updated 10:15 am EDT, Tue April 10, 2012
Amazon Appstore gets in-app sales
Amazon gave Appstore developers an important catch-up on Tuesday through support for in-app purchases. Its custom Android store now uses the same 1-Click engine to handle buying content as for the apps themselves. The switch preserves the typical 70 percent royalty paid to developers and only restricts things such as solely extra-app purchases, illegal or "offensive" material, and virtual currencies that could be exchanged between users.
Several developers are already publicly using the programming interface to support it, including Condé Nast, Disney, Gameloft, and Cut the Rope developer ZeptoLab, among others.
Regular users can get to in-app sales either on the Kindle Fire or on generic Android devices. As expected, developers have to switch wholesale to Amazon's Appstore to use the in-app system and can't mix and match Google Play.
The addition follows roughly a year after Google added in-app purchasing of its own and two years after Apple first set the standard for mobile in-app purchasing. Without it, Amazon was at a significant disadvantage as it had to exclude game add-ons, certain kinds of subscriptions, and "freemium" apps that are free to start but make money off of boosters and other components. Google in particular may feel pressure as apps that were once Android Market-only can go to the Appstore, where Google won't make any money.