The Google Nexus One had to paddle all the way from America, but now it's here, it's gone native. The Nexus One sports the first sighting of a UK version of the Amazon MP3 store for Android, which offers tunes for download direct to your phone at prices in Her Majesty's Imperial pounds sterling.
We haven't seen the app in the Android Market on phones running an older version of the operating system, so it looks as though, for now, it's only available on the latest 2.1 version of Android that's on the Nexus One. Amazon didn't comment on when we can expect to have the app on other Android phones.
We tried the Amazon MP3 store on the Nexus One and found downloading a quick dose of Billy Joel was effortless. After searching for the song we wanted -- rapid-fire tour of history We didn't start the fire -- and entering our Amazon user name and password, the Joelian genius was ours. It's worth noting that although the app requests an Amazon.com user account, the app uses an Amazon.co.uk account in the UK.
Prices start at 29p for MP3s from the store, which are encoded at 256kbps and free of any fun-crushing DRM. Purchases you make on your phone show up in your account on the Amazon MP3 store online, but there's no way of re-downloading songs after you've bought them, which could be an issue if your download doesn't work for some reason -- a dodgy data connection on your mobile, for example. Amazon suggests in its online help pages that you contact customer services if your download fails.
The Amazon MP3 store should help the Nexus One compete with the iPhone, which can download songs from the Apple iTunes store directly to the phone. Although it lacks the iPhone's smooth integration with iTunes on your desktop PC, the Nexus One benefits from more choice of music-syncing software, such as DoubleTwist, and the ability to sync songs with more than one computer.