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Google, Amazon and the Android Mobile Application Market

Published on July 22, 2011
Tags: Mobile Application Development

More than a billion people in the world use services provided by Google. Commonly, these include the world-famous Google search engine and sites under its ownership, such as YouTube, as well as the increasingly popular Google Chrome web browser. Google currently also dominates the Android market, and essentially has unilateral control over it. In more recent developments, the company launched its new social networking site, Google+, only three weeks ago and it has already almost reached the twenty million user landmark.

All of this goes to show just how big Google is and how far reaching its influence is in the world of the web and other technological matters. There have been a few points of contention along the way, such as US courts ruling that the company should halt its attempts to create the biggest online library ever, and challenges made to the EU over the company’s dominance of the search market.

Now it appears as though Amazon is set to challenge Google by launching its own tablet computer, using Android technology. Rumours have been building for a while that Amazon is intending to launch its own tablet, and a week ago it appeared to become more certain, with some suggesting that the tablet could even launch before October. On the face of it, this seems to be more of a direct challenge to Apple and its iPad than it does to Google, but when you take into account Google’s control over the Android market it raises questions for the search giant as well.

One of the issues is that Google has reportedly stopped other hardware manufacturers from competing with its own Android devices. However, Amazon has got its own mobile app store, which enables it to cut out Google and instead sell features such as messaging and search to the highest bidder (such as to Bing, for example). This would help, in theory, to cut down on the cost of the hardware, as would the fact that Amazon could afford to sell the hardware for a lower price, knowing they could make up the cost on software and other content instead.

If the Amazon tablet is released as is suggested that it will be, and if it proves to be a success, this could inspire other manufacturers to make use of the Amazon app store. The thinking here is that Amazon has got considerable retail experience and so would be able to make the tablet and its app store more profitable than apps have proved to be for Google.

The effect of all of this would be to challenge Google’s dominance in one area of its operations, but there are a few snags that Amazon would need to work out before its proposed tablet could be a proper success. One of the biggest challenges is the fact that the Amazon app store is currently only available in the United States, and it would naturally take time for it to re-develop and alter it so that it was suitable for other regions, which often have in place considerably different regulations and policies governing such software.

Another challenge is that the Amazon app store might need to spend slightly more time on development to work out some of the issues that have previously been raised, such as the fact that some third-party developers find it frustrating: if they were going to offer a comprehensive, user-friendly app service, this would definitely need to be worked out.

So, the issue is not without its challenges and it is nowhere near a certainty that the rumoured Amazon tablet will have the impact that is hoped by some (or even that it will be released by October, as has been suggested). However, it does show burgeoning competition in a market that has gone relatively unchallenged up until now and it also shows that, no matter how well Google performs and no matter how it expands into new areas such as social networking, it is not the only player on the field.

Whatever happens, tablet computers are rapidly becoming more popular: last year, Apple sold 3,000,000 iPads in just 80 days. BlackBerry manufacturer RIM has also released its own tablet computer and more are surely on the way from elsewhere. Amazon is sure to face many challenges in its attempts to break into this market, let alone when challenging Google’s dominance of the Android market, but it just goes to prove that Google still can’t afford to ignore its competitors, however successful it becomes.

By Chelsey Evans

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Commented on January 17, 2012

Whatever happens, tablets and smartphones are quickly becoming more popular now dayss

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