US-based online retailer Amazon has opened its mobile application store to submissions from developers. The Amazon "Appstore" is due to launch in the US during 2011 and will be available for Android devices that run versions 1.6 of the operating system and above.

Developers will be able to set a list price for their applications for which they will receive the industry standard 70 per cent share of revenues. Amazon, however, reserves the right to discount applications and will guarantee to give developers at least 20 per cent of the list price.

Amazon will take a more hands-on role with its store than Google, with a stricter approval process than for the official Android Market; a move which will likely see Amazon’s store focus on high quality premium applications. Unlike the official Android Market, which comes preinstalled on all Google-approved devices, users will have to download the Amazon Appstore.

According to iSuppli, Amazon’s control over pricing may see developers receive lower revenues per download than from other stores. However, the retailer’s ability to offer scale, its wealth of customer data and track record in online retailing will guarantee developers’ interest.

"Developers’ major issues with Android Market include the poor opportunity for monetisation due to the plethora of free, low quality applications and consumers’ reluctance to use Google Checkout as a billing platform. The Amazon Appstore offers a solution to both these issues. Amazon has credit card/bank details from all its customers and offers a trusted billing platform. Its stricter approval process will ensure higher quality content and its wealth of customer data and expertise in providing customer recommendations will also improve app discoverability and monetisation," said iSuppli analysts Jack Kent.

According to him, as a downloadable store, rather than one that arrives preinstalled on the device, Amazon’s store will struggle in the face of competition from the official Android Market and other embedded application stores run by operators and handset manufacturers. At launch, the store’s availability is limited to the US; a rapid international rollout will be vital for the store to attract wide developer interest.

Amazon already has a considerable presence on mobile platforms; it offers its Kindle e-book app for Blackberry, Windows Phone 7, iOS and Android devices and has a number of mobile apps that enable users to make purchases from Amazon’s online store directly from the app. It will hope to leverage its existing Android mobile audience to boost the adoption of its own mobile application store.

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