By September 6, 2012

Amazon: New Fire Under Android Developers?

8-9-inch-kindle-fire-hdAmazon unveiled two new Kindle Fires today, adding 7-inch HD and 8.9-inch HD versions alongside a revamped version of the original tablet.

Amazon will offer a 16GB version of the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD for $199 and a 16GB, 8.9-inch version for $299. The revamped Fire drops to $159.

The retailer will also sell a 32GB Kindle Fire HD with 4G LTE connectivity for $499.

Those who spring for the 4G LTE version of the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD will pay $49.99 per year for 250MB of monthly data, 20GB of cloud storage, and a $10 Amazon Appstore credit.

The new hardware is cool, but it’s the later point that I find interesting.

One issue that’s plauged Android since its inception is the fact that Android phone and tablet users seem to be allergic to paying for apps. Android, so the thinking goes, is “free”, so apparently the apps should be free too.

This free-market mentality has had a direct impact on the health of Android software development. In short, many developers are on life support, forced to either stop charging for apps and switch to ad-supported or “freemium” models, or to abandon Android development entirely in favor of the much more lucerative Apple App Store.

At least, that’s how it was up until 11:00 today.

Because today Amazon announced that they’re going to take a significant chunk of change out of their annual subscription revenue and funnel it directly into the pockets of Android developers. Or to be more precise, directly into the pockets of the Kindle developers who choose to make their products and apps available on the Amazon Appstore.

Think about it. Amazon is effectively guaranteeing that money — actual cash money — will be available to Appstore developers.

It may not be a lot. Not at first. But as the ecosystem grows, it could cause developers to target Amazon’s Android platform first… and Google’s lackluster Nexus platform second.

Amazon is not playing around here.

Bezos argued during the presentation that Android tablets are floundering because they’re gadgets and people don’t want gadgets; “they want services.”

Services, and, it would seem, apps.

[Via Amazon]

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