Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Amazon launches its second dedicated iPad app, Windowshop is 'complete rewrite' of popular website

Learning from its first effort to create a dedicated app for the iPad, Amazon has today launched a whole new app, Windowshop.
“Amazon Windowshop is a top-to-bottom rewrite of Amazon.com – designed and built without compromise just for iPad,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com.

The new app is a great example of a company learning from its past efforts and adapting its approach for the new platform. Like some of the latest newspaper apps seen in iTunes, this app tries to make adjustments to its e-commerce website to fit the new platform. The results are interesting and users will have to live with the app for a while to see if it is an improvement over just using the Amazon website. So far, at least, the early reviews in iTunes are very positive.

Left: the drop down "Browse" menu;
Right: the pop-up window that appears when you tap a product.

The free app is to be used in landscape mode only and features a tables look. Tapping a product pulls up a new embedded window that shows the product in more detail. If there is a problem that I can see it would be that often duplicate products are seen under their category. For instance, the new Keith Richards biography is seen twice -- once in hardbound and once in another format. This is a waste of real estate and is probably caused the way the products are pulled into the app (popularity?).

Nonetheless, I've always thought that Amazon had a great attitude about its competitor to its own Kindle. Amazon knows that Apple's tablet will sell lots of Kindle editions, and can be used to see other products, as well.