Why is there no Android app for Amazon Instant Video?
Consumers have a rich selection of services for TV and movie content: iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, and I'm sure there are more I'm forgetting. Some of these are tied to hardware (like iTunes) and others try to be agnostic in this regard.
My service of choice is Amazon Prime Instant Video. Amazon Prime is a $79 annual membership that gives you 2-day shipping on most items you buy from the retailer, allows you "to stream thousands of movies and TV shows" and access to the Kindle Lending Library with thousands of books.
When I first joined Amazon Prime I was thinking mostly of the 2-day shipping, but my whole family quickly fell in love with the video. I watch the service on desktop PC and Mac, on our iPad, even on the Wii U. And then there's the Google Nexus 7 tablet I have. No-go for Amazon Prime Instant Video there.
Go to the Google Play store and there's no app for Amazon Prime Instant Video. Go in the browser to the website and it doesn't work, at least not on Android 4.0+, because the web version requires Adobe Flash, and there is no Flash for Android client anymore. Developers typically deal with this problem by writing their Flash software as an application/app using Adobe Air, which embeds a Flash runtime in the app.
Amazon has chosen not to do this. If you want to view Amazon Prime Instant Video on Android, your only option is Kindle Fire, Amazon's Android fork.
Is it possible that Amazon shuts out other Android devices in order to protect Kindle? There's a crude kind of logic to this, but it doesn't withstand much scrutiny. For one thing, there's the fact that the retailer supports most every other platform. Amazon doesn't seem to have anything specific against Google since there's a Google TV app for Amazon Instant Video. But more importantly, Kindle doesn't exist so much to make money on its own, but to sell content. Amazon can't be making a whole lot of money on Kindle with the prices they charge for it.
So if the point is to sell content, why lock Android users out of the market for Amazon Prime Instant Video? I'd criticize it as a bad business decision, but I'm not really sure there's even a bad decision behind it. I can't fathom a reasonable argument for Amazon's strategy. Can you?
I've asked Amazon about this, both publicly (tweeting @AmazonVideo) and by leaving voice mail and e-mail for Amazon press relations. I haven't received a response.