My Amazon/Runtastic Rant

Runtastic Pro, Courtesy Amazon
I just bought Runtastic PRO. Again. "But Iain," you say (oh, and it's pronounced Ian), "why would you buy the same app twice?" That is a good question. Back when I got back into running I chose +Runtastic as my tracking app after auditioning half a dozen other apps. I liked the user interface, it connected easily to My Fitness Pal, my overall view of my activities and basic health stats, and there were other apps in their family that I am using (pushups, sit-ups, etc) that all talked to each other. Then a couple months later the Pro version went on sale at the Amazon app store. As an Android user it's nice to easily install apps from other stores, but I had for the most part ignored Amazon because, honestly, their selection of apps looked to be junk apps. Or games. But I bought Runtastic Pro expecting to get the same features I already had, plus some extras. I should have read the fine print. The Amazon version of the app was a significant number of revisions behind the Google Play Store version, and hasn't been updated since my original purchase on August 30 of version 4.4.2. The Play Store version is currently at 5.3.4.

Normally I don't care too much about apps being a little out of date, but this large of a difference had some fixes to GPS issues, a new UI, better music control, and integration with Google Fit (which I have since found to be most disappointing). Messaging both Amazon and Runtastic about this discrepancy ended up with each company pointing a finger at the other, but a promised fix coming in that elusive timeframe of "soon". Since then I decided to take advantage of being able to side load apps and found, shall we say, other ways to procure updated versions of Runtastic Pro. At first I was hopeful that "soon" would actually be soon, but that no longer looks like the case. So today when the Play Store had Runtastic Pro on sale for 40% off I grabbed it. Again. Unhappily. I had tried to use other apps, but Runtastic was still the app that I liked the most. So, I bought it again.

For the most part I feel that Amazon's App store pales in comparison to Google's in terms of quality and in developer support. On the Play Store Runtastic has 28 titles, though about half are "Pro" versions of their free titles. On Amazon they have 3. That right there should have been a warning sign that Runtastic isn't all that vested in Amazon. Runtastic isn't the only developer on both stores that thinks of Amazon as an after thought. Other gimmicky camera apps that are often free during limited periods are also a number of versions behind. The one developer/app that has been pretty good about keeping their app on both stores has been +JRT Studio and their excellent Rocket Player. So what have I learned? If the app I want is going to be important to me, and one I want to be updated in a timely fashion I'll just go to the Play Store. What I wish developers did; support your title on both stores, or pull out of Amazons.

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