Amazon's Appstore for Android opens for business

One feature will allow developers to test applications without installing them

Amazon has opened the Appstore for Android, providing another option for app shopping to U.S. users of smartphones with Google's operating system.

Amazon is trying to lure users away from Google's Market by offering users a free paid app every day. The first such application is Angry Birds Rio, which usually costs $US0.99, and is an exclusive for Android users via Amazon's store. Users can also test applications with a feature called “Test Drive,” which runs applications on a simulated smartphone.

Amazon will also have an approval process for applications submitted to its store. The company will be testing apps to verify that they work as outlined in the product description and to make sure hat they don't impair the functionality of the smartphone or put customer data at risk once installed.

In many ways Amazon's Appstore for Android works in the same way as the rest of its store. Users can view app recommendations based on past purchases from Amazon and pay in the same way as if they were buying a book. Applications can be purchased from a computer, a smartphone or a tablet.

At about 1:30 p.m. Central European Time on Tuesday, the top five paid applications were Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons, Angry Birds Rio, Fruit Ninja and Shazam Encore. The top five free apps were ZombieBooth, Angry Birds Seasons Free, Angry Birds Free, Amazon Mobile and Paper Toss.

Amazon has been trying to attract developers for some time. In January, the company launched a portal where developers can submit applications.

The app store is available to users in the U.S., excluding AT&T subscribers. However, AT&T is working to change that, and users can sign up at a website to be notified when the operator has finalized its plan, it said.

Amazon's use of the name Appstore hasn't gone unnoticed by Apple. On Friday, it sued Amazon, claiming rights to the name App Store.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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