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Amazon putting finishing touches on app store

The Android Market should see some of its fiercest competition in the coming weeks with the opening of the Amazon application store.

Amazon is counting on an exclusive Angry Birds: Rio launch to kick off their new app store. Amazon

The Android Market is about to face stiff competition in the next few weeks once the Amazon's app store goes live. In fact, the long awaited application distribution center may be the biggest competitor to the Google store, even more so than GetJar.

Earlier this week, Android users found that they could navigate their browser to amazon.com/apps where they would see a short list of apps and games. As initially discovered by AndroidNews, the Amazon store offered a few titles at prices lower than the Android Market, some as much as 40 percent less.

While most apps were just a few pennies cheaper than on the Android Market, other titles, such as Scan 2 PDF, were nearly half Google's asking price ($3.99 vs. $6.44). Generally speaking, though, the fifty plus listed apps were priced pretty consistenty.

Another interesting detail is that none of the apps listed on Amazon were free, What's more, the pricing ranges were seemingly random. Whereas one app might be marked at $1.49, another might be $1.50. This is noteworthy because it will be Amazon that determines the costs for apps here, not the developers.

The app store also offered a couple of titles that are currently not available through other channels, including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Force Recon. Likely to be a big seller among gaming enthusiasts, it's possible that Amazon will retain exclusive rights to the game. Should that be the case, we may see other games from Glu Mobile or Activision that don't exist elsewhere.

Along those lines, Amazon will be relying on an agreement with a major player in the Android space when the doors open. Officially announced earlier this week, Rovio Mobile will be offering Angry Birds: Rio exclusively through the Amazon store. Also, Android users will be able to purchase ad-free versions of the original Angry Birds and Angry Birds: Seasons, both of which have been previously unavailable.

Things are set to get interesting pretty quickly once Amazon enters the app fray. While the company has no experience in app distribution, it excela at discovery and recommendation. Google, on the other hand, has been doing this for a few years now, but only recently started offering up related apps and discovery. Both will no doubt teach the each other a thing or two with consumers winning out in the end.

I'll be interested to see what happens on a number of fronts. For instance, what about AT&T's restriction on loading apps from sources outside of the Android Market? And as for developers, I'd like to see how the Amazon store is better at helping them earn money for their apps.

Indeed, there are plenty of questions to be answered, all of which should come to a head in short order. Rio opens on April 15 so I imagine Amazon and Rovio will want to launch the game on time.