It's Christmastime, and that means the Amazon app is probably front and center on your device.
If you're not shopping during breaks at work or tracking packages, you're likely redeeming digital Amazon vouchers sent by friends and loved ones as gifts. Either way, the Amazon app is likely your go-to app this holiday season.
After all, the entire 2013 holiday season was the best ever for Amazon. Customers ordered more than five toys per second from a mobile device between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. We're sure this year will be no different.
Unless of course there is no Amazon app. Android users might have noticed recently that the online retailer's main app is a little hard to come by, and that's because Google removed it from the Google Play Store.
Amazon apparently got a little greedy when it came to distributing its library of apps and games.
What is the Amazon app?
Amazon has many apps in the Play Store including the Kindle app, Amazon Cloud Drive app, Amazon Instant Video app, and more. The main Amazon app lets you shop for products in Amazon’s catalogue and manage orders.
Did the the Amazon app get pulled?
Kind of. It disappeared sometime this week. Although the URL to the Amazon app's product page is still live, you can no longer search for and find the Amazon app directly through Play Store.
What happened to the Amazon app?
Amazon updated its Android app a couple of months ago with an Apps & Games section, in an attempt to let Android device owners buy third-party apps directly from Amazon instead of only having access to apps from the Play Store.
Google clearly didn't like the idea of a competitor's app store being buried in its own app store, because a statement from Amazon claimed the Amazon app was removed following an update to Google's Developer Distribution Agreement.
Android Police discovered that the newly-updated agreement now bans certain apps. More specifically, it bans apps that "facilitate the distribution of software applications and games for use on Android devices outside of the Store."
In other words: the Amazon app, because it had an Apps & Games section, was violating Google's new agreement. Previously, the agreement only banned apps whose "primary purpose" was to distribute apps.
The Amazon app wasn't dedicated to distributing third-party apps. It only had one section for distributing apps and games and plenty of other sections geared toward selling Amazon's digital and physical products.
But now Amazon's loophole has been closed.
Will Amazon's app fully return?
Yes. Amazon is releasing an Amazon Shopping app on the Play Store. The new "main" app won't provide access to Amazon's library of apps and games, obviously. You'll have to go back to downloading those from Amazon's website.