Happy Birthday, Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN ) ! Well, at least to its Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) Android Appstore.
The e-tail giant is kicking off festivities in celebration of its proprietary storefront's first birthday with a week full of deals on popular games and apps. The company is also giving away eight Kindle Fires through a sweepstakes that runs through the end of this month.
The Amazon Appstore -- Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) trademark lawyers will remind you it's one word, not two, "App Store" with two words belonging to Cupertino -- is now home to 31,000 apps after opening its digital doors with just 4,000.
Amazon's offering still pales in comparison to the sheer quantity of apps available directly from Google's Android Market and Apple's iOS App Store (two words, remember), which boast roughly 450,000 and nearly 600,000, respectively. That says little about quality, as both larger stores are inevitably filled with some junk.
Amazon's Appstore (one word, remember) is predominantly occupied by gaming apps. In fact, all ten top paid apps over the past year were games. The Appstore is an important strategic piece of Amazon's Android puzzle, and it exemplifies how Amazon was able to go rogue with its Kindle Fire and proceed without Google's blessings. Not only does the Kindle Fire run a version of Android (2.3) that's so heavily "forked" that it's unrecognizable as Android, but Amazon also serves up all of its own content.
Netflix's (Nasdaq: NFLX ) app ranked No. 2 under the top free apps over the past year, even though the Kindle Fire also serves as a direct portal into Amazon's competing Prime Instant Video service. Those two services will continue duking it out for the foreseeable future.
It's a good start, but I think Amazon needs to be a little more aggressive working with developers in order to expanding its selection, which would enhance the utility of the Kindle Fire. This is especially true since Amazon is widely expected to be working on a Kindle Fire 2 that is likely to be more full-featured, with a 10-inch screen and maybe even a Kindle Phone.
Keep it up, Appstore. You'll get there one day.
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