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Amazon has officially launched its own app store with 3,800 Android apps in what will be a fierce battle with Apple.

The new store is considered a potent competitor in the mobile apps space, with Amazon bidding to create the equivalent of Apple’s iTunes for Google’s Android mobile operating system.

One sign that Amazon is coming out swinging: it is making Angry Birds Rio, the new version of the hot mobile game that got its start on the Apple App Store, available for free on the Amazon Appstore.

Apple came out swinging as well, filing a trademark infringement suit yesterday over Amazon’s use of the word “Appstore” which is so similar to Apple’s “App Store.” There are lots of other Android app stores out there, and Google itself operates the Android Market, but no other rival has such deep roots in e-commerce as Amazon.

The Amazon Appstore can be downloaded to a user’s handset. The store will support hundreds of mobile operators and hardware manufacturers. Amazon has been recruiting app makers for months. But it has only about 1 percent of the total number of apps on Apple’s store, which is nearly three years old.

Amazon’s Appstore will let shoppers buy apps alongside other digital content like music, eBooks, and games. Participants include Gameloft, Handmark and Glu Mobile, which have been among the most successful app makers on the iPhone.

VB Mobile SummitCalling all mobile executives: This April 25-26, VentureBeat is hosting its inaugural VentureBeat Mobile Summit, where we’ll debate the five key business and policy challenges facing the mobile industry today. Participants will develop concrete, actionable solutions that will shape the future of the mobile industry. The invitation-only event, located at the scenic and relaxing Cavallo Point Resort in Sausalito, Calif., is limited to 180 mobile executives, investors and policymakers. We’ve pretty much finalized the invite list, but have a few spots left. Request an invitation.

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