Ah the Amazon Appstore—that lovely but somewhat castrated provider of daily free apps. Until today, using the Amazon store has always felt like a bit of a second-rate experience, thanks largely in part to the ugly, albeit functional, interface and lack of support for more advanced functionality such as the in-app purchasing already present on the official Android Market. However, this is all going to change.
Jump past the break as we dive into what Amazon Appstore 2.0 brings to the table!
- Support for In-App Purchases:
- One time purchases
- Parental controls (force pin/password on in-app puchases)
- Review permissions on detail pages prior to purchasing apps
- Faster downloads and shorter load times
- New slick design with larger fonts and darker colors
- Other bug fixes
In-App Purchases and Subscriptions
Similar to Google’s offering, Amazon now gives developers the freedom to use one-time in-app purchases for items such as game currency or app upgrades. In-app purchses can be controlled via pin/password, or they can be disabled entirely in the Appstore’s settings menu.
Unique to the Amazon store, and not very surprising due to the digital media giant’s impending Kindle Fire launch and its role in virtual publishing, is support for subscriptions. While we have yet to see a working example, we assume this could potentially support content delivery and time-based application access. Subscriptions are managed in the subscription manager shown above.
As seen in the screen shots above, the look of the new Amazon Appstore is somewhat different from what was seen in its predecessor. The main changes While it isn’t a drastic change, the new look is certainly cleaner. The most noticeable change is the color scheme. Rather than the awful and cluttered white interface from before, the new update brings a darker and slightly less cluttered look. Fonts are a tiny bit bigger, and the colors just make it seem a bit more clean.
Unfortunately, the main page of the Appstore is still an overwhelming jumble compared to the beauty that is the Android Market and its associated widget, as seen below. In addition to the merely aesthetic, the interface also received a functionality face-lift. As shown above, download progress can be tracked in the notification tray. Once the application has successfully installed, it can also be launched from its notification—just like in the first party Android Market.
Still missing, however, is the ability to uninstall applications from the Amazon Appstore itself. Unfortunately, and perhaps unsurprisingly given Amazon’s disregard for higher-version tablet APIs in the Kindle Fire, the application is still not optimized for large screen Honeycomb tablets. Bummer.
Amazon’s latest update packs a surprising punch, bringing it to near feature parity with the official Android Market. In fact, the support for subscriptions potentially puts it one step ahead of Google’s own offering in terms of sheer functionality.
On the visual front, while the update does clean up the old interface, it still is somewhat behind the latest iterations of the Android market. Additionally, we would have really liked to have the ability to uninstall applications directly from the Appstore itself, rather than trudging through device settings.
The new release is certainly progress. While we would have preferred even better visuals, Honeycomb tablet support by targeting API 11+, and the ability to uninstall apps; this is still a solid effort, and a major improvement over the previous offering. Good work, Amazon!