Mega-sized online retailer Amazon launched an online app store last week, starting off with 3,800 apps--all for Android devices only. Of the total, 121 are health-focused, with 42 directly aimed at clinicians, and cost between 99 cents and $45, say reviewers at MedicalSmartPhones.com.
Amazon is a few steps behind its largest app competitor, Google Market, but company officials tell the San Francisco Chronicle that they can improve on the existing app store experience by offering users the ability to test-drive apps before buying, providing "you might like this" recommendations, and delivering advanced search capability.
And perhaps most important for health apps: Amazon will be testing all apps before making them available in the app store, to ensure they work as described, and to ensure they don't carry any viruses or malware. We'll be very interested to see which health apps survive Amazon's vetting (or don't)...and how that affects their availability.
Note: To access the app store from your smartphone or tablet, you have to download the mobile version of the site from Amazon.com/appstore.
One final aside: An emerging legal tussle could affect the store's official title. Apple just filed suit against Amazon (and other vendors) this week to stop them using the name "APP STORE," which Apple is attempting to trademark.
For more information:
SPOTLIGHT: Amazon Kindle shows promise as low-cost means of accessing medical literature
Smartphone apps moving into regulatory gray area