Amazon shows HTML5 some love, letting devs charge for web apps in Android …

amznwebappAmazon announced today that developers of HTML5 mobile apps can now charge money for the apps distributed through the company’s Android AppStore.

While Amazon has allowed developers of web apps to publish them through the AppStore since August of last year, this is the first time the company has offered the ability to set a list price for an HTML5 app.

Along with the ability to charge money for their apps, HTML5 devs can now submit their apps to be featured as the Free App of the Day on Amazon’s service, which is designed to boost the visibility of great apps while providing a discount for people who frequently check Amazon’s storefront.

That’s good news for HTML5 developers, who often get the shorter end of the stick when it comes to producing apps for mobile platforms. One of the key benefits to building a mobile app in HTML5 is that it’s easier to create an offering that crosses platforms, like Android, iOS and Windows Phone, which is handy for people trying to reach a wide audience without expending a huge amount of time and energy on creating native experiences for every platform.

The change seems to be a part of the company’s push to make its mobile tools more developer-friendly, following Amazon’s launch of a re-designed developer portal earlier this month.

In light of rumors pointing to an Amazon smartphone, this change could help entice devs to create apps that also work on the Seattle-based company’s handset, rather than focus their efforts on another mobile platform. That’s key because one of the major differentiating factors between mobile platforms these days is whether or not they’re able to feature the apps that users want. Allowing devs to get paid for their HTML5 apps would definitely create an incentive to launch something on an Amazon smartphone, if one launches.

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Blair Hanley Frank is GeekWire’s Bay Area Correspondent. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril and can be reached by email at

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