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Android games are marketing fodder for Amazon and other alternative app stores

by Kristen Nicole

Android’s OS hasn’t always been the premier spot for game developers, but that’s all starting to change. Improvements made to the SDK, along with support from a growing alternative market, all validate the Android platform, luring developers, publishers and advertisers away from Apple’s iOS. Amazon (AMZN) and GetJar are two companies seeking an alternative market strategy, facing critique and a competitive landscape as they grow their Android presence.

Alternative Android game markets

The long-awaited Amazon Appstore has launched today, revealing another point of distribution for popular apps, including Angry Birds. As typical price-cutting tactics go, Amazon’s offering a premium app free, every day. On launch day, you’ll find Angry Birds Rio as the free download, saving gamers 99-cents. Games is also the top featured category in the new Amazon Appstore, offering game publishers prime placement for their apps. The marketing ploy, along with Amazon’s other customer service standards, could make its app store a highly individualized alternative to Google’s (GOOG) own Market.

Game publisher GetJar has also made a name for itself by offering premium games for free, and it’s done quite well with its alternative game portal. Looking to extend that, Business Wire reports that GetJar will “aggressively expand its offering to Android publishers in order to secure its position as the premier ‘open’ Android Market alternative.” That should work well for GetJar, considering its expectations around Android’s platform reach. A recent survey from GetJar indicates that Android will become a preferred OS over Apple’s (AAPL), trumping them 2-to-1.

Android SDK & high-end phones

GetJar and Amazon may be ambitious about Android’s potential, but their faith in games is an omen for success. It wouldn’t be possible without the ongoing upgrades made to Android’s platform and tools. PC World recently outlined the bulk of improvements made to Android’s platform and devices, noting game-optimized dual-core chips, high-resolution displays and built-in gyroscopes to help drive this run-away industry.

T-Mobile’s latest Android smartphone, the LG G2x, is one such device that’s ready for gamers. Featuring a dual-core CPU, the G2x flaunts an NVIDIA (NVDA) Tegra 2 mobile processor and a well-rendered 4-inch display. The device is even preloaded with popular games, including Need for Speed SHIFT HD.