Is Amazon showing its Android hand with new app promo?

by Howard Wolinsky

There’s been loads of buzz over whether Amazon (AMZN) will take on Apple (AAPL) and its iPad with its own tab using Android’s OS from Google (GOOG).

The latest hint from the Amazon about its Android strategy is a promotion that began earlier this morning on the Amazon Appstore, which launched last month.

Consumers who purchase Android phones from Verizon Wireless (VZ) will receive $25 to spend on apps from the Amazon Appstore, The promotion will last this week and includes the new HTC (2498.TW) Thunderbolt, running on Verizon’s 4G network.

Amazon has not disclosed downloads, but the Amazon Appstore has nearly doubled its offerings to 7,500 apps in recent weeks. It is open to Verizon, Sprint (S) and T-Mobile subscribers with Android phones, but AT&T (T) has blocked its Android customers from joining in the Amazon Appstore fun, which includes a free download a day.

Tricia Duryee said in All Things D: “The promotion is designed to give Amazon’s Appstore… a boost. But it also hints at the company’s interest in Android and a broader strategy it could be pursuing.”

She said the promotion starts to focus Amazon’s interests in wireless and shows how Amazon potentially could drive its own sales. Android phones have been big sellers at the Amazon Wireless store.

The promo also shows how important the retailer could be to Google.

Electronista said: “Agreements like these aren't common, even for companies like Apple that both sell the phone and manage the app store, and suggest Amazon is hoping to kickstart downloads on its alternative to Android Market.”

Into Mobile said Amazon’s overall operation could benefit: “Consider the fact that Amazon also sells music, movies, and books. If Amazon just so happens to list those digital goods in their store one day, then they’ll expose millions of customers to content they didn’t even know was available to purchase in the first place.”