It’s still about the ecosystems, and Amazon is holding serve

It’s still about the ecosystems, and Amazon is holding serve

Feb 9, 2018

Remember back when Amazon released the Fire Phone? That Android-flavored smartphone most pundits called a flop? Yes, don’t pretend. You dissed it too.

What about the Amazon Appstore? It was appreciated, but with developers less likely to put their apps on it versus the Play Store, it was always gonna be a tough sell. Hey, at least the Fire Tablets have been doing well, right? Either way, for all its financial acumen, we couldn’t help but wonder if Amazon would really become that other ecosystem consumers deserved. I mean, Apple, Google, Samsung et al. weren’t taking naps at the time, either.

Somehow, we practically missed her until she was right on top of us: Alexa.

Hey, nothing has changed. It’s all about the ecosystems, and Amazon seems to be pace setter, especially from a mindshare perspective. In this race, mindshare is gold.

With the connected smarthome being the new frontier, being in front early is important. When it comes to consumer adoption, it’s not always about who has the best product on the market, but rather who has the most recognizable one. When your grandma makes fun of friends who use Alexa, Amazon smiles because it knows it has a future customer.

Don’t cry too hard for Apple. It has become great at sitting back and perfecting technology rather than necessarily introducing it.

One thing’s for sure: consumer wins.


Amazon is shuttering Underground

Amazon is shuttering Underground

Apr 29, 2017

Amazon Underground, an interesting concept that had Amazon offering apps for free — as in “completely free” (no purchase or IAP costs) — will be sunsetting support 2019.

The underlying idea was indeed innovative, especially with regards to app environments, when it launched in 2015, Amazon essentially provided the apps for free, and developers were compensated based on how much time users spent in the app.

After May 2017, no more apps will be accepted. We look forward to seeing if the Amazon Appstore will return to its pre-Underground form.

[via Amazon Developer Blog]

Get Ready: Amazon Digital Day is Coming!

Get Ready: Amazon Digital Day is Coming!

Dec 20, 2016

Amazon looks to be taking seasonal discounts past Christmas with its upcoming Amazon Digital Day.

On December 30th, the behemoth e-tailer is unveiling a host of digital content — available at discounts of up to 50%.

What will be available? We hear more 1,000 digital pieces, including applications, music, movies, software, video games and electronic books.

Amazon was kind enough to send over a fairly extensive sneak peek:

Pass the Popcorn – Movies, TV and music favorites at up to 50% or more off
§ Up to 50% off hundreds of the year’s top movies and TV shows

§ Top Albums for $5 from various artists including Gunslinger by Garth Brooks

§ Save 50% off annual subscription for UFC FIGHT PASS
§ 50% off Annual Plex Pass (savings of $19.99)
§ Receive $10 towards an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription, the new on-demand full catalog streaming service – Only new subscribers are eligible for this deal

Dollar Deals – Favorites for under $1
§ Popular kids apps including Sesame Workshop, Dr. Panda and Toca Boca titles all discounted to $0.99
§ Popular Digital Comics series such as Runaways Vol. 1: Pride and Joy (List price $8.79)

Best of 2016 – Top rated items at great prices
§ Up to 75% off eBooks from top 2016 Kindle Authors including James Patterson, Michael Connelly, and Nicholas Sparks
§ 95% off OfficeSuite Premium Subscription (regular price $19.99)
§ $10 off your first three rides with Lyft ($30 value)

Family Time – Great deals for the whole family
§ 33% off subscription to Amazon Rapids – a new app that offers a playful approach to children’s reading (introductory monthly price $1.99 per month)

Game On – Get your game on at prices you’ll love
§ New and existing player discounts and exclusive IAP item for Game of War and Mobile Strike
§ Enjoy 33% off popular console games including Titanfall 2 and FIFA 17
§ Up to 80% off on hundreds of video game titles such as Saints Row IV and Fallout 4
§ 200% extra coin bonus in House of Fun Slots and other great casino game deals
§ Up to 83% off life points in The Sims Freeplay & 60% off New Year’s buildings in SimCity BuildIt

50% off or More – Twice the entertainment, half the price
§ First month free and 50% off next 5 months subscription of Daily Burn exercise channel on Fire TV ($37 savings)
§ Marvel Collections Sale: Up to 75% off more than 300 graphic novels – Wolverine: Old Man Logan, Dr. Strange Vol.1 and more.

Sounds like an interesting selection.

Amazon Appstore Director Aaron Rubenson talks about Digital Day’s usefulness. “Amazon Digital Day is designed to help customers find great digital content from videos and music to games and apps,” he says. “Whether you received a new device this holiday, or just want to update content on your current devices, Amazon Digital Day is one of the best times of the year to shop for must-have digital content.”

As noted, December 30th is the day. In true Amazon fashion, there will be some early specials starting on December 24th, but the bulk of the goodies will be available on the 30th.

Additionally, customers can visit the Digital Day link to sign up for updates.


Closure (Jack Randall Series Book #1) is Free on Google Play and Kindle Store

Closure (Jack Randall Series Book #1) is Free on Google Play and Kindle Store

Feb 10, 2016

Jack Randall fans — current and future — will like that the first book in the detective series, Closure, is currently free on Google Play Books and Kindle Store.

When a prominent lawyer is shot while waiting at a suburban stop sign it sets off a nation-wide manhunt for an elusive killer. Special Agent Jack Randall of the FBI finds himself appointed to track down and stop the shooter. Not by his superiors, but by the killer himself.

As more bodies fall the shooter takes his message to the press, earning the support of the public with his choice of targets and confounding the FBI at every turn. From the desert of Nevada to the urban jungle of New York City, Jack and his team follow the trail of bodies and haunting messages left behind by the killer. With the pressure to find him mounting on Jack, the assassin’s crimes grow bolder, and his message more sinister and closer to home.

It becomes clear to Jack that in order to find the shooter, he may have to look inside his own past, and become the man he was years ago.

The book is usually priced at $5.00 on Google Play.

Amazon Underground Announces Growth, Triples Selection in First Two Months

Amazon Underground Announces Growth, Triples Selection in First Two Months

Nov 11, 2015

Amazon Underground, the mammoth online retailer’s upending app distribution initiative, is showing some impressive growth.

First, in three months, its selection has tripled in size since inception, which is pretty amazing. Also, prominent developers are noting increased downloads and revenue due to the program.

Per the official press release:

Amazon today announced that Amazon Underground has tripled the selection of free apps and games in the first two months since launch. Amazon Underground is a new app for Android phones, available exclusively from Amazon, which offers a large selection of popular apps and games for free (including in-app items). In Underground, customers don’t have to pay for premium apps, or download a “free” app and spend money to complete a level, get more lives, or unlock new features. Everything is completely free. Popular new games now available include premium title Monument Valley (includes Forgotten Shores update for a total value of $5.98), and free-to-play titles Nemo’s Reef (includes $47.88 in free in-app items) and Dumb Ways to Die 2 (includes over $10 in free in-app items).

Amazon Underground launched in August and includes all of the functionality of the regular Amazon mobile shopping app, plus an exclusive selection of 100% free apps, games, and associated in-app items, including popular games like Angry Birds Slingshot Stella, Goat Simulator, Frozen Free Fall, Looney Tunes Dash! and many more. For example, in Frozen Free Fall—an app that is free to install and usually requires in-app purchases to unlock additional levels—customers can play with unlimited lives and will receive many bonus in-app items in the Amazon Underground version of the app completely free ($31.87 value). Premium games (like Goat Simulator which costs $4.99 in other app stores) that require a customer to pay to download are also free in Amazon Underground. Amazon Underground is available on Android phones and on Fire tablets, including the all-new Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10, and Fire, the groundbreaking new tablet for under $50.

The feedback from development houses is positive. Halfbrick Studios chief Shainiel Deo talks about two of his firm’s apps. “We’ve been thrilled with the performance of Jetpack Joyride and Fruit Ninja as part of the Amazon Underground program in the month since launch,” he says. “Thus far we have doubled the downloads and revenue from our apps in the Amazon Appstore and most interestingly, customers are engaging with our in-app purchase content within our games at an extremely high rate. Since all in-app purchases are free in Amazon Underground, they can play the games in new and exciting ways.”

Rovio’s Tero Raji concurs. “We included four of our popular titles in Amazon Underground at launch, aimed at reaching as many fans as possible in the Amazon ecosystem,” he says. “In these games, the Amazon Underground model brings us up to three times more revenue compared to the same games’ user revenue in the Amazon Appstore previously.”

Amazon Underground is available online and via app at


[via Press Release]

Amazon Introduces Underground, A Collection of Truly Free Apps

Amazon Introduces Underground, A Collection of Truly Free Apps

Aug 26, 2015

Amazon is never scared to try something new, and its latest endeavor in the area of Android apps underscores this. Amazon Underground is a new service — presented as an app — that provides a selection of collated apps that are truly free.

And by “free,” Amazon does mean just that. The apps showcased therein are completely free, upfront-wise AND with regards to in-app content.

We’re talking about $10,000 in apps and content.

What’s really interesting, beyond the actual announcement, is how Amazon is achieving this. How is it offering unique apps like Goat Simulator, Where’s My Mickey?, Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions and more completely free? Well, it’ using a new model of reimbursement in which developers are being paid based on how often their games are played.

That’s right: Amazon is picking up the tab.

To access the apps, all one has to do is look for the categorized apps on the Amazon Appstore from a computer; they will be denoted by a special “Actually Free” banner. Alternatively, one can simply download the new Amazon Underground app to one’s Android device.

[via Amazon Underground Informational]

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Book The Color Purple on Sale on Google Play and Amazon

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Book The Color Purple on Sale on Google Play and Amazon

Jun 29, 2015

Fans of Alice Walker’s iconic book The Color Purple can pick up a copy of the electronic version for only $0.09 on Google Play Books and Amazon.

Yes, you read right: 9 cents.

Celie has grown up in rural Georgia, navigating a childhood of ceaseless abuse. Not only is she poor and despised by the society around her, she’s badly treated by her family. As a teenager she begins writing letters directly to God in an attempt to transcend a life that often seems too much to bear. Her letters span twenty years and record a journey of self-discovery and empowerment through the guiding light of a few strong women and her own implacable will to find harmony with herself and her home.

The Color Purple’s deeply inspirational narrative, coupled with Walker’s prodigious talent as a stylist and storyteller, have made the novel a contemporary classic of American letters.

The e-book features a new introduction written by the author to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the book as well as an illustrated biography of the author.

For those that are interested, Google Play Books also has The Color Purple Collection (three novels: The Color Purple, The Temple of My Familiar, and Possessing the Secret of Joy) on sale as well, for the astounding price of only 0.17.

There’s no telling how long the sale will last, do get in while the gettin’ is good.

[Source: Google Play Books and Amazon via]

Amazon Offers Up Yet Another Premium App Bundle for Free

Amazon Offers Up Yet Another Premium App Bundle for Free

May 14, 2015

Amazon has gone live with yet another massive free app bundle.

The current batch of apps are ordinarily premium apps, and include fan favorites like SUPER WHY ABC Adventures: Alphabet, Grudgeball: Enter the Chaosphere, Bloons TD 5, Game of Thrones, Five Nights at Freddy’s 3, Sorcery! 3 and many more. Altogether, one gets 38 apps worth more than $110:

Available Apps for Free
Game Of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series
Five Nights at Freddy’s 3
Bloons TD 5
Bike Race Pro
Angry Birds Seasons HD (Kindle Tablet Edition) (Pictured)
Sorcery! 3
Toca Kitchen (Kindle Tablet Edition)
Cooking Dash Deluxe
Photo Studio PRO
Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson
Grudgeball: Enter the Chaosphere
Angry Birds Seasons (Ad-Free)
Sago Mini Space Explorer
Time Mysteries 2: The Ancient Spectres
AVG AntiVirus PRO Android Security
Empress of the Deep: The Darkest Secret
Alarm Clock Xtreme & Timer
Star Traders 4X Empires Elite
Star Command
Mirroring360 – AirPlay Receiver
Xtralogic Remote Desktop Client
Mini Golf Mundo
PicShop – Photo Editor
Perfectly Clear
SUPER WHY ABC Adventures: Alphabet
Smart Office 2
Daily Expense Manager PRO
Peppy Pals Beach – Fun EQ for Kids
Language Coach
Genius Scan+
Fleksy Keyboard
Royal Envoy (Premium)
G-Stomper VA-Beast Synthesizer
Highrise Word Heroes+
My Weekly Budget – MyWB
True Booster | Speed Cleaner

The current bundle runs from today through May 16th.


G5 Games Brings Hidden Object Thriller The Secret Society to Amazon Fire TV

G5 Games Brings Hidden Object Thriller The Secret Society to Amazon Fire TV

May 6, 2015

We’ve really raved about Amazon Fire TV for several reasons, and now, prolific game publisher G5 Entertainment is giving us another reason: The Secret Society – Hidden Mystery is now available to be played Amazon Fire TV.

This means folks with Amazon’s set top box can play the game on the big screen using a game controller, which makes it potentially even more engaging.

The Secret Society® – Hidden Mystery is a blend of point and click, hidden objects and brain teaser puzzles. In the game you join the Order of Seekers, a secret society of people with a unique ability to move inside magic worlds. You travel through photographs in search for clues to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of your missing uncle and remove the dangers threatening the entire Secret Society. You will look for myriad of clues in photographs you move within. These clues, if gathered together with others, will expand even further the world you’re traveling and serve to help you unravel the mysteries you’re tasked with. Some of these puzzles are harder than others, but on the whole, you will find The Secret Society – Hidden Mystery polished and addictive.

The game is free to try on the Amazon App Store.

[Source: G5 Press Release]

Disruptor Beam Brings Game of Thrones Ascent on Amazon Appstore

Disruptor Beam Brings Game of Thrones Ascent on Amazon Appstore

May 1, 2015

Great news for Fire device owners.

Game of Thrones Ascent is available to folks with compatible devices attached to the Amazon Appstore now, courtesy of Disruptor Beam.

The game brings the popular book series and TV show to mobile gaming, bringing quests and close matching with the current season, as underscored in the press release excerpt below:

With Game of Thrones Ascent, fans can immerse themselves beyond the books and show, living the life of a noble, working with (or against) each other in a persistent, authentic game world. Taking part in thousands of story-driven quests, players delve deeply into the lore and develop their own lands and reputation among the Great Houses. The game also syncs up with Season 5 episodes of the show with new content released each week.

As noted, the game is available now on the Amazon Appstore, for free (with in-app purchasing). An updated trailer is below.

Amazon Unveils New Unlimited Cloud Storage Options

Amazon Unveils New Unlimited Cloud Storage Options

Mar 26, 2015

Amazon is expanding its cloud storage options for folks looking for unlimited options; it just announced two tiers and matching pricing plans.

The first option will be of interest to folks looking to offload a ton of images. The Unlimited Photos Plan will charge $11.99, and gives folks the option of uploading current collections and all future images, freeing up valuable device space. As an added bonus, subscribers to this plan get 5 GB of storage for other things like documents.

The second option rings up at $59.99, and allows a myriad of unlimited data beyond just photos to be stored. In other words, movies, files, music and more can all be packed in without worrying about limits.

Each option offers a free 3-month trial.

Amazon’s Cloud Storage Director Josh Petersen talks up the secure affordability. “Most people have a lifetime of birthdays, vacations, holidays, and everyday moments stored across numerous devices. And, they don’t know how many gigabytes of storage they need to back all of them up,” he says. “With the two new plans we are introducing today, customers don’t need to worry about storage space—they now have an affordable, secure solution to store unlimited amounts of photos, videos, movies, music, and files in one convenient place.”

According to the press release, Amazon Prime members and folks who own Amazon Fire device can choose to subscribe to the Unlimited Everything Plan for the extra document storage. Existing Cloud Drive customers can upgrade b signing into their accounts.

The Amazon Cloud Drive app is available on Amazon Appstore and Google Play.


[Source: Amazon Cloud Press Release]

King of Thieves Launches as Amazon Appstore Exclusive

King of Thieves Launches as Amazon Appstore Exclusive

Feb 28, 2015

ZeptoLab has a new game out called King of Thieves.

Dodge traps and steal gold from other players in this unique mix of platformer and PVP multiplayer game. Introducing King of Thieves, the new game from the makers of award-winning Cut the Rope, loved by millions of players worldwide!

STEAL SHINY THINGS. Collect gold and gems from other players to become the wealthiest thief in the world!
DEFEND YOUR LOOT. Design your dungeons and watch other thieves getting into your traps. Muhaha!
CLAIM THE THRONE. Compete with other players worldwide, leaving your rivals on the bottom of leaderboards.
GET CRAFTY. Create new outfits for your character. The most nifty thieves should look really cool!
TRAVEL AND EXPLORE. Test your agility through 80 single-mode levels or dive into the underground world of user generated content.
CREATE AND JOIN GUILDS. Find reliable allies to stand against hostile guilds of thieves!

The game is available for free (with in app purchases) exclusively on the Amazon Appstore.