Amazon.com Inc. began selling applications for the Google Android smart phone in its new "Appstore" just days after Apple Inc. filed a lawsuit claiming that the digital storefront infringes its "App Store" trademark.
Escalating the fight with Apple, Amazon said Tuesday that it was giving away an Android version of a popular game as part of the promotion for the new site. Normally the game, Angry Birds Rio, would sell for 99 cents, just as it does in Apple's iTunes App Store.
The move was seen as a challenge to Google Inc.'s Android Marketplace for apps that run on smart phones and tablets using the Android operating system.
Amazon also said it was rolling out a unique "test drive" feature for apps sold through the its Appstore over the next few days.
If an app has a test drive available, consumers will be able to launch a demo version of an app running on Adobe Flash within a user's Web browser. The demo will allow consumers to try the app before they buy it, though the demos will be limited and won't replicate certain phone features such as a camera.
On its first day, Amazon's Appstore had about 3,800 Android apps available for download, each of which the Seattle-based online retailer said had been tested and approved by Amazon employees as virus-free.
Apps can be purchased using the same Amazon account that consumers use to buy books on Kindles and other items on Amazon.com.
In the lawsuit filed last week, Apple claimed that Amazon's Appstore name was too close to its trademark. It accused Amazon of trademark infringement and unfair competition.
Apple argued that its major competitors had each found ways to sell mobile apps without calling their digital storefronts "app stores" and that Amazon should do the same. Microsoft Corp., for instance, uses the term Marketplace, the lawsuit said.
Amazon declined to comment on the Apple lawsuit.