U.S. Cellular launches curated Android menu in Amazon Appstore

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U.S. Cellular is teaming with Amazon's Appstore for Android to offer a curated application menu available exclusively to the regional operator's subscribers.

Available now on most of U.S. Cellular's Android devices, the customized Appstore menu features dozens of apps that are all pre-screened and approved by the carrier. Spotlighted apps span categories including games, business tools and social media services. U.S. Cellular will continue adding to the menu on a regular basis.

U.S. Cellular preloads the original Amazon Appstore for Android app on most of its Android handsets. The operator also preloads the Kindle for Amazon, Amazon Mobile and Amazon MP3 apps. U.S. Cellular serves 5.8 million subscribers across 26 states.

In related news, Amazon introduced Test Drive for Android, enabling Appstore for Android users to trial selected applications on their smartphone prior to purchase.

Rolling out in conjunction with the new Amazon Appstore for Android 2.6.53 update, Test Drive leverages the digital retailer's Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud servers to enable on-device tests. When a consumer launches a Test Drive version of an app or game, the EC2 servers also go into action--all taps, swipes and user interactions are sent to the cloud, and all corresponding display and audio outputs are transmitted back to the device. Shoppers may purchase an app at any point during the trial.

Amazon first introduced Test Drive as a PC-only feature in early 2011, coinciding with Appstore for Android's commercial launch. PCWorld reports that Amazon currently offers more than 5,000 Test Drive-enabled apps for phones, with a green Test Drive product page button indicating which apps are included. For now, on-device trials are limited to Android apps that integrate basic touchscreen features and device accelerometers, sidestepping apps that rely on advanced features like multi-touch capabilities, microphone, camera, gyroscope, near-field communications and GPS.

Both the U.S. Cellular menu and Test Drive further differentiate Amazon Appstore for Android from the rival Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play storefront, which offers consumers a 15-minute app refund policy. Developers generate substantially greater revenues per user in Amazon Appstore for Android than in Google Play according to recent data published by app store analytics firm Flurry: For every $1 generated by Apple's pace setting App Store for iOS, Amazon Appstore yields an average of $0.89 per user, while Google Play earns developers just $0.23 per user. Flurry credits Amazon Appstore's success to the company's digital retail expertise, noting that Google's strengths are its search tools and advertising technologies.

For more:
- read this release
- read this PCWorld article

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