Amazon.com begins selling applications for the Google Android smart phone in its digital storefront just days after Apple files a lawsuit claiming that ‘Appstore’ infringes its ‘App Store’ trademark.
Escalating the fight with Apple, Amazon said Tuesday that it was giving away an Android version of a popular game as part of the promotion for the new site. Normally the game, Angry Birds Rio, would sell for 99 cents, just as it does in Apple’s iTunes App Store.
Amazon is promoting the game, which is tied to News Corp’s Twentieth Century Fox animated film RIO featuring Angry Birds characters, by letting people download it for free for a limited time.
The move sets up Amazon as an alternative way to buy apps on tablet devices and smartphones, challenging Apple’s iTunes store.
The move was seen as a challenge to Google Inc.’s Android Marketplace for apps that run on smart phones and tablets using the Android operating system.
Amazon also said it was rolling out a unique “test drive” feature for apps sold through the its Appstore over the next few days.
If an app has a test drive available, consumers will be able to launch a demo version of an app running on Adobe Flash within a user’s Web browser. The demo will allow consumers to try the app before they buy it, though the demos will be limited and won’t replicate certain phone features such as a camera.
On its first day, Amazon’s Appstore had about 3,800 Android apps available for download, each of which the Seattle-based online retailer said had been tested and approved by Amazon employees as virus-free.
“What Amazon has … is consumer trust and credit card numbers,” said Sarah Rotman Epps an analyst with Forrester Research. “By layering its payment system on the Android market, (Amazon) will grease the wheels for consumers to buy more Android apps.”
Consumers are able to use Amazon’s popular 1-Click payment option to purchase apps. Additionally, a feature lets people test an app on their computer before buying it.
In the lawsuit filed last week, Apple claimed that Amazon’s Appstore name was too close to its trademark. It accused Amazon of trademark infringement and unfair competition.
Apple argued that its major competitors had each found ways to sell mobile apps without calling their digital storefronts “app stores” and that Amazon should do the same. Microsoft Corp., for instance, uses the term Marketplace, the lawsuit said.
Amazon declined to comment on the Apple lawsuit.