Amazon Hints at Android Strategy With Latest App Promotion

Amazon is rolling out a new promotion on Monday that reveals how it could package together its various efforts in the wireless industry.

The first promotion–kicking off at midnight–will give customers who buy an Android device from Verizon Wireless $25 to spend on applications from the Amazon Appstore.

The offer ties together Amazon’s wireless store, which sells a variety of phones for all the major wireless carriers, and its brand new Appstore, which is an independent catalog of apps for Google’s Android operating system.

It also leans on tight relationships Amazon has formed with carriers, said David Camp of Amazon Wireless.

The promotion will continue for a week, and is only valid on Android phones purchased by Verizon, including the new HTC Thunderbolt, which runs on its speedy 4G network.

The promotion is designed to give Amazon’s Appstore, which just launched last month, a boost. But it also hints at the company’s interest in Android and a broader strategy it could be pursuing.

So far, it’s unclear how well the storefront, which is accessible on the computer and the handset, has been received–and Amazon is not sharing download figures. But it has almost doubled the number of apps available for sale from to 7,500 from 3,800 over the past few weeks.

That’s despite the fact that the International Game Developers Association cautioned game-makers about Amazon’s strict pricing conditions. Downloads could also be soft due to the fact that AT&T has blocked users from being able to download third-party apps, including from Amazon’s Appstore, to Android devices. The U.S. storefront is available to users from T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint.

So far, Amazon’s interest in the wireless industry has seemed a little scattered. However, this promotion starts to bring it into focus, and hints at how Amazon could weave together its strategies to drive sales to its own properties.

It also shows how important the retailer could be to Google.

Today, Camp says that Android devices are the best sellers on its storefront (the big caveat is that it doesn’t sell the iPhone).

Beyond its cellphone store at AmazonWireless.com and the digital Appstore, Amazon has also released a bevy of applications, including shopping portals, barcode scanners, Kindle apps for virtually every device and an MP3 store. More recently, it rolled out a Cloud Player, which allows people to store their music and other digital content in the cloud, making it accessible from both Android devices and an Internet-connected computer.

Monday’s promotion is just the start. “We will continue to do things like this in the future,” Camp added.


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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google