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Amazon joins the app frenzy



Amazon officially entered the app business today when it unveiled its Appstore for Android, featuring over 3,800 apps with thousands more on their way. To get things started, Amazon is giving away a free copy of Angry Birds Rio and is promising to offer at least one paid app for free every day.

Before smartphone and tablet owners can start downloading apps onto their Android devices, they will first have to download and install the Amazon Appstore app. This rather tortuous process is explained on Amazon’s Getting Started page. Customers will also need an Amazon account to complete an app purchase.

As with most app stores, Amazon has arranged its titles into a wide array of categories, including games, entertainment, lifestyle, news and weather, utilities, and social networking. There are also categories for best sellers, new releases, and “recommended for you,” which will offer customized suggestions once you build up a history of downloads.

Each app in the Appstore comes with multiple screen shots, a product description, and customer reviews. Customers can browse, download, and buy apps either from their PCs via the full web site or through the Appstore directly onto their devices.

Although Amazon’s Appstore directly competes with Google’s Android Market, it has quickly attracted the attention of Apple because of its name. Apple filed a trademark registration for “App Store” after the introduction of the iPhone 3G, and claims that Amazon’s use of a similar term could “confuse and mislead customers.”

First day sales appear to be dominated by games, with versions of Angry Birds holding down the #1 spots on both the Paid and Free lists. Other top paid apps include Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Shazam Encore, and the SwiftKey Keyboard texting app. Top free apps include Zombie Booth, Wi-Fi Analyzer, and Audible for Android.



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