Amazon launched its Appstore in Australia last week, but it wasn't made clear how we could take advantage of this new source of freebies and discounted apps. While Amazon's Appstore is essentially an Android app in itself, you can't get it from Google Play. Here's how to get started.
If you know how to download apps from Google Play, you won't have any trouble with Amazon's Appstore. But you need to get it set up first.
1. If you don't have an Amazon account yet, go and get one. Have your Amazon account details ready (email address and password).
2. On your Android device, go to Settings > Security. Make sure the checkbox for "Unknown sources" is ticked. (If you don't see this option, check under Settings > Applications instead.)
3. Open the browser on your Android device. Go to amazon.com.au/download and tap the download button. If you get a warning popup message, press OK.
4. You should see "AmazonApps-release.apk" in your pull-down notifications. Once it has finished downloading, tap on it to start the installation. Read the conditions of installation, then tap on "Accept".
5. The installation should only take a few seconds. Tap "Open".
6. Sign in with your Amazon account details and start exploring the different apps, categories and menu options.
You'll find the Amazon Appstore in your app drawer as "Appstore". Don't forget to go back into Settings and uncheck the "Unknown sources" box if that's how you want it.
Google Play Store or Amazon Appstore?
Apart from very different colour schemes, there are some important differences between the two app stores. Firstly, not all apps are available in both stores. Google has over 800,000 apps, while Amazon offers around 86,000. So while Google offers more choice, there's often a lot of junk you have to filter through to get to the gems. And while both stores offer apps, games, books and magazines, only Google sells music and movies too.
The Amazon Appstore has specialised categories that Google Play doesn't have. For instance, Amazon has a "City Info" category separate from the "Travel" category, while Google just shoves those apps under a broader "Travel & Local" category. Oddly enough, Amazon is better than Google at helping you find specific apps. Amazon's Appstore lets you filter and sort results in a variety of ways, while the Play Store app doesn't offer any way to refine your search, despite the fact that it really needs one. Google's Play Store website does offer a few ways to filter results, but they're nowhere near as useful as the options you'll find on Amazon's Appstore website.
Refunds are harder to get from Amazon. Google gives you 15 minutes to decide whether you want to keep a paid app or not, while Amazon doesn't offer an official refund process. So be sure of what you want if you're purchasing an app from the latter. If you're unsure, it's worth checking to see if you can get it from the Play Store.
Neither Google nor Amazon make it easy to find discounted Android apps. Amazon offers one free app every day, while Google usually leaves it up to individual developers to discount and promote their own apps. Amazon also has a "Deals" category that lists some discounted apps, but you have to go to the website to access it, and the discounts are by no means exclusive or amazing.
You can also follow each store's Facebook and Twitter accounts for the latest app deals. Alternatively, you can get the discounts to come to you with our daily roundup of the best app deals.
What are your impressions of the Amazon Appstore so far? Is it worth having alongside Google's Play Store app? Let us know in the comments.