Not content to just have their own apps (Amazon.com, Amazon MP3, Kindle) apps in the Android Market, Amazon is reportedly working on their own market app for Android devices..
The defacto standard for finding, installing, and updating apps on Android-powered devices is the Android Market. The Market is governed by Google and so far hasn’t had too many problems or controversies. App stores on other platforms have been plagued with draconian policies that ban apps for seemingly arbitrary reasons and take what can feel like forever to approve a new app (or an update to a previously listed app).
Both the App Store and the Android Market are insanely popular, holding virtual monopoly status as the default mechanism to get apps on their respective devices. Both are a positive revenue stream for their respective owners.
Not long ago I told you about Verizon’s forthcoming app store, now with Amazon wanting to get in the game my predictions of a fragmented market experience are becoming more likely.
For an app developer to get their app into each market they must pay the admission fee and jump through whatever hoops that proprietor puts on apps accepted into their market. This cuts into the developers revenue and time. Put another way, new apps and updates will take longer to develop and release, and apps will cost the end user more money.
Eventually, smaller app developers will release their apps into only one market. While this doesn’t seem like a bad thing on the face, when you consider the possible ramifications of sideload-locking (like AT&T currently does) and carrier specific devices (such as a Verizon Droid or a tablet from Amazon), the potential of the carrier locking out alternative markets becomes an issue.
Of course, this is an issue that iOS products have had since their inception: if you have a stock iOS device you’re stuck with Apple’s App Store.
What do you think?
Will carrier-specific markets be the next “fragmentation” problem for Android?
Will developers fork out the extra money and invest the extra time to list their apps in multiple markets? If so, will they pass the costs on to us end-users?
Will Apple ever allow (or be forced to allow) alternates to their App Store on their devices? Should they be?