It's only been a year and a half, or so, since Amazon launched Underground Actually Free, or Amazon Underground, for Android apps. Not all Android apps, of course, but enough to get the attention of quite a few users since its debut, I imagine. The idea was to make apps, and some apps with in-app purchases, "actually free" for users, and Amazon had planned on it being a long-term project with plenty of sweet benefits unveiled along the way.
Things change, though. Recently Amazon announced that it would be phasing out the Underground Actually Free program, with plans to completely shut it down by 2019. When that year rolls around, there won't be any apps available in the program, and it'll shutter its doors completely.
It's good to see that users will still get to access the apps they've already downloaded, but it is sad to hear that the service is going dark.
Amazon didn't give any clear indicator why they decided to go this route, so speculation is ripe. Maybe it just wasn't something the company wanted to pay for anymore, or maybe it wasn't as popular as Amazon would have liked -- which could ultimately lead to the first reason, really. Whatever the reason, it's here.
The service was a bit of a boon for me, honestly, and I'm sad to see it go. I've spent so much money in the iOS App Store that, when I have made the switch back to Android, buying games and apps again just doesn't seem like much fun. Amazon Underground helped with that quite a bit. I was able to get some of my daughters' favorite games again without spending anything towards them, which made the switch to Android easier as well.
But the program was a good one in general, not just for folks who didn't want to buy the same apps again when switching from one platform to another. So I can't help but wonder, did you ever use it? If you did, how many apps do you think you downloaded from it? Or, on the other hand, did you not even know Amazon Underground existed at all? Let me know!