Apps are great. When they’re free, it’s even better. Unless of course they’re chock full of in-app purchases...
Fortunately, Amazon is taking a stand against freemium content with the new Amazon Underground app.
It’s basically a replacement for the service’s Free App of the Day promotion, and sees Amazon offer up $10,000 worth of content completely free of charge.
“Many apps and games that are marked as ‘free’ turn out not to be completely free,” explains Amazon. “They use in-app payments to charge you for special items or to unlock features or levels.”
The retail giant continues: “In Underground, you will find 100% free versions of popular premium titles...and popular titles with in-app purchases.”
What this means is that if you download Angry Birds Space, for instance, there’s no option to buy power-ups for real cash.
Our newly acquired Amazon version of Angry Birds Space is microtransaction free
Amazon reels off a number of apps that fall under the scheme, including: OfficeSuite Professional 8, Goat Simulator, Fruit Ninja, Frozen Free Fall, Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions, and Angry Birds Slingshot Stella.
But how has Amazon managed to wrangle this impressive deal? The company explains:
“We’ve made this possible by working out a new business model with app and game developers: we’re paying them a certain amount on a per-minute played basis in exchange for them waiving their normal in-app fees.”
Amazon adds: “To be clear, we’re the ones picking up those per-minute charges so for you it’s simply free. Just look for apps and games marked with an ‘Actually Free’ banner.”
Unfortunately, you can’t actually download Amazon’s Underground app through the Google Play store.
That’s because Google doesn’t allow developers to offer apps that make other apps available in the Play store, unsurprisingly.
As such, you’ll need to download the Amazon Underground .apk file from here, and install it manually.
Related: Best Android Apps 2015
Don't forget that Apple's App Store already allows users to search for completely free, microtransaction-less apps, which is sort of tacit confirmation by the company that freemium apps are the bane of our mobile existence.
Google hasn't offered such a service yet however, so Amazon Underground is a welcome addition to our Android app arsenal.
You might need to modify your phone’s settings to allow non-Play Store app installations.
And while you’re waiting for that to install, check out our smartphone group test video below: