March 27, 2011

Amazon Appstore for Android, A Slow Start

As of Mar 27, Amazon Appstore for Android is currently at 3,332 Apps, a slow start!

It is getting close to a week since Amazon’s Appstore launched, a quick look at how the store has grown in the first few days

Mar 22    3,070 apps
Mar 23    3,104 apps
Mar 24    3,115 apps

Mar 27    3,332 apps

Only 262 apps have been added in the first 5 days. At this rate, only 19,000 apps will get added in one year. 

To see the number of apps in the store yourself, search for “app” at the Appstore, which will list all the currently available apps.

The most expensive apps in the store are Mobile Banker and Kaplan Architecture Registration Exam, both at $50. Both apps seem to be only marginally useful, perhaps at that price no one buys them anyway so they can be priced at any number. Search by a price range to see all apps available in that range.  

With its Appstore, Amazon’s typical role has been reversed. Amazon is in a curious role of being the neighborhood gourmet store competing against the Walmart of Android apps, the Android market. Lets see how they are doing so far …

Amazon Appstore carries only apps approved by Amazon. With curated apps, you’d expect Amazon Appstore to be selective and high quality but right now it is neither. It only has a small number of low quality apps in the store. Amazon’s criterion seems to be, any app that breathes and doesn’t crash can be in the store. Hopefully, this situation changes for the better over time.

Amazon sets the app pricing, not the developers. With its dynamic pricing, Amazon can move a lot of inventory and this ultimately should be very beneficial for the developers and buyers.

Amazon Appstore offers a “test drive” feature where you can try an app on your browser before you buy it. The try-before-you-buy provides limited functionality on non-Android devices/browsers. Test-drive is a great idea, perhaps the best feature of this appstore. Unfortunately, for the few apps that were tried, other than playing a simple animation, the apps did not work at all. Hopefully, this also changes over time and test-drive indeed works as intended.

At first look, the Appstore for Android from Amazon is underwhelming and in need of lot of improvements. But, with Amazon’s massive retail presence, it has a lot of potential. Hopefully, over time, Amazon can indeed provide a nice complement to the Android market.