Developer William Francis shares his thoughts on distributing Android apps via three channels: the Android Market, the Amazon Appstore, and your website.
The Amazon Appstore is a new kid on the block, but don't let that scare you away. Amazon is the undisputed heavyweight when it comes to selling stuff on the Internet, and its on-device experience and the web version of Amazon Appstore are top-notch.
- Amazon's store does a better job of marketing your app than the Android Market. Amazon's Appstore presents the app in a more appealing manner; it's easier to find apps in the Amazon store than it is in the Google Market; and every app description that is submitted gets read over and edited by their professional marketing staff at no charge.
- Amazon has the shopping cart experience down to a science, and users who have ever bought anything on Amazon.com will find it simple to purchase and download your app.
- The tools Amazon provides developers on the backend to track their sales are what you’d expect from a company that has been processing online transactions for third parties via the Amazon Market Place since 1999.
- In my experience, Amazon's review process for approving apps and new versions of those apps is slow. While I don't mind waiting 10 days to get my initial release of the app in the store, it's very frustrating to wait 10 days to get a bug fix to my users.
- Users must download the Amazon Appstore app to their phone using the Android Market, and then they must configure the settings on their phones to allow apps to be downloaded from unknown sources. This last step sometimes scares away casual Android users, which is ironic since apps downloaded from the "unknown source" (the Amazon Appstore) have been reviewed for both content and possible malware injection, whereas the apps in the Android Market have not.
- Since I haven't had my app in the Amazon Appstore for long, I can't comment from personal experience on the download numbers. I've read posts in the developer forums that suggest only one download from Amazon's store occurs for every 10 in Google's. The general consensus seems to be this will improve with time as people become more aware of the Amazon Appstore, and more devices ship with Amazon's client pre-installed.