November 10, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Amazon has released an all new version if its Appstore for Android today. Version 2.0 introduces a somewhat redesigned interface that makes the featured app and side-scrolling menu to filter according to category much larger. The changes were made in anticipation of the soon-to-release Kindle Fire, which relies on the Appstore as the sole means of introducing new apps to Fire users.
In another move likely in anticipation of the Fire, Amazon now supports in-app purchasing and subscriptions. The release notes reveal that app developers can now include purchasable upgrades – like say new weapons in an RPG or tools in a farming game – that users can purchase one-time. And if that person decides to read a magazine on gaming or actual farming, he or she can subscribe within the app. Amazon has partnered with several publishers to make magazines automatically download and be manageable within the app.
The Appstore also has a pin/password lock to prevent purchases by anyone but the account holder and the ability to view permission requests prior to purchasing. Combined with faster downloads and the ability to purchase apps/subscriptions with Gift Card codes, this is a big improvement for Amazon.
The question is now will it catch on? The Amazon Appstore has previously been a way to get free apps and not much else. However, the Amazon Kindle Fire is going to sell millions of Android tablets in the next few months, opening up a massive new audience for developers and consumers to interact. If someone owns both a Kindle Fire and an Android phone, will that person be more inclined to just use the Amazon Appstore? Sure, you could sideload your purchases from the Android Market, but that would be extra work. A more powerful and convenient solution may be the Appstore for many people.
The rest of us will just continue to use it to grab a free app everyday.