This week Amazon launched its Android Appstore opening the app market to its millions of customers and adding some welcome innovations to the app purchase experience.
First off, the Amazon Appstore, http://amazon.com/appstore looks great. Mainly because its layout is based on Amazon’s familiar ecommerce site. The front page displays the current “Free App Of The Day” with a host of featured apps below it. Featured app categories include: games, entertainment, utilities, social networking, productivity and music.
Once selected, individual app product pages load much like standard physical product pages on Amazon’s main site. There are product photos, descriptions, user comments and a five-star rating system. There’s a “Buy Now” box on the right side of the page that lets you know whether the app is compatible with your phone after you’ve made your first purchase or download.
Besides the easy-to-use interface, the app store also boasts special deals available only on the Amazon Appstore site. Rovio’s popular “Angry Birds Rio” is currently available for free download only through Amazon. It retails for $.99 on other marketplaces. In addition, as mentioned above, the site will showcase one paid app a day offered for free download. The Appstore Android app gives users the option to sign up for automatic daily downloads of these featured apps. The free app on the day this article was written was “The Newsweek Mobile” app which normally retails for $1.99. Although it only had a one-star average user rating.
Probably the most exciting feature Amazon Appstore offers is a virtual “Test Drive” for apps. It uses a Flash emulator to simulate apps in shoppers’ web browser so they can try them out and see how they function before making a purchase. There is a 30-minute time limit on test drive apps and not all apps featured on the store currently work with the service. However, the site just launched last week, so it’s only a matter of time before they get the kinks worked out.
The Amazon Appstore is a very exciting innovation and it will be interesting to see what techniques and strategies Amazon implements in coming months to gain market share in the competitive world of retail app sales.
This week Mozilla launched their first-ever mobile version of their popular Firefox browser for Android smart phones. The new browser boasts a bunch of new features that you’d normally only find in a desktop web browser.
Firefox Mobile 4.0 for Android features a personalized start page that enables users to pick up where they left off during previous browsing sessions. This mobile browser can also link up with its Firefox desktop counterpart and synchronize their home or work computers’ Firefox history, bookmarks, passwords and form data with their phone.
Another cool the new Firefox Mobile 4.0 features is “tabbed browsing” that lets users open multiple pages at once using separate browser tabs. Users can screen swipe left and right to move between browser tabs and save themselves from having to open extra menus or pop-ups.
All of this browsing and swiping is sped up by the inclusion of new major mobile technologies that Mozilla calls “Electrolysis” and “Layers.” Mozilla’s website says these two innovations allow for more responsive and intense graphical interactions such as zooming and scrolling, as well as greatly improving the smoothness of screen animations.
All are welcome improvements to the mobile web experience. Firefox Mobile 4.0 for Android gives consumers the ability do almost as much on their phones as they can on their home computers and in some cases more. The browser also includes optional “location-aware” web surfing that can tailor a user’s internet experience according to their geographical location.
Firefox 4.0 for Android is available for free download at: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/mobile/