Amazon Underground offers completely free apps

AmazonUnderground

Amazon Underground is a new Amazon Android shopping app that offers thousands of free apps and games, here “free” means completely free, even the in-game purchase is free. So if you install an free app or game with in-game purchase option, then you don’t even need to pay the in-game purchase. That sounds too good to be true? But it is true. So you may ask, “what is the catch then?” Well the only catch is that you will need to install the new Amazon app, not the one you get from Google Play store. You will need to go to http://www.amazon.com/underground, then download a .apk file and install it. Also, Amazon Underground is only available for Android devices.

To test out the new Amazon Underground, I installed the app and then installed the famous game Fruit Ninja. Fruid Ninja is free to play and supports in-game purchase, so after I launched the game, I headed over to make some in-game purchases to see if they are really free as advertised. Sure enough they are free. I made about 20 purchases of Gold Apples and Cart of Starfruit and the total cost is zero, just as advertised. Now I feel so rich.

AmazonUnderground_FruitNinjaGoldApples

AmazonUnderground_FruitNinjaStarfruit

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AmazonUnderground_FruitNinja

So if the apps in Amazon Underground are completely free, then how do the developers get paid? Well, Amazon will pay them based on how long customers are using their apps, which means you are required to allow Amazon to collection your app usage information. According to Amazon:

To use Amazon Underground apps and in-app items you are required to enable the “Collect App Usage Data” setting on your device. This allows you to download and use Amazon Underground apps, games, and in-app items for free.

But what can Amazon benefit from this? I think Amazon is trying to use Amazon Underground to attract more users and hoping that some of the users will eventually upgrade to Amazon Prime members. So to me it is a very bold and smart move, and it is win-win.

How about you? Do you think Amazon Underground is a good move to both app developers and users? Can it be a big challenge to Google Play?

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