AH Primetime: Even With Its Limited App Selection Is Amazon's App Store As Much Of An Achilles Heel As It Seems?

Those of you that read Android Headlines on a regular basis may have noticed by now that I'm a kind of a fan of Amazon. While I enjoy all of their services like free shipping and video streaming as a member of Amazon Prime, I am especially bullish on their Kindle Fire line of tablets, even though technically I don't even own one personally.

I used the word technically there because the one I have in my house is my son's tablet. The Kindle Fire and the Amazon ecosystem are absolutely perfect for the younger people in our homes as well as for those not so tech savvy people in your family who just need things that work out of the box. This would be as opposed to those of us who like to tinker with and customize our much more "evolved" Android tablets like the Nexus family of tablets or the Samsung Galaxy Tab series.

That's where the disconnect between "real" Android fans and the general public begins. There are people out there who like to bash the outright simplicity of the Kindle fire citing things like it's closed off ecosystem, crappy launcher, and of course the largest complaint, the extremely limited Amazon App Store.

What started out as an alternative to the Google Play Store that was designed to be side loaded on our Android devices, turned into the main source of applications in the Kindle Fire world. Running side by side with Google's Play Store the Amazon offering doesn't seem to stand a chance. Those of us who put the Amazon app store on out devices quickly uninstalled it because of the aforementioned lack of apps as well as the wonky updates of the apps we did manage to find in there.

As a standalone app store with no competition however you'd be surprised at how well it does. Remembering that the average Kindle Fire owner isn't what we would consider a power user, the lack of quantity is almost never even noticed.

Let's look for instance at the total number of applications in the Google Play Store. With well over 800,000 Google Play Store choices, there isn't even a competition between it and Amazon's paltry 75,000 titles. In fact if we are using total app downloads as a point of reference then Google is about ten times bigger than Amazon.

If we get a little deeper into the weeds however, the numbers start to look a little bit better for the underdog. By using Paid downloads as a determining factor Amazon is still losing to Google but only by a total of two to one. Further, in March of this year The Google Play Store took in $5.2 million on the top paid applications, a figure that drops the search giant to only 1.7 times larger than the online retailer.

I know that there are a lot of people who will never like or get Amazon's way of doing things when it comes to Android, but whatever your personal feelings they are in the hardware business for the long haul and by necessity the app business as well. The company will also continue to innovate whether the haters out there like it or not. It can be argued that we wouldn't have seen a Nexus 7 so soon without the success of the original Kindle Fire. Also look for an expansion of that free data they offer on certain KFHD models when they finally introduce a Kindle Fire smartphone, which is something I guarantee we'll be seeing more of from manufacturers in the future.

Amazon has recently opened up App Store access to countries including the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Japan. With over 200 more in the pipeline, the Kindle Fire family and the Amazon App Store are here to stay.

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About the Author

Joe Levin

Joe is a Boston based Android reporter his current devices include The Nexus 4 & The Nexus 7