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Summary:

AT&T’s new Infuse 4G is the first carrier device that allows direct app installs. That led me to install the Amazon AppStore, which is a great alternative to the Android Market. Yet,folks I ask aren’t using Amazon’s AppStore, and I don’t understand why.

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After spending some time with the Samsung Infuse 4G, I realized the handset has a third aspect that’s a “first” for an AT&T phone. I reported that the Infuse 4G is the first 4.5-inch smartphone for the carrier and it’s also the first handset capable of 21 Mbps downloads once AT&T’s network can deliver such speeds. Now that I’ve used the device for a bit, I see it’s also the first AT&T Android device that allows “sideloading” of software.

Sideloading means you can directly install Android apps on the Infuse 4G from sources other than the official Google Android Market; either by downloading an .apk file or using an alternative store, such as Amazon’s AppStore. I was able to successfully install the Amazon AppStore on the Infuse 4G, which confirmed the news.

That’s important, but it also raised a question. When I bump into someone with an Android phone, I often ask if they’re using the Amazon AppStore. Some are AT&T customers, and since the Infuse 4G hasn’t launched yet (it’s available on May 15), these folks can’t get apps from Amazon. But Android owners on other carriers can, yet most of the people I ask aren’t doing so.

I really don’t understand why. Amazon is curating the AppStore, so there aren’t any low-quality, junk titles there. Apps are easy to find. Amazon sets prices, and in some cases, those prices are less than those in the Android Market. Finally, there’s a free app available every day. Essentially, it’s all upside to using Amazon’s store, and it addresses some of the valid criticisms of Google’s Android Market.

Some of the push-back I hear is that people find it inconvenient to use multiple app stores or don’t want to manage apps among them. While I understand that point, I simply don’t get it. It’s certainly not difficult to install the AppStore (a one-time process), nor is it a challenge to tap the AppStore icon to find apps. Apps bought from Amazon can be sent to Android devices over the air via the AppStore website as well. They won’t install automatically like Google’s web-based market, but it’s not a huge inconvenience to open the AppStore and install the apps. And just like the Android Market, all AppStore apps are tied to an account, not a device. That means owners of multiple Android devices can easily install their apps; buy them once and install them on multiple smartphones or tablets.

Having said all that, perhaps I’m missing out on the big barrier to Amazon’s AppStore. If you’re an Android owner, tell me in the comments why you’re not using Amazon’s software service and consider voting in this simple poll.

I’m just trying to figure out if I’m asking the wrong people about Amazon’s AppStore. Are more people taking advantage of Amazon’s effort? If you’re not now, I suspect you soon will be — maybe on an Amazon tablet, since it’s a pretty safe bet we’ll see one in the second half of the year.

  1. Actually, Kevin, you’re missing a few poll options. I would wager that the vast majority of people (like myself) only use the Amazon AppStore for the daily free paid apps. I’ve used it since it came out, on multiple devices, but have yet to purchase a single app.

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    1. Yup, I could have gone a level deeper to see who’s getting free apps vs. paid apps in Amazon’s store, but I’m simply curious who’s using it and who is not. I’ve heard some really lame reasons not to use it, but I see all upside; free or paid. ;)

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    2. Agreed! I use it for free apps. Wont like it if I buy my apps using amazon and later can’t re-install them on newer android device thanks to AT&T ($&@#%).

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  2. No

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  3. Well, how about “I consider using Amazone’s AppStore but can’t access it.”. I know, I could cheat and register some phantom address in one of the countries Amazon graciously acknowledges… but it’s not the point, is it?

    On the other hand I hear that it’s easier for EU based developers to get their apps distributed via Amazon than it is through Google’s own Android Market (apparently due to the billing policy/obstacles, don’t know the exact details). Fancy that… Still, with no Amazon AppStore access their native Android users don’t get to access these apps…

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  4. Yeah, I much prefer the Amazon store over the Market because of the ability to install apps on multiple devices. I have a Motorola Atrix and a Samsung Epic 4G configured with different Gmail/Market accounts because the Epic belongs to my girlfriend. I can’t find a way for the life of me to put my Market purchases on her phone. With the Amazon store, it is much easier to install my purchases on both devices.

    Also, the free app every day is a huge plus because it has yielded some awesome free apps like swiftkey, shazam encore, and backbreaker football.

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    1. You can install Market apps on multiple devices as well because in both stores, the apps are tied to your account. My guess is that you and your girlfriend share an Amazon account but have separate Gmail accounts.

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  5. I’m with Ricky – although I DID buy Majesty for $1.99 there (as opposed to $3.75 on the Android Market) … of course, it went free-app a couple of weeks later, but I had gotten my value from it already …

    But aside from Majesty I have only done FREE.

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  6. I agree with Ricky. I keep an eye on their Twitter feed, and get the free app via their website. I don’t bother with their app.

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  7. I’d wager that the majority of the smartphone owners out there don’t even *know* that Amazon has an App Store, let alone how to find it, install it, or why. I’ve talked to a lot of owners of android devices who barely knew (nor should they care from their point of view) that their phone runs on Android. Oddly enough, those that do call their phones ‘droids’ no matter what carrier/manufacturer it’s from. It was free/cheap/available, had a nice big screen, and could do email/web so they bought it.

    Given the dramatic YOY growth of smartphone adoption, it’s inevitable that the majority of owners are just buying them as feature phone replacements with more features.

    Of course those of us who bought Treo 600s and WinMo 6 phones back in the day know about this stuff, but we’re on the leading edge and a commoditized smartphone market has caught up with us.

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  8. Just a thought, maybe amazon is not a trusted company by some. Not gonna bore you with my financially aggravating amazon sob story, but I guess I not alone. I know a bad experience with one department of a company shouldn’t effect dealing with another, but it just does.

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    1. I wonder if u are upset with a third party order. People get mad at amazon when it isn’t even amazons merchandise that they are buying. Amazon just provides the websites. People who get mad about this stuff don’t actually take the time to ead the information that amazon provides. Its a shame really. People need to take responsibilty for their own negligence.

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  9. Nope.

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  10. I’m not against using it, but thus far I’ve had no compelling reason to use Amazon’s store. Having purchased my N1 over a years ago, I’ve already set it up the way I want it. I don’t play many games, and most of the ones I do play are of the type that can be played repeatedly without becoming boring (cards, board, *doku, etc.).

    I could definitely see myself using the store if/when I purchase a tablet on which I’ll surely have a significant higher number of apps.

    Roy

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