Pando

The Kindle Fire Appstore is Better Than You Might Expect

By Trevor Gilbert , written on May 17, 2012

From The News Desk

There’s a division in the tech community as to which tablet platform should be developed for first: Fred Wilson says Android, while most companies go with iOS. All else comes last.

One platform that more people should consider is the Kindle Fire.

Technically speaking, the Fire is part of Android. However, it resides outside of the Google-dominated Android ecosystem and has forged its own path. This has put the Fire in a class all of its own. With the platform standing on its own two legs, should developers put resources behind it?

Todd Hooper of Zipline Games, a cross-platform developer of games and development tools, says there are a number of reasons that the Fire’s Appstore is better than competing app stores, and especially better than any Android alternative.

The first that Hooper gave, and which a number of other developers have supported, is that the Kindle Fire attracts a different audience than that of other Android tablets, and even an audience that Apple doesn’t cover, namely older people who have been loyal Kindle owners for years and have only now upgraded to the Fire.

Because they are older, the reasoning goes, they have a more discretionary income. By comparison, the iOS suite’s demographics are all over the place. Most of the games Zipline works with on iOS are owned by teenagers, who often don’t have much money to spend.

Hooper also says customers are used to buying content from Amazon. As much success as Apple has seen in the last five to eight years, the company wasn’t always in the content space, and it has had to build trust with retailers and consumers slowly over time. With Amazon, that trust relationship has existed for more than a decade. Few Americans don’t have an Amazon account.

That trust relationship extends to third-party developers, as they are able to sell applications and software with the Amazon seal of approval, further pushing sales.

While this news is great for game developers looking to expand the potential market size, does it extend to non-gaming apps for the Fire? I posed that question to a few well-known developers, and the consensus seems to be that the market is still in its early stages but is poised to take off.

“The Fire is still a very new platform” says Nate Weiner, founder of read-later app Pocket (formerly Read it Later). “But we've already seen a lot to show that it has great potential in the tablet space.”

Considering that Amazon has been late to the party in the electronics space, and that it already has the trust of customers, it seems a no-brainer to develop for the Fire platform. Combined with the strong rumor that Amazon is working on a smartphone, which would expand its Appstore marketbase, developers should see increasing returns from the platform. Apple’s iOS is still dominant, but when going cross-platform, you shouldn’t ignore Amazon.