Amazon Releasing ‘Unlocked’: Paid Apps are Now Free
According to TechCrunch, Amazon gave a private presentation in which it revealed a new Amazon service called ‘Amazon Unlocked.’ Similar to the Amazon Appstore, Amazon Unlocked will give away free Android apps that were normally paid for. This means that users will be able to get many apps that are normally paid for on the Google Play Store, for free.
You might be thinking: doesn’t amazon already have an app store which gives away free apps that were normally paid? Well, yes. However, the Amazon Appstore does this by giving away one free app a day, which was normally paid for on Google Play. What the Amazon Unlocked app will do is have a large selection of apps that were normally paid for, instead of just one per day.
This sounds like a feature that will be available to Amazon Prime members, meaning, if one has a subscription to Amazon Prime, they will be able to download Amazon Unlocked for free. However, the domain of users who are eligible to get Amazon Unlocked was not revealed. This could be an option for only Amazon Prime members, or this anyone with an Android phone. Currently, the Amazon Appstore is available to anyone with an Android phone.
The workflow to download an app from Amazon Unlocked is as followed:
- Users clicks a link to an app available on Amazon Unlocked. Or, users browse Amazon Unlocked app store to find the app their desired.
- User clicks ‘Download the Amazon App.’
- User follows a 3-step process to allow ‘Unknown sources’ to download on their Android device. (Google disables this by default on some devices. This is done only once.)
- The selected app begins to download (perhaps as an apk file).
- User launches the app.
Sonic Dash, a game available on the Google Play Store, seemed to be the primary app Amazon demoed in their presentation, though they demoed many others too.
Once the app is downloaded, the user can launch the app as if they downloaded it from the Google Play store. After the app is downloaded, it will appear as a normal app sitting on their device. When the app launches, however, an Amazon Unlocked screen will display before the app actually begins its normal functionality.
Once the user launches the app, everything will go as normal. However, they can further their advantage of Amazon Unlocked by also getting free in-app purchases. Yes. Not only are the apps free, but also the in-app purchases. So the entire app is free, including what ever they would purchase inside of it.
When compared to purchasing an app on the Google Play Store, the app (as well as the in-app purchases) is with the owner of the account, so as long as the app is still part of Amazon Unlocked. This means that if Amazon decides to remove it from Amazon Unlocked, or the user is no longer part of Amazon Unlocked (whatever that means), then further in-app downloads are no longer free if they normally cost money. The user will only have what they purchased at the time of when they were able to download the app from Amazon Unlocked. Further downloads are still available to the user, but everything that was free will now have to be paid for.