Amazon has today announced the end of their ‘Amazon Underground Actually Free Program’, a program that offered users of their app store access to free apps and games.
The announcement says that submissions to Underground will stop being received on May 31st, 2017 with the developers still able to submit updates to apps registered in the program until the end of 2019. Amazon says that ‘access to the Underground Actually Free store through Amazon’s Appstore for Android devices will end in summer 2017’.
While on the surface a great idea, the limited access to the Amazon app store – you have to go to the Amazon website to download the APK for the app store and then side-load it – certainly limits the visibility to new customers.
Though we’ve been part of Amazons digital services roadmap for some time, with their recently announced intention to move into Australia in a big way in the near future, we’re keeping a closer eye on their services. Launched in 2015, the Amazon Underground service wasn’t really a big news story here, though there’s certainly users of Amazon’s service – especially those who took advantage of their free app of the day.
Regarding the future of free apps, in a statement to Android Police, Amazon said
the Appstore will continue operating normally going forward. Developers will be able to set prices for their apps or take advantage of other free programs like FreeTime Unlimited for kids.
The move of Amazon into Australia will see a lot more visibility of their services and likely their range of Fire tablets and devices. We’ll be following along what happens in their digital services as they go.