As Google's Android platform continues to rise, so does the opportunity to acquire apps. In addition to Google's Android Market, which now has about 170,000 apps, users can now get games, music players, e-readers, maps and more at Verizon Wireless' V CAST and Amazon.com's new Appstore for Android.
The Amazon site went live Tuesday, offering a promotion of one free (ordinarily paid) app per day, beginning with a new version of the game Angry Birds Rio. The initial inventory includes Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Zagat To Go, Lookout Mobile Security, Shazam Music, and CBS Sports.
Staying on Top
Android recently took the top share of the U.S. smartphone market, slightly ahead of Apple's iOS and Research in Motion's BlackBerry, according to NPD.
And with a slew of Android tablets -- including the new Samsung Galaxy Tab versions unveiled Tuesday -- competing with Apple's iPad, the demand for apps for phones and tablets has never been greater.
"This also gives Amazon an outlet and opportunity to differentiate new and emerging Android-based products of its own, like a Kindle/tablet," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.
Amazon's Kindle is primarily an e-reader only, with limited browsing capability in the most recent version. But King said, "A device that seamlessly blends the best of both worlds could be a great product and differentiator for Amazon. So far, none of the tablets I have seen have been as good as a reader as the Kindle."
There are, however, only a handful of Android apps currently optimized for tablet use.
But having too many venues for Android apps isn't necessarily a good thing, said another analyst.
"There will be more, many more" vendors offering [apps], said Ken Dulaney of Gartner Research. "I don't think it's an advantage; actually a slight disadvantage because you have to go to so many."
He likened Google's approach to "Moving from the department-store model to the boutique shop. But this approach is needed because Google is unwilling to take on the role for better qualifying apps. They could easily run the apps through more testing before they are published. That is what Amazon is offering over Google via their app store. Google doesn't have to let Amazon or anyone take on this role."
Android offerings continue to pale against Apple's App Store on iTunes, which now has more than 400,000 apps. And Amazon faces another battle with Apple: A legal challenge.
According to Bloomberg News, despite the slightly different spelling, Apple filed a complaint in a northern California federal court on March 18 claiming Amazon.com infringed its App Store trademark, asking a judge to order Amazon's Appstore name removed and award damages.