This is something that should make Google worried. Amazon is reported to be planning its own Android application store, to compete with the Android Market that Google runs.
While several operators, such as Verizon and China Mobile, have also planned Android shopfronts, carriers generally have a poor track record in such activities. Not so Amazon, the master of the usable, addictive web-based store experience.
Citing sources which were under non-disclosure agreements, the TechCrunch blog reported that Amazon plans to sell premium and free Android applications and will deter developers from discounting their products in rival shops.
Amazon will attempt this by offering them either the standard 70% of the app purchase price, or alternatively 20% of the list price on the purchase date.
Like other Amazon extensions, such as its movie rental and Kindle ebook services, the Amazon Android Store will initially be confined to the US, but will move to other territories over time. As you would expect from Amazon, this will be a far more tightly controlled affair than Android Market.
All apps will include digital rights management so that they only run on devices approved by the huge online retailer, and like Apple, it will charge a $99 annual registration fee.
This could be a deterrent to some programmers, but Amazon will hope the vendors of higher value apps will believe it worthwhile to gain the benefits of the firm's huge brand and consumer reach, as well as its flexible and easy discovery and payment processes.
In addition, Amazon has launched Kindle Web, which allows users to read or sample ebooks from their browsers without downloading them or installing an application.
This taps into the trend for content to be streamed, and stored in the cloud, rather than downloaded and could be suited to emerging types of devices, such as the planned “cloudbooks” running Google's Chrome OS.
Kindle Web will allow users to read the first chapter of a book free and share it through social networks or email. The system will be optimized for mobile browsers in future.
This is another way to boost content sales by ensuring that Amazon's Kindle publishing platform is on every possible device and suits every reading habit, from the high quality, conventional reading experience of the Kindle e-reader, to the more social-oriented web service.
It has also promised a Kindle downloadable app for the new RIM PlayBook, to join those for the iPhone, Android and other mobile devices.
Kindle for the Web is officially a beta product for now but is already available. It resembles Scribd, which refers to itself as “YouTube for documents” but is more focused on free content.
This article originally appeared in Rethink Wireless