Amazon has today announced that it is closing its Underground Actually Free program that it originally launched back in 2015. However, in spite of the announcement that the service is closing, it will be a slow and gradual closure. The first date to note is May 31, although this date will only be relevant to app developers, as following May 31 Amazon will not be accepting anymore app and game submissions to join the Underground Actually Free program. The next major time stamp will be “summer 2017” when Amazon notes that access to the Underground Actually Free store through Amazon’s Appstore on Android devices will be no more.
However, while you cannot access and download apps following the summer of 2017, Amazon does note that already-installed Underground Actually Free apps on Android devices will continue to function as normal, right up until an undisclosed time in 2019 - when all support for the Underground Actually Free program will cease completely. Likewise, Amazon does make it clear that developers will continue to be paid for time-spent in Underground Actually Free apps by users up until that final 2019 end of support date. If you happen to be an Amazon Fire tablet owner however, then it is worth noting that you are being given preferential treatment as it seems not only will you be able to continue to use your already downloaded Underground Actually Free apps until 2019, but you will also retain access to the Underground Actually Free store up until that date.
This program effectively replaced the ‘free app of the day’ promotion that Amazon used to run, as it essentially made a very large selection of paid apps and games free to Android and Fire OS device owners. This was free for the user but continued to support app developers by ensuring they were paid on a per-minute time-spent basis with Amazon largely picking up the cost. The program was an interesting proposition and one which many understood to be a means for Amazon to try and further compete with the ever-expanding user base of Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store. In either case, the program is now set to end.