If you haven't heard Amazon.com is making a huge splash in the Android world right now. They have launched a new version of their Amazon MP3 store app, they have pushed out their own marketplace call Amazon Appstore for Android, they launched Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon Cloud Player (part of Amazon MP3 store for android) as well. This shows that Amazon.com is interested in the mobile market more than ever and they are seeing apps are a viable product. I am still unclear of all the details surrounding the Appstore and developer cuts, but I am sure a little more research can answer those questions.
What I am most interested in though is the consumer perspective of all of this, and some of the business and legal aspects.
First let's talk about Amazon Appstore for Android. I am loving it! Mostly because of the free apps. If you didn't know, go install Amazon Appstore for Android now! You get 1 free PAID app a day. I have already snagged Newsweek, Shazam (full version), Angry Birds (two versions), Diner Dash 2, and Farm Frenzy, to name a few. I look forward to the new app each day. All this adds up to win in my book.
Next let's tackle Android Cloud Player (Amazon MP3 Store). The app works, no doubt about it, but there are some weird quarks that I think should have been given more thought and polish before the release that just happened. Basically the app works 90% of the way, the remaining 10% is not hard to find however. The biggest upset was when I "purchased" the free song of the day from Amazon.com and added it to my Amazon Cloud Drive. I had to logout of the Amazon MP3 Store app and re-login to see the content I had just purchased. I personally think this is a huge mistake, and probably one they should have figured out before launching. Aside from that aspect the product seems to work well enough.
There are legal questions brewing about the music sharing and privacy of users of the service. The RIAA and the big music labels have already expressed concerns that people will be uploading stolen music. Frankly I don't see how this could be considered a real problem, unless I guess they are afraid people are going to setup Amazon.com accounts, load lots of stolen music, and then start selling access to their shares (is that even possible?).
Frankly I think music labels are completely aware of the fact that their empire is crumbling down around their ears and all they can hope for is for some judge (who they will pay off) to come down on Amazon.com and make them either pay royalties for uploaded music, shut down the service, stop people from uploading music files, give over personal data for each account, or worse.
I think Amazon.com is well aware of the risk they took to get where they are, and I think all things considered it was all a calculated risk to get in the market ahead of Google (rumored to launch their music service soon). I hope though that Amazon.com will show the community the highest level of respect when the RIAA and others come knocking asking for account information to build a case against common users of their services.
For now, I am going to continue to use Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon Cloud Player, although very little as I have other means of moving music and files back and forth between machines (I do own my own servers after all). I will continue to like Amazon Appstore for Android as long as they continue to give away useful paid apps everyday. That is just a bargain I can't pass up.
I have seen a huge swell in Amazon and their support for Android, and I hope that in time this will flourish even more into a great community setup. How about native support for Amazon AWS in the Android SDK? Who knows, but I like what I see.