Amazon sets up shop for Web Apps

Amazon_120Amazon has announced that it will now be making “HTML5 Web Apps” available through its Appstore. But before you start packaging your web site into a commercial earner, there’s quite a few caveats to the term “Web App”. Firstly, the apps only come down the wire where there’s Appstore apps to sell them to you, so thats Kindle Fires and Android devices. No word on how the rest of the web is supposed to get access to these web apps.

Secondly, on Kindle, there’s a Chromium-based web runtime which apart from offering some of the usual HTML5 components and the ability to debug apps on-device, does seem to be missing out on webgl, ms pointer events, fullscreen API, camera and microphone access, accelerometer, geolocation, gyroscope and network controls on all the Kindle devices. Up front pricing for apps doesn’t seem to be on the agenda, but a JavaScript version of Amazon’s In-App Purchasing API is now available so app developers can slowly relieve the users of their money with funny money, virtual upgrades and subscriptions.

Still, Amazon does seem to be getting a foot in the door of “HTML5 Web App” publishing. The real question is… do customers actually want web apps. Amazon says it takes care of all the content delivery through the Appstore and will be listing the web apps next to the native apps in the store so they may be hoping that customers, not shown the difference, will not notice any difference. Let’s come back to that in three or four months and see how what review scores are like.