The Amazon Appstore launched recently and it's very cool, but unfortunately it's limited to US customers, leaving the rest of us out in the cold. Which sucks. BUT, there are ways around it! Successfully using the Appstore relies on you having a US presence - a US credit card, a US address and a US phone number (handily, not a US IP), but there are ways to meet this criteria.
Here's how i'm happily using the Amazon Appstore on by device from the UK.
I've listed two options for each step of the process below. First is what I would call the 'recommended' way of doing things and the second is a slightly more dubious alternative approach (albeit perhaps easier). I'm using the recommended way, but I've been told the other way works.
Enjoy - please post below if the process works for you.
PS Follow @aafaotd on Twitter to find out the latest free apps of the day (with rating and previous price).
Step 1 - Creating your Amazon account
To use the Appstore, first you need to create an Amazon.com account. This should be seperate from your main account, with a unique e-mail address. I use Gmail so I have a handy facility to provide a unique e-mail address built in to my e-mail account... by signing up with the address firstname.lastname@example.org (everything after the + is ignored in Gmail routing but can be used for filtering etc.).
To sign up with Amazon.com,visit the Amazon.com sign in page and select 'No, I am a new customer'.
Step 2 - Setting up your billing address
Next you need to set up a US address (which will be the billing address you associate with the payment card on the account) - you do this on the Manage Address Book page. This MUST be a valid US address.
Recommended: I signed up for a 'USUnlocked' virtual payment card ($10) which provides you with a legitimate US billing address to enter in your account. I signed up for this on a weekend and had the details available to me the same day. Other virtual cards are available, let us know if you find a good one with a real US billing address!
Alternative: You don't actually plan to get anything shipped to this address, so you COULD enter any valid US address here, e.g. '1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043' (which happens to be the home of Google).
Step 3 - Setting up your phone number
While setting up your address in the step above, you will be prompted for a phone number. This MUST be a US phone number.
Recommended: The easiest way to get a valid US address is via a SIP account (I use sipgate.com, which I signed up to using a free US VPN service. Hotspot Shield is one such service.) There are however many SIP providers who provide US inbound numbers (including Google Voice, which you should also be able to configure with a US VPN connection), so this part is pretty straightforward.
Alternative: You don't actually plan on receiving any calls to this number, so you COULD just enter any number starting with +1. Easier than that, you can just enter +1!
Step 4 - Setting up your payment card
Next you need to set up a US payment card - you do this on the Manage Payment Options page. This MUST be a valid US card (my UK Amex for example wasn't accepted).
Recommended: As mentioned above, I signed up for a 'USUnlocked' virtual payment card ($10) which provides you with a Discover card number to enter in your account.
Alternative: You don't actually plan to buy anything with this card, so you COULD use a test card number from one of the card companies, such as those listed by PayPal.
Step 5 - Install the AppStore on your device
Now that you've set up your Amazon account, you need to install the Appstore on your device. Point your web browser at http://go.modaco.com/aadownload and the APK will be downloaded directly to your device.
Once the app is installed, run it and sign in with your new Amazon.com account and you're all set!
Step 6 (optional) - Purchasing paid apps from the Amazon Appstore
If you've set up the account with a valid US payment card then paid apps will just work. If the card you have registered is either empty of funds or a 'test card', payments will fail. BUT, helpfully, retrying payments can be carried out with any card, from any country! So, to buy an app...
- Purchase the app in the Appstore on the Amazon website or on your device - the initial payment will fail
- Visit the Digital Orders Page page and you will see your pending purchases
- Choose the option to retry the purchases, this time using your non-US card
- The payments will complete and you will be able to download the apps on your device