Some Android users may remember an unexpected source for free apps for their mobile platform turning up in 2015: Amazon. The internet shopping giant launched Underground, a marketplace for games and apps that were available for “actually free.” Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, as Amazon has announced it will be closing the Underground program and ending access later this year.
In their statement, Amazon says they decided to shut down the Underground program so they could “expand the Amazon Appstore experience.” Android and Fire Tablet users can continue to access Underground through the end of summer this year, while new submissions from developers will be cut off after May 31st.
Amazon adds that it will continue support for the Underground app through 2019, and developers with apps already in the program can continue to offer updates to users until that same time. Users will continue to have access to any apps they downloaded through Underground without limit, but the Underground store will not be supported beyond any existing devices.
When it launched in 2015, Amazon had just been warned by Google against offering apps within its standard shopping app, as it violated the Play Store policies. Those wanting to shop from Underground were basically instructed on how to install the app from a third-party source, getting around Google’s rules and acting as a new skin for Amazon’s own app store.