Amazon announced yesterday that they’ll be shutting down its free Android app program, Underground. This program allowed free access to apps such as Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions, Goat Simulator, Office Suite Pro 8, and Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse. Apps like these could originally cost up to $4.99 on the app store, but Underground was able to give them for free to Android phone and Fire Tablet users. With such great apps being offered for free to Prime users, why did Amazon decide to shut down the service?
In their statement explaining why they decided to end the Underground’s services, Amazon said that when they first released the app service they were already working on their own Appstore. So they decided to end Underground in order focus more energy on expanding their own Appstore for their customers. That makes sense. Access to the Underground store will continue until the end of the summer, yet support will end by 2019.
Fire tablet users will still be able to access apps they had previously downloaded, but this access will be limited. Amazon stated that “access to the Underground store will not extend beyond currently supported devices.” So one can expect the Underground Appstore to slowly fade away as the new Amazon Appstore nears completion. Developers who have apps up on Underground will be able to update their programs until 2019. Luckily, this gives these developers some time to perfect their app before time runs out, as they won’t be able to once they reach the deadline in 2019. People will still be able to use these apps after the deadline hits, but any updates that exclusively come from the Underground Appstore won’t be able to reach these programs.
The program originally launched in August of 2015. The idea was to allow people free access to a variety of apps, while developers get royalties on a per-minute basis. It’ll be sad to see Underground go, especially for those developers and Amazon Prime users who relied on its services. Considering Amazon is replacing it with its own Appstore, it’s a possibility that the ideas behind Underground won’t be gone forever. This is just another stride Amazon is making towards the future.