- Amazon, the e-commerce pioneer whose sales rose 34% to $43.7 billion in Q3 2017 from a year earlier, updated its Appstore for Android devices with a visual redesign and greater focus on Amazon Coins. The company's virtual currency was introduced in 2013 to encourage consumers to pay for apps and make in-app purchases, TechCrunch reported.
- The new Appstore has a tab labeled "Coins" that lets consumers buy the virtual currency in different packages, including discounts for bulk purchases. Amazon Coins have a base price of 100 coins for $1. Customers also earn promotional coins by buying apps and in-app items, and can spend them on the Appstore on the Amazon website, according to the company.
- App developers still receive a 70% royalty, even when the customer buys their app or in-app purchase using coins, TechCrunch reported. The Coins tab also shows the ways users can earn more Coins, giving developers increased exposure. The new Appstore is available on Android devices in 236 countries and territories.
Amazon's updated Appstore for Android shows that the company is trying to carve out a bigger slice of the mobile app market from rivals like Apple's App Store and Google Play, which have also undergone recent makeovers. Apple's iOS App Store was redesigned as part the update to iOS 11 last month, including a more seamless interface to help people find games and other kinds of apps. Google introduced a selection of "instant apps" that can be used without a download and other features like an improved Editor's Choice section and game hub.
Amazon Coins has been slow to gain traction among consumers their rollout in 2013. But, according to Amazon, using coins instead of dollars for apps and in-app purchases may take the sting out of consumers' spending cash. Coins' new prominent position in the Appstore is a move that appears to introduce the virtual currency to users that aren't yet familiar with it. Coins serve as a type of ad hoc loyalty rewards program that helps developers promote their apps while encouraging customers to stick with Amazon's Appstore instead of ditching it for competing platforms like Google Play.
Aside from the heavier emphasis on Coins, the Appstore's updated design features bigger carousel images to promote apps and horizontal navigation at the top for users to see personalized recommendations, top charts and games. A new "My Apps" tablets let mobile customers manage their downloaded apps and install updates without ever leaving the platform. Amazon told developers in an announcement that apps being distributed to "all other Android devices" don't need to be updated, and will be available in the Appstore. Developers also can choose the "all other Android devices" option in Amazon's developer portal.