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Battle: Google Android Market vs. Amazon Appstore for Android Apps

Published
By Louis Ramirez, dealnews senior feature writer

Purchasing apps isn't what it used to be — especially if you're an Android user. With the introduction of Amazon's Appstore, users now have two major stores to choose from to buy Android apps. But how does the latter stack up with Google's Market, and which store, if any, offers the best deals? We compared the two stores to find out.

Google Android Market vs. Amazon Appstore for Android

Android Market
Amazon Appstore
Pre-installed on most phones
Yes
No
Quantity of apps
200,000
3,800
Deals & Exclusives
No
Yes
Ability to test drive apps
No
Yes*
Free App of the Day
No
Yes
Return Policy
Yes*
No
*For select apps only.

Installation
Google's Android Market comes pre-installed on most Android phones. As a result, downloading an app is as easy as launching the Market app, selecting the app you want and clicking install. Unlike Market, Amazon's Appstore is not as seamless and requires that you first install the Amazon Appstore app (to date, no phones have it pre-installed) and then create or sign into your Amazon account before you can begin browsing/downloading apps. In addition, users must remain signed into their Amazon accounts from their Android phone in order to use apps purchased via the Amazon Appstore. In addition, as one of our readers informed us, more troubling is the fact that AT&T currently does not support the Amazon Appstore, although they plan on adding support in the near future.
Winner: Android Market

Interface
Since its 2008 debut, the Android Market has morphed from a phone-only app used to browse and download apps to a Web-based storefront complete with movie rentals. Browsing from your phone is quick and very straightforward. Each app has its own landing page with user reviews, screenshots, app recommendations and (if browsing from a desktop) a video of the app and its features. Tabs also help categorize apps by "top paid," "top free," or "just in." However, even Google's best efforts fail to compete with Amazon's online retail prowess. The Amazon Appstore is much easier to navigate, dividing apps by "top paid" and "top free." A sliding tab in the middle lets you select apps by category. Even better, if you're browsing via a desktop, the Amazon Appstore lets you test drive select apps before you buy them, all straight from your browser.
Winner: Amazon Appstore

Quantity
According to Google's numbers, the Android Market currently offers 200,000 apps. If there's an Android app out there, chances are high you'll find it in Android Market. By contrast, Amazon's Appstore launched in March with just 3,800 apps, according to AllThingsD. That's less than 3% of what you'll find on Android Market and the biggest strike we found against Amazon's store. But expect that to change fast, as app numbers tend to grow exponentially.
Winner: Android Market (for now)

Deals & Exclusives
Finding great deals on iPhone/iPad apps hasn't been much of a problem. Unfortunately, Android users haven't been able to reap the same benefits. As far as deals go, Android Market doesn't offer any. Amazon, however, is looking to change that. For its debut, it nailed a massive exclusive when it offered Angry Birds Rio before anyone else. Since then, the store has offered a "free paid app" every day, undercutting Google's Android Market on several occasions. Recent freebies have included popular apps like Namco's Pac-Man, Cardio Trainer Pro and Plants vs. Zombies. Just browse through a few popular apps and you'll notice that Amazon usually has the better price of the two Android stores. That said, there is no guarantee that the Amazon Appstore will always be your least-expensive option. For that reason, we recommend cross-checking prices with Android Market, and even checking the developer's website, before making a purchase.
Winner: Amazon Appstore

Return Policy
Unhappy with your last purchase? Google offers a 15-minute refund policy on select apps, so if after 15 minutes of use you're unsatisfied with your purchase, you can hit the "uninstall & refund" button to get a full refund. Amazon has yet to offer such a policy on its Appstore.
Winner: Android Market

Conclusion
Make no mistake, we're big fans of Amazon's Appstore for Android, but the Android Market's massive app catalog and helpful return policy give it the edge needed to defeat Amazon's Appstore. However, Amazon's track record with obtaining exclusives (even if for a few days) and its free-app-of-the-day deals make it impossible to overlook and make a must for any Android owner.
Winner: Android Market



An avid gadget lover, Louis Ramirez has covered technology for Gizmodo, CNET, Laptop, and various other publications. Follow him on Twitter — @LouisRamirez. You can also sign up for an email alert for all dealnews features.

DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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9 comments
uncletoddy
Amazon App Store was my preference for apps until last week.  Just got back from a long trip overseas where internet access was very limited.  All the apps purchased from the Amazon App Store would not open.  Found out Amazon requires at least a once daily internet connection to verify your rights to use the app.  Oh, and if you uninstall the Amazon App Store, the apps won't work either.  I complained to Amazon and they reluctantly refunded my money.  I immediately uninstalled all apps purchased from Amazon and re-purchased and downloaded them from the Android Market.  Amazon really screwed up on this one.  I won't by anything from Amazon again until they change their DRM system.
dive
jmh111870 - Very easy to use the Amazon App Store with AT&T... just take the 2 minutes necessary to root your phone.  Once rooted, the Amazon text will work and you can download just like the Android market.  Rooting is safe & one click easy, and can be reversed if you're worried about your warranty.  (I'm using an Atrix, for the record)
deal_daddy
Why Bettle. You can use both same time. enjoy the benifit of both. no need for the comparison.
skylz4eva
Actually, there are 2 phones in AT&T's current portfolio that support Amazon App Store. The Samsung Infuse, and the Pantech Crossover. I have a Pantech Crossover and actually have Amazon App Store running on it.
Zenwood
I have Amazon on my Verizon phone and on my eLocity tablet. Have the Amazon program e-mailed to you tablet. I download all the time from both.
jcarlosjr
The article refers to Android PHONES.  Much of the explosion in Android is about TABLETS.  You cannot download from Google to a non-phone tablet!
jmh111870
Yes...sends the text message but the AT&T phone will not support the download
Zenwood
Why not just have both on your phone?

jmh111870 - Have you tried going to the Amazon Market from your computer and having the Amazon program sent to your phone?
jmh111870
I would love to try the Amazon App Store BUT...AT&T is not compatible with Amazon App Store (That's what they told me at Amazon when I called them).  Anyone have any ideas as to why and when this will be corrected???
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