January 10, 2011, 2:59 PM

Amazon.com to begin selling mobile apps, starting with Android

The retailer has opened up a developer portal in advance of a store launch.

Lead Photo

App stores beware: an e-retailer behemoth is striding into the mobile apps arena, planning to sell mobile apps for the first time.

Amazon.com Inc. has launched the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal, a self-service tool that enables mobile app developers—Android developers in particular, for now—to join the merchant’s Appstore Developer Program and submit apps for the upcoming launch of the Amazon Appstore for Android.  With the launch of the Appstore later this year, mobile app developers will be able to sell to tens of millions of active Amazon customers, says the retailer, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

“The apps space has grown dramatically in the past year and the sheer number of apps available today makes it hard for customers to find products that are relevant to them,” the merchant says. “Amazon’s innovative marketing and merchandising features are designed to help customers find and discover relevant products from our vast selection, and we’re excited to apply those capabilities to the apps market segment. An Appstore is a logical next step for Amazon.”

Amazon.com offers its own free mobile app for numerous smartphone platforms that enables customers to shop the retailer’s entire product catalog of physical goods. And last year it launched the free Amazon Price Check app, which enables customers to scan bar codes and comparison shop, and the Windowshop app for the iPad. The Amazon Appstore will be the merchant’s first foray into selling digital mobile apps.

Amazon.com will pay developers 70% of the sales price for each app sold. It says it can move an app through the approval process to be included in the store in about a week, though it may take longer depending on the nature of the app.

“We will test the apps before publishing them in our store,” Amazon says. “Our goal is to help ensure customers have a good experience with the apps they buy from us—and to protect customers from malware and other harmful situations. From a developer’s standpoint, we will not be prescriptive in terms of what constitutes good app design. We hope to feature lots of innovative and creative apps.”

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