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Amazon Appstore’s first birthday marked by 31,000 available apps, week-long sale

by Phil Hornshaw

It has been a year since Amazon decided to jump into the Android game with both feet and create its Amazon Appstore. During that time, the online retailer has become a pretty powerful alternative to getting Android apps through Google.

In celebration of its one-year anniversary, the Amazon Appstore is offering a week-long sale on some of its most popular apps, as TechCrunch reports. Amazon also released some figures about the growth of its marketplace, which has increased from about 4,000 apps when it launched as a competitor to the Android Market, to more than 31,000 today.

The sale will start with Plants vs. Zombies, which is having its price cut 67 percent today. On day two of the sale, a pair of apps will be slashed. The third day will see three apps on sale, and so on. Amazon is also running a giveaway of its Kindle Fire tablet for the anniversary.

A lot more information is available on Amazon’s dedicated Appstore Birthday page, which runs down the sales and events and includes a lot of information about the store’s top sellers. Amazon didn’t release a total downloads figure – probably because it wouldn’t want its “millions of apps and games” to be compared to the 25 billion mark Apple just surpassed. But it did note several of the apps that have been downloaded the most times. On the paid list, Cut The Rope, Angry Birds and Where’s My Water? made up the top three; for free downloads, the winners were the ad-supported Angry Birds, Netflix and Solitaire.

Controversy has found the Amazon Appstore a few times since its launch, however. The company’s pricing practices for apps have upset several developers, as Amazon reserves the right to slash prices without warning or developer consent. It also was singled out for some of the terms it asked developers to agree to in terms of payment and control over the apps in the Appstore.

Still, it’s hard to deny that the Amazon Appstore is carving itself a piece of the Android pie. It’s certainly not as big a force as Google’s Android Market, but Amazon does have a direct line to its customers on the Kindle Fire, which took the second-place slot in terms of sales during the holiday quarter of 2011 behind Apple’s iPad. Certainly, Amazon is offering an alternative and at least some Android owners are making use of it.