Skip to main content

Cheeky Amazon forced into launching new, stripped down Android app

amazon mobile app retailers android
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Amazon has been forced to remove its primary app from Google Play, and replace it with an alternative version. The main difference between the two is it’s no longer possible to access Amazon’s own Android Appstore through its app. The new Amazon app, called simply Amazon Shopping, lets you shop from the online store as usual — but nothing else.

Why? The story began back in September, when Amazon updated its Android app in the Google Play Store to include full access to its own application store. It didn’t make much noise about it, but anyone using the app could purchase and download Android apps from Amazon, rather than Google, without visiting the standalone, and side-loaded Amazon Appstore app.

At the end of September, Google changed a key section of its policy, stating apps couldn’t be used to distribute, or facilitate the distribution, of apps or games outside the Play Store. Previously, Google’s rules prohibited alternative app stores only, rather than those which offered such a service amongst other things. A loophole Amazon obviously chose to exploit. Prior to the September update, the policy read as follows:

4.5 Non-Compete. You may not use the Market to distribute or make available any Product whose primary purpose is to facilitate the distribution of software applications and games for use on Android devices outside of the Market.

After the update, it says the following:

4.5 Alternative Stores. You may not use the Store to distribute or make available any Product which has a purpose that facilitates the distribution of software applications and games for use on Android devices outside of the Store.

What’s an Amazon fan who wants to use the Appstore, watch Prime Instant Video, and shop from a single app to do now? The solution is to side-load Amazon’s own, complete app from its website. The app includes all of the above, except you’ll need yet another separate app to view Prime Instant Video, which is only available through Amazon’s own app store.

Amazon provides all the instructions to do this, and it’s relatively simple, but it’s still likely to be an annoyance for many people. It’ll probably frustrate Amazon too, because the more steps people have to follow to use its services, the more will decide not to do so. Google, on the other hand, will be pleased to send a competitor packing.

You can download the new Amazon Shopping app from Google Play here.

Editors' Recommendations

Andy Boxall
Senior Mobile Writer
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
Don’t update your Pixel phone — a new Android update might break it
Android 14 logo on the Google Pixel 8 Pro.

Android 14 introduced a host of convenient additions to Google’s Pixel phones, but a recent minor update has utterly broken the storage system for some users. Specifically, owners of the Google Pixel 6, Google Pixel 6 Pro, and Google Pixel 6a who run multiple profiles on their phones are reporting that their phones no longer have access to the storage pipeline for the main profile.

That means users are locked out of accessing the stored media and find themselves unable to add new files as well. A few users have reported on Reddit and Google’s official community forum that they can’t even click images using the camera app because it flashes an insufficient storage warning message. A few others say trying to install an APK package also returns a similar storage writing roadblock.

Read more
Motorola just launched 3 new Android phones, and they look incredible
Motorola Edge 40 Neo color choices.

Following Apple's recent iPhone 15 event, Motorola has launched a line of impressive new smartphones that offer sleek, modern designs at affordable prices. The Motorola Edge 40 Neo, Moto G84 5G, and Moto G54 5G are available in several markets, including the United Kingdom.

With a starting price of 300 British pounds ($375), the Motorola Edge 40 Neo is a slim device with curved edges and IP68 protection for added durability. It features a 50MP Ultra Pixel camera sensor with all-pixel focus technology, which should offer solid photo quality. The camera also provides 16x faster lowlight performance, making it perfect for nighttime photography.

Read more
I abandoned my iPad for an Android tablet and didn’t hate it
A person typing on a keyboard, connected to a Pixel Tablet.

Android tablets aren’t a patch on the Apple iPad, right? I mean, they don’t come close in app compatibility, performance, or versatility — making Android as an operating system good on phones, but disappointing on tablets. That’s the rule, and it’s one I have followed for some time.

At least, that was until I forced myself to live with and use the Google Pixel Tablet just like I do my iPad Pro. Would it change my mind? A bit, yes, but another Android tablet changed it more.
What does my tablet need to do?

Read more