Fragmentation,fragmentation, fragmentation. Rumors are pretty strong that Amazon is going to launch it’s own Android app store (which ties in to a possible Android tablet). We’ll get to the details of the market in a second, but this makes the third market for Android. There’s Google’s, Verizon’s and now Amazons. This is one of those really great and really awful things. For me, I think the Android market is garbage. Really, going to ‘what’s new’ is a total waste of time since the newest things are picture of women that appear after you hang up on a phone call, some new children puzzle games and a theme or two. It’s a mess and filled with way too many underperforming apps. Amazon can really clean up the categories and control what’s in their market to keep the crap out. On top of that, their reviews will (hopefully) be better (well they can’t be worse). I doubt they’d go so far as to test the apps to ensure they’re not malicious and work on various versions of Android but they are supposed to be limiting the devices that can buy from the market so at least they should cover compatibility. The real problem though, is that once you start to have a lot of markets, it starts to cause fragmentation and developers have to deal with multiple markets and as an end users you have to search multiple markets…that is unless one is so good that it simply beats the others out. The openness of Android may hit a wall with Amazon’s certification process though – we’ll have to wait and see. What do you guys think, is an Amazon market great for Android or a sign of trouble?

Here are the details of the Amazon store from Tech Crunch, and yes, it’s got a $100 certification fee.

  • For each sale of an App, we will pay you a royalty equal to the greater of 70% of the purchase price or 20% of the List Price as of the purchase date (70/30 is standard, this 20/80 split is somewhat odd and confusing)
  • The List Price is apparently in place so that you can’t sell your app cheaper on other “similar services” — meaning other app stores, presumably
  • The “similar services” should also include the forthcoming Chrome Web Store, if I’m reading this correctly
  • There is a $99 fee to be a developer in this program (the same as Apple’s iOS developer program)
  • It seems like if your app is available on other platforms, you have to make sure to update it at the same time on Amazon’s store that you do in any other store (this will piss off a lot of developers)
  • Apps will have to be laced with Amazon DRM — meaning they will only work on devices they approve (obviously)
  • Amazon has the right to pull any app for any reason (obviously)
  • Apps can also be shown on amazon.com (this is up to Amazon)
  • You can offer free apps
  • The app store is U.S.-only (at least for now)
  • This part is interesting too: “We have sole discretion to determine all features and operations of this program and to set the retail price and other terms on which we sell Apps.”

12 COMMENTS

  1. i really dont get why a) a developer would even bother with this, and b) why a consumer would even bother with this.. DRM’s, initiation fees… do that many people really use amazon?

  2. @BRYAN B: Fragmentation is increased because you don’t have one place to do everything. Apple is the least fragmented. One device, one store. WP7 will allow multiple devices but all with a set of specs and also there’s one app store. You can get music from toher stores though. Android is entirely open so there’s no one palce to get everything…just like WM and that’s one of its downfalls. You sohuldn’t ahve to look for apps. They should be waiting for you in a well made market.

  3. I’m afraid there are a lot more than three app stores for Android David, Dell has it’s own store, Archos has one and there are a number of others.
    What I don’t see is how this causes fragmentation, they are simply app stores and in no way alter the core of Android. They are just a store front.

  4. @BRYAN B: I’ll put it this way – I’ll take Apple’s market over Android’s all day long. Granted there’s a secondary market (Cydia) for iOS but Apples store is vastly superior over any other store. Think of MS and WM. You had marketplace and a million little app stores privately owned. Stuff was all over the place, not centralized and you couldn’t find apps. That’s where Android is headed.

  5. Sorry David, that’s just foolish.
    That would be like having one Best Buy to buy all of your electronics. Web based products are certainly more flexible as far as convince and storage capacity, but I want options and not just one distributer who can control what I see and download.

  6. Sorry David, thats not Android, thats simply a by product of Android OS. A person can function just fine within the basic structure of any operating system, application simply make it more user friendly and personal. Application have nothing to do with fragmentation and I personally will have noting to do with Apple products(just personal preference).
    What would the world look like if there was no motivation to change and who would determine what we are able to do, who determines who gets what abilities and even more importantly who will determine what we pay for those abilities?
    I want competition, if that means having Apple products in the mix, so be it.

  7. @BRYAB B: nice:) Really, you thinkt he Android Maret is worth a shit? I find it misreable in almost all respects. Yes, it’s filled with things they call apps, but a huge portion of them have no ratings at all, some have ratings by the developer I presume, there are lots of apps with compatability problems across devices (I’m thinking of Angry Birds as one that sticks out). Let’s step outside of the philosphical debate between open and closed platforms. Android is entirely open…that’s fine. But because of that looking for an app is like looking at the web and looking at the latest websites to popup…simply useless because it’s too easy to make a site these days. Openess is cool and all, but Android shows what happens if you go too far. I presume Amazon widdles down the apps and keeps crapp out. That’s nice. Now devs have to go to two markets. Of course, on a Dell streak you get the Dell market…VZ you get that one. Power users may love this. For many people they jsut want to get good apps and not spend a night browsing.

  8. I use them all except Apple, I am typing this on an Archos tablet tethered to an Window mobile device while relaxing in bed.

  9. im on your side david k, no way is having multiple markets a good thing if you want the masses to buy your product… i mean, how many people have even heard of cydia let alone know what it is, and even less have heard of handango or any of the other windows mobile markets… it hasnt worked for anyone in the past why would that change now?

  10. In a sense, BRYAN B is right, in that it’s not Android. But it is Google. It is surprising how poorly they seem to be managing the Android market.

    I suppose the good news (for optimistic people) is that it seems like all Google has to do is clean up the Android market and this problem goes away. These other marketplaces are unnecessary if Google’s marketplace becomes good. And by good, I mean serious quality controls to prevent malicious apps and help users to weed through useless ones, better organization of the offerings available, better reviews, etc. These things are within Google’s power, they just need to decide to do them. If that happens, those other markets will end up small and specialized, and less of a cause of fragmentation, more a check against the possible problems of having only one market.

    Okay, I’m rambling. My point is, it would be a shame to see Android go the way of Windows Mobile in this respect. It’s not so bad for power users, but the “masses” won’t scour the internet for apps, or try to sort through a dozen different app stores. At least, not without getting burned by malicious apps from loosely controlled sources. And of course, the “power users” shouldn’t have to do that either. I love Windows Mobile, but it would be nice to have one big app market where everything is available.

    Google’s marketplace doesn’t need to be the only app store out there, but it would be nice if it was a large, reliable, high quality one. Google just needs to commit to making it one before that can happen.

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