Amazon Prepping Android App Store

Given that Amazon and its Kindle didn’t back down from Apple and its iPad, it shouldn’t come as a great shocker that Amazon similarly isn’t intimidated by Apple’s App Store.

This week, Amazon jumped into the app arena by formally launching an ambitious online marketplace with the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal. The store will go live and be open for business before the end of 2011.

On Wednesday, CNN Money referred to Amazon’s Android app store endeavor as “a savvy first step.”

Indeed, it is.

As opposed to Apple’s borderline obsessive tendencies regarding the “highly curated” and “controlled” iPhone app store, Google’s Android Market is a “wide-open Wild West, which allows creators to publish their apps without any vetting.”

Despite the more free-wheeling nature of the forthcoming Amazon App Store, the online retail giant will closely emulate Apple’s developer program. That is, Amazon will, in fact, have an approval process for listed apps. Additionally, Amazon will charge developers a $99 annual participation fee (although the first year is free).

With regard to profit-taking from applications purchased and downloaded, Amazon will capture a 30% cut of the sales price.

Free apps will also be available for download without charge.

“The sheer number of apps available today makes it hard for customers to find high-quality, relevant products — and developers similarly struggle to get their apps noticed,” Amazon said to developers upon announcement of the new venture. “The convenience of using an existing account will make it simple and easy for customers to purchase your apps — both online and on their mobile devices.”