Here’s a great example of how user experience is more important choice.On the iPhone, you can only buy apps from one app store — Apple’s.
But a selection of Android marketplaces are popping up to fill holes in Google’s own Android Marketplace.
For instance Amazon’s Appstore for Android offers a curated selection of apps that Amazon has confirmed will work well. It also has better search than Google’s Android Marketplace and lower prices on some apps — Amazon even gives some paid apps away for free. Those are good reasons to check it out.
But once you’ve got the Amazon App Store on your phone, you have to keep it there forever. If you don’t, then apps you’ve downloaded through it might stop working.
A mobile developer pointed this out to us this morning. He stumbled across the problem because he noticed that the Amazon App Store was running some sort of process in the background all the time on his phone, eating up resources. He couldn’t even get it to shut down manually. So he got rid of it completely.
Suddenly, all the apps he’d downloaded through it — including Angry Birds — stopped working. Instead, he now gets this error message:
Photo: Matt Rosoff
We confirmed the behaviour on the Nexus S we keep around the office.
This developer suspects that Amazon is collecting usage data through the Appstore app — that’s how it can afford to subsidise apps.
Another more mundane possibility is that the app has to send some kind of signal back to Amazon to prove it’s not pirated, and does this through the Appstore app.
Whatever the reason, it’s annoying. And not good for the Android platform overall.
Once Amazon makes its own Android tablets, this bug probably won’t matter — you probably won’t be able to uninstall the Amazon Appstore from them. In fact, it may be the only approved way to get apps. Just like Apple.
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