 seconds to figure out how to navigate the app because it resembles my app user experience.

I also noticed they were promoting a free paid app every day on the top of the page. World Series of Poker: Hold'em Legend, regularly $4.99, was free when I was there.

But I was on a mission for Angry Birds: Rio, an Amazon exclusive. And then I found it. The top free app, discounted from $0.99. Come to papa! The screenshots are much better here than the Android Marketplace. I was also surprised to see 1278 people already reviewed it! I hit the Get App button and it was mine at last!

Here's another cool thing I discovered. Back on on my desktop, it is awesome how well integrated it is to my Amazon account. You can shop for apps on their site, just as easily as buying a book, as I mentioned above. What's cool is if I find an app I like, on the far right, I can use Amazon's patented 1-Click to download the app directly to my phone.

One thing that would be nice is if Amazon aggregated all its apps under one app.

Here's a lesson drawn from Angry Birds. I like how Angry Birds: Seasons continues to add more thematic versions of the game (e.g., Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day), but it's just another icon after loading that's still in the ONE app. It would be nice if Amazon built such a "container" app for all its apps so my phone isn't cluttered with various Amazon apps, which currently includes Amazon MP3, Amazon Kindle,, and now Amazon Appstore.

Overall, a nice app store. Well done, Amazon!

Disclaimer: I do not own Amazon stock.


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