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(s 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 (s goog); either by downloading an .apk file or using an alternative store, such as Amazon’s AppStore (s amzn). 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.