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Rumored Amazon ‘Unlocked’ program sounds like Prime for Android apps

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Amazon has long been giving away free Android apps and games through its own Amazon App Store, but now the company is apparently ready to try a more ambitious tactic to get more people using its storefront. According to an internal presentation acquired by TechCrunch, Amazon is getting ready to launch "Unlocked," something of an Amazon Prime for apps. Text in the leaked document claimed that Unlocked would offer "paid apps and in-app purchasing now completely free from Amazon."

The document showed off a few examples of games and apps that may be offered through the Unlocked program, including Sega's Sonic Dash and UsTwo's Monument Valley, as well as the OfficeSuite 8 + PDF Converter app — an app that is traditionally free but offers in-app purchases. It appears that those in-app purchases would be automatically unlocked for those taking advantage of Amazon Unlocked.

There's no word on when Unlocked will launch — or if it'll cost anything

How exactly Unlocked will work isn't clear yet — the presentation didn't include any info on when the program was expected to launch, how much it would cost, or a full list of participating apps and games. It's also not clear exactly how consumers will access these apps. TechCrunch notes that Amazon plans to promote Unlocked heavily in its main shopping app — and Unlocked users will in fact need to have that main shopping app installed. But it doesn't seem likely that users will actually be able to download and install apps through Amazon's shopping app —late last year, Google pulled a version of the Amazon app from its store because it had the Amazon App Store built right in. Currently, users need to sideload the Amazon App Store if they want to use it.