updated 10:35 am EST, Wed January 5, 2011
Amazon Appstore for Android confirmed at CES
Amazon at CES confirmed its plans to step into the app store world by launching an Amazon Appstore developer program. The process will take Android app submissions for a store that will be available both through the web and through a dedicated app. Amazon has stressed discoverability and promises both to market the apps itself as well as to give more preview info than Google usually allows, such as videos.
The store follows a similar business model to Android Market and rivals like Apple's App Store with developers taking a 70 percent cut. Amazon, however, is reserving the right to discount apps independently of what the developer wants and is promising at least 20 percent of the list price to keep app creators onboard. Apps don't have to have DRM, but those who want protection must use Amazon's format.
Only Americans will have initial access to the Appstore; other countries and mobile platforms are possibilities.
Amazon is banking on its name recognition for the store, which will support Android 1.6 and later devices to start. The "tens of millions" of Amazon account holders won't need a separate signup to buy apps but will have to go out of their way to access the store from a phone where Apple and Google have theirs built-in.
A risk also exists that Google's willingness to let carriers close down features will hurt Amazon's chances. AT&T currently bans non-Market apps and would be entirely excluded from the Appstore portal as-is, and carriers like Verizon may have an incentive to block the store to steer customers to their own portals, such as V Cast Apps. Official control has been a staple of the Apple and Google stores, both of which aren't known to have ever been disabled by a carrier. [via GigaOM]