Amazon Prime for apps is coming
Amazon is preparing a new app service for Android. It’s called Unlocked, and think of it as free Amazon Prime for apps. But there’s a catch. Apps that are given freely can also be taken away again.
Techcrunch reports that Amazon executives announced Unlocked as part of an internal presentation. The Unlocked service will allow users to download paid apps and in-app purchases for free, effectively ‘waiving’ the fee for the duration of a subscriber’s subscription to Unlocked.
According to the presentation, Unlocked will be heavily algorithm-based. The idea is to suggest and promote apps for Unlocked users to download. The rest of the Amazon Appstore for Android’s app library will be available to delve into if you want to, but it will be largely hidden from casual users.
For developers, Unlocked’s appeal is this. By opting into Unlocked, then opting out again later when enough users have downloaded their apps, developers will be able to monetize Unlocked customers who are already using their apps.
Essentially, then, Unlocked less “gives away” free apps than it does provide a demo period for Amazon apps. That doesn’t actually seem like a great deal for customers, who may have apps they thought were free taken away from them when they least expect it.
Even so, Amazon is trying something different here. Neither Google Play nor the App Store currently offer the ability for users to demo apps before paying for them. Amazon Unlocked, on the other hand, will let users try out a vast number of apps for free. As long as you know those apps can be taken away again, and treat it more as a demo storefront, it’s a good deal.