It's all heating up in the Android space

Photo of an Android phone sitting on top of a sketchpad

A lot of web developers are starting to build Android, iOS and WinMo apps. If you’ve learned Ruby, Python, JavaScript, etc, you can definitely pick up Objective-C, Java and .NET.

Regardless of who wins the HTML5 vs Native Apps battle, mobile is going to be a part of everyones strategy and skill set.

With that in mind, it’s fascinating to see what’s happening in the Android marketplace. We all know about Apple’s App Store and it’s insane success. The problem with Android is that there isn’t one a curated store with one-click-purchasing. It’s fractured and confusing.

To help address this problem (and make a boatload of money along the way) Amazon is launching their App Store this morning, which competes with (or helps, depending on how you look at it) Google’s Android Market.

This should drive a huge amount of sales for Android apps, and help erode Apple’s position as the market leader in mobile apps.

The highlights

One interesting feature of Amazon’s App Store is that you can test drive apps right in your browser. They do this by firing off an EC2 instance with an Android emulator (that uses Flash). Obviously the accelerometer won’t work when test driving apps in your browser, but you should still get a general feel for the app.

The slightly odd thing about Amazon’s App Store is that Amazon chooses the app price. You can suggest a retail price, but they ultimately decide.

They’re using this pricing structure to offer an “App of the Day” which will be completely free. If they choose your app, Amazon will pay you 20% of the retail price you suggested for each sale. This may not seem fair on first glance, but it will drive a huge amount of sales in one day, which should push full-priced sales after that.

So if you’re not sure whether you should dip your toe into the mobile waters, I hope this helps push you into the water. Mobile is super exciting and will be a vital part of every web professionals life.

On a side note, Apple is suing Amazon for the use of the word ‘App Store‘.

[Great photo provided by flickr.com/photos/johanl]

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Comments

9 comments on “It's all heating up in the Android space

  1. Interesting, especially the decision to take pricing away from the developer… sits a little uneasy with me, but the free/20% deal of the day idea does sound so crazy it may just work!

    • can not agree. this deal won’t work i think. maybe later but not now. i have some experience in this area but we can never be sure so it is just my suggestion..

      • I am inclined to agree too…. it does seem pretty off the wall. I don’t make apps, and likely never will, preferring to go down a platform agnostic web app route. That said, I do feel the ability to set my own price point is odd – I can’t think of any other market where someone else has the ability to completely override your pricing. For that reason I would be surprised if it takes off in any spectacular way.

        On the flip side however, using that model to offer a free app of the day potentially driving massive takeup and therefore exposure of an app shouldn’t be underestimated. Again I feel there should be a developer option to opt into this model, but if it does work (big IF there!) it could change the way app stores work… just not sure in what way!

        Overall I’m not convinced, but will wait and see.

      • I guess the free app of the day model is not disimilar to the sumo / app / software deals that are fairly popular these days – stacks of software for a fraction the cost for a very limited period of time.
        If it works for that market, it may well work for this.

    • One interesting aspect is the fact that if a developer prices their app the same on both Google and Amazon’s store, Amazon is highly likely to figure it out and automatically undercut Google’s pricing. That may just work for Amazon – especially once users get a feel that the app will typically be less expensive in Amazon’s store.

  2. I love the ability to test-drive apps without buying them, but don’t like that it’s coming from a third-party app store that developers have to opt into themselves.

    Like most people say, this is one of those “time will tell” kinds of things.

  3. You should learn correct usage of the apostrophe if you want to be taken seriously as a writer. It’s a bad look to leave one out. But it’s even worse to put one in where none is needed.