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Kindle Fire to get Amazon Coins digital currency

Amazon has announced plans to make it easier for customers to buy content on their Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD tablets: its own currency, Amazon Coins.

Described by the company as "an easy way for Kindle Fire customers to spend money in the Amazon Appstore," Amazon Coins take the form of a stored-value system which aims to separate the act of purchasing from real-world cash - a clever trick that makes it easy to forget exactly how much you're spending.

Amazon isn't the first company to do this: Microsoft's Xbox Live service uses Microsoft Points, which convert chunks of real-world cash into stored-value currency - making it easy to forget that the Xbox Live Arcade title being purchased for 1,200 Microsoft Points is actually costing £10.20 in real-world currency.

"Developers continue to report higher conversion rates on Amazon compared to other platforms," Paul Ryder, vice president of apps and games at Amazon, said in support of the move. "Now we have another new way to help developers reach even more of our millions of customers. Amazon Coins gives customers an easy way to spend money on developers’ apps on Kindle Fire. Developers who aren't yet in the Amazon Appstore will want to make sure their apps have been submitted and approved by April 25 so they’re ready for customers to start spending their Amazon Coins."

To convince its customers that Amazon Coins is a good move for them, as well as developers, the company has confirmed plans to give away "tens of millions" of coins as part of the programme's roll-out - providing Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD owners with free virtual currency to spend on apps or in-app purchases - a clear extension of the company's current daily free app promotion.

What Amazon isn't sharing, however, is just what the exchange rate of an Amazon Coin to real-world currency will be - nor how many Amazon Coins it will take to purchase an app. More details are expected ahead of the programme's US launch, which will take place in May with no news yet as to when Amazon Coins will reach the UK.

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