Amazon has been testing in-app purchasing in Android apps with its Kindle Fire tablets. The company has just announced that its in-app purchasing API is available to all Android developers. This is a potentially huge game-changer, particularly for game developers. Check out a video below on the API below, as well as what it means for developers and consumers.
Although the Amazon Appstore for Android doesn’t reach as many people as Google Play, a recent Flurry study claims that developers stand to make more money through Amazon’s store than Google’s. While the sheer reach of Google Play is undeniable, some users find the service difficult to use and some developers find it difficult to make their content stand out. To be fair, Google Play is a lot better than it used to be, but Amazon’s curated experience is familiar, easier to use, and more organized.
For developers, Amazon’s API could mean higher rates of conversion and more money. For consumers, it’s all about simplicity and ease-of-use. Amazon already has all your purchasing information and has proven that it’s secure; buying in-app purchases for games is a breeze for existing Amazon customers.
The disadvantage for consumers going all-in with the Amazon Appstore for Android is that the company has been slow with updates. It’s not uncommon for the Amazon version of an app to be several weeks behind the Google Play version. The disadvantage for developers is the Amazon reserves the right to alter the pricing for an app, a practice that many developers find unfair and/or controversial.
Looking at the bigger picture, it has been fascinating to watch Amazon take Android and make it its own. The customized version running on the Kindle Fire is very much an Amazon product and not a Google product. Releasing an in-app purchasing API takes advantage of the openness of Android, completely benefitting Amazon and not benefitting Google in the slightest.