Amazon opens global Appstore by stealth

By Liam Tung on Sep 20, 2011 9:10 AM
Filed under Mobility

Users happy but no explanation given.

Amazon is staying tight-lipped as to why it opened its Android Appstore to the world without any notice. 

A direct channel to the store was made available to non-US customers on Monday evening via the Appstore app, a small .apk file.

Users would need to set the app to install apps from “Unknown Sources”.

The stealth international roll out means that Android users across the globe, including Australia, can enjoy features such as the free app of the day, previously restricted to US customers since the March launch.

For the time being, Australians can take advantage of the weak US dollar, since app prices have not been adjusted for non-US markets.

Android blog Ausdroid first reported Australians’ direct access to the store on Monday evening, noting that despite the warning the service was for US customers only, it accepted Australian addresses and credit card details.

“I tried to install this myself and it worked fine,” wrote Ausdroid’s Matt Booth.

Amazon also opened the gates to Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Europe, India, Africa, South America and Asia.

Previously, non-US users could access Amazon’s Appstore, but had to do so by establishing a US address, Tech Crunch pointed out

As theories emerged that Amazon may have made a mistake and that the app could be shut down, it issued a brief statement that gave nothing away.

We have not announced any plans for international expansion,” an Amazon spokesperson told Android Police on Monday

The move comes as Amazon gears up for the launch of its Android-powered tablet, which reportedly shares a similar look to Research in Motion's PlayBook

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