August 5, 2009, 12:00 AM

Amazon builds an Android app to let more customers shop via mobile phone

Amazon.com`s latest mobile shopping application, for Google`s Android mobile phone software, includes e-commerce features and a search-by-photo system.

Amazon.com Inc. has introduced its latest mobile shopping application, Amazon App for Android, which is available as a free download to a user’s Android operating system-based device in the online Android Market.

The Amazon mobile app includes the experimental Amazon Remembers feature, first introduced in the e-retailer’s iPhone and iPod Touch app, that gives Android users two different ways to use their device camera to find and remember items available for sale on Amazon.com: they can either snap a photo of an item or a barcode and then receive a product match. For many photos and barcodes, matches are instant; other items take a few minutes, Amazon says.

Android is an open-source operating system that can be customized for Internet-enabled handheld devices. Amazon’s App for Android can be downloaded from Amazon.com/android_app, or by searching for “Amazon.com” in the Android Market section of an Android mobile device.

“Customers have been requesting an Amazon shopping application on their Android devices,” says Sam Hall, director of Amazon Mobile. “In addition to their favorite Amazon shopping features, Amazon App for Android users can use Amazon Remembers to easily keep track of the items they see in their daily lives and even instantly match photos and barcodes to products available at Amazon.com.”

In addition to its Amazon Remembers capabilities, Amazon’s family of mobile shopping applications (iPhone, BlackBerry and Android) connects customers to their Amazon.com account and regular shopping features. These features include purchasing using Amazon’s 1-Click ordering and Amazon Prime, tracking packages or modifying orders using the Your Account feature, receiving personalized recommendations, viewing editorial and customer reviews, and accessing their Wish List.

A mobile app is a tiny program downloaded from an online app store that runs on a smartphone. It links via the mobile web to a retailer’s web servers to obtain content for display within the app. A mobile app can offer a richer, faster customer experience than a mobile commerce web site because many of the features and design elements are stored on the smartphone and thus do not have to be regularly downloaded from servers, and because an app can integrate with smartphone features such as an address book or GPS navigation to greatly enhance functionality.

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