Amazon US Rumours Of A Tablet And Android App Store

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Amazon US is launching a tablet computer based on Google’s Android platform and an application store

In the US, it looks like Amazon is launching a tablet computer based on Google’s Android operating system along with an apps store to provide software to run on it. Usually, the company tests the viability of new services in the States and then rolls it out to Europe and the rest of the world.

The rumour of the apps store was posted on blog site TechCrunch, which mentioned a non-disclosure agreement being in place. The blogger, who appeared to be quoting from a written statement, said the application store would charge developers $99 to join. In return, Amazon will pay developers a royalty that is equal to the either 70 percent of the purchase price of the app or 20 percent of the list price, whichever is highest.

Strict Control But Not Exclusive

Applications will be strictly controlled by Amazon.com and must include the company’s digital rights management protection, though that does not preclude the developer from selling through other app marts, which would include Google’s Android Market. TechCrunch also snagged an unattributed, telling quote about how regimented the Amazon Android market will be:

“We have sole discretion to determine all features and operations of this programme and to set the retail price and other terms on which we sell apps,” the site reported.

The blog later said Amazon would release an Android tablet to compete with Apple’s iPad, which is making headway against Amazon’s Kindle as a machine for electronic reading. This meshes with reports that Amazon opened a lab where it was building hardware devices in addition to the Kindle, which already sports an Android e-reader app.

Amazon did not respond to comment on either the tablet or app store as of this writing but both are intriguing possibilities. If Amazon is indeed building an app store, it will join a growing market of Android stores in competition with Google’s own Android Market.

An Amazon tablet would be as distasteful to Apple as it would be welcomed by Google, which fully expected several smartphones and tablets to launch to support its Android platform. However, it is unlikely Google expected other vendors to set up their own app stores, using Android’s open source nature to control the app experience.

Why would vendors do this? Possibly to provide an alternative to Android’s weak link. Officially, the  allows developers to sell apps in nine countries but blog site Distimo has found evidence that Android Market’s payment purview could be expanding.

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