This past week all the tech blogs were talking about the confirmed Amazon app store and concept Best Buy app store, but many of them failed to mention the real reason behind these alternatives to the Android Market that are popping up. If you read between the lines, I think it’s pretty obvious that both of these retailers are already working on their own Android tablets.
Google’s Developer Distribution Agreement for the Android Market has a non-compete clause which states, “You may not use the Market to distribute or make available any Product whose primary purpose is to facilitate the distribution of Products outside of the Market.” This means that when Amazon or Best Buy finally releases their app stores, they will have a difficult time getting them on existing devices.
The non-compete clause shouldn’t really matter because I believe the target market for these upcoming app stores will be new products and not existing devices. If a company is going to spend the time and money developing their own app store, then they must have their own devices where they make the rules (and the profit).
TechCrunch was the first to post the rumor that an Amazon tablet was coming and it makes perfect sense when you really think about it. Amazon’s site attracts nearly 80 million visitors each month and they have demonstrated their ability to move a branded device like the Kindle e-reader. If Amazon takes their moneymaking Kindle brand and slaps it on an Android tablet, they now have the perfect mobile platform to push their growing video-on-demand library, while also using their killer recommendation engine to sell apps and games.
Best Buy is another company where it just makes sense to have their own mobile device and the company CTO has tweeted they were working on a tablet. A report from FierceDeveloper states that “Best Buy accounts for close to 20 percent of consumer electronics sales in the U.S.” and they also operate 120 Best Buy Mobile locations across the United States. Now that Best Buy will begin selling 4G service through Clearwire, it is not too hard to imagine the retail giant pushing their own tablet with attached wireless service.
Whatever happens, I’m glad to see more competition for the official Android Market. Maybe it will motivate Google to hurry up and release that online Market we saw demonstrated back at Google I/O this summer.
Do you think Amazon or Best Buy could successfully market their own device and compete with Google’s official tablet offerings? What are your thoughts on the rapidly expanding list of alternative app stores?