Amazon's main shopping app has between 50 and 100 million downloads, but it's not showing up in the Play Store anymore. The listing remains if you have the direct link, but you won't see it in search results. Oddly, there's a new Amazon app called Amazon Shopping. It's the same exact app but guess what it doesn't have—the Appstore. It looks like Google may have laid down the law. [See updates at the bottom]
Left: old with Appstore, Right: new with no Appstore
Just one day after its run as Free App of the Day on Amazon's Appstore, Monument Valley is getting its new levels - titled Forgotten Shores - today, again through Amazon.
The levels, which come via an in-app purchase of $1.99, will be exclusive to the Amazon Appstore until this Sunday, with the update coming to the Google Play Store after that.
For those who haven't played Monument Valley and have somehow managed to avoid hearing about or seeing it, the game is a gorgeous, beautifully-executed geometry puzzle in which you navigate a silent princess through numerous impossible architectural scenarios.
The "Forgotten Shores" expansion builds on the beauty and serenity of the original game with eight levels, almost doubling the total number of levels in the game.
Amazon is making it a little easier for devs to put out bug-free apps on its Android Appstore with the new Live App Testing feature. Taking advantage of this capability lets you roll an update out to a limited group of testers who hunt for bugs and send usage data back. It's a little more locked down than Google's Play Store beta program, but that might be preferable sometimes.
There's always a free app of the day in the Amazon Appstore, but sometimes consumers are treated to multiple giveaways on the site at the same time. Today's free app, Sorcery, is joined by Carcassonne, which just happens to be going for the glorious price of $0.00 at the same time. Both of these games usually run $4.99, making this a great chance to save yourself ten bucks and have a little fun in the process.
Update: Since this post was published, Pebble has introduced a beta appstore for Android through their developer blog. Pebble encourages interested users to "help us finalize the Android app and ship it to everyone very quickly" by using the beta release and reporting any bugs. The beta release is certainly not without its issues, but interested parties can download it here.
Since Pebble first became available to the masses, finding good apps and watchfaces for the device has been sort of a hit-and-miss experience. Pebble knew this was the case, so back at CES 2014 it announced an upcoming appstore.
At the moment, the Amazon Appstore is available in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Japan. But that's hardly enough for Amazon's global ambitions. In a press release, the company announced plans to widen the Appstore to "nearly 200 countries" across North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. A specific timeframe was also absent, but prospective developers can manage their international distribution on the Mobile App Distribution Portal.
Important markets like India, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, South Africa, and South Korea were highlighted. With 195 countries in its marketplace, Amazon should be handily beating Google Play (currently sitting at 134 countries which can buy apps on the Play Store) even if it takes them the rest of the year to fully realize their goal.
When Android first came out, there were a lot of concerns about an open source OS. One of the biggest ones was, what if a company takes Android, strips everything Google out of it, and builds an entirely new platform on top of it? Well, Amazon seems dead set on making sure we know what that's like. The company has already built its own Appstore, content delivery services, and closed hardware on top of Google's baby. Now it's taking aim at Mountain View's money maker: ads.
The new mobile ads API will allow developers to easily embed advertisements in their apps.
Verizon's LG Intuition has long been an awkward kid at the lunch table. With a 5" display at 4:3 resolution, it's had a difficult time being accepted, much less competing. Even so, it has not been completely forgotten – Verizon is preparing to roll out a maintenance update to the device that will remove the Color and V Cast apps, fix some assorted bugs, and should improve speakerphone quality. There is one curious detail to this update, it also adds the Amazon Appstore. Are Verizon and Amazon becoming closer friends?
While this update may not bring a new version of the Android OS, the international version – the Optimus Vu – is expected to receive a bump to 4.1 sometime this quarter.
As part of the company's continued international expansion efforts, Amazon is now announcing that its Appstore is available in Japanese markets. Not a moment too soon, either, as in a couple of weeks, the Kindle Fire HD family will start selling in Japan (December 16th). Without an app market, it would be an even harder sell than a not-quite-Android tablet is now.
Image via Mitchey
The Appstore will be bringing paid apps (good news, developers!) as well as Amazon's typical Free App of the Day promotion. One-click payments and access to Amazon Web Services also round out the list of features available to developers.
If you happen to have a Kindle Fire of some kind, you can still get in on the action via the Amazon Appstore with Kindle Tablet editions of Backstab HD, The Amazing Spider-Man, and N.O.V.A. 3. These deals will be going on all weekend, so you've got a bit of time to do your usual shopping first, then grab a few games for any phones/tablets you may be gifting this holiday season.