Android is open, and that’s been used as an excuse for a diverse number of claims and actions. The FCC cited it as a reason not to having net neutrality laws apply to the mobile web; analysts are pointing to Google’s open nature to show how they’re likely to overrun the iPhone through sheer numbers; and, most recently, Amazon is using it as a way to invade Google’s home territory.
According a report on Tech Crunch, the Amazonian marketplace for Android will be launched in 2011, and its developer access is already open. There’s little doubt that a second application marketplace within Android’s system will change the face of Google’s mobile OS, although how the shifts will help or hinder Google have yet to be seen.
Amazon’s approach to Android apps will be different than Google’s. Google’s approach tends to be letting applications into the marketplace with little more than a virus scan, with the thought that the garbage and gold will naturally separate as user reviews come in (and that glitched applications can always be removed when reported). Amazon, however, will be taking a more careful, approval-oriented pathway, requiring that developers seek Amazon approval before their apps can be sold. This guarantees that the applications can’t crash regardless of the Android device, that they have to be safe, and that their descriptions have to be accurate.
Will this bolster Google, or will it make them a prisoner on their own OS? On the one hand, the marketplace will be offering a new option that may draw in both more users and more developers, bringing the OS a greater level of popularity and appeal. On the other hand, it deprives Google of one of its major revenue stream options, and fragments the market even further.