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December 2, 2011 wants to make it easy for children and their parents to create holiday wish lists that can be shared with a new app for Kindle Fire and iPad.

The free Amazon Santa app gives kids and parents access to an online catalog of over 500,000 toys, games and digital media for children. The visual experience was designed for children to make it fun and easy to browse and search for items to put on their wish list.

“Providing consumers with a wish list tool is very smart, especially since all the products on the list are gleaned from the online catalog,” said Wilson Kerr, a Boston-based mobile consultant. “This is the equivalent of voluntarily providing the world’s largest retailer with a personal preference profile on the sorts of products you want.

“Linking this to a traditional ‘Dear Santa’ list is smart, as this deepens consumer engagement and taps into an age-old way that adults learn what to place under the tree,” he said.

“The ease of use of these tablets and the fact that kids and adults can ‘gather round’ them to make these lists together is likely why this form factor was used. Images are larger and the inventory is being pulled from the ecommerce technology, making the entire catalog available for search and selection.”

Mr. Kerr is not affiliated with Amazon and answered questions based on his experience in mobile.

Stable of apps grows
The products can be explored by category or users can key in a search word to find what they are looking for.

Parents can review and edit wish lists and share each child’s list with family and friends. Wish lists shared via the Amazon Santa app can only be viewed by family and friends who receive the wish list link.

Recipients of a wish list can view the items a child is interested in, including those that have already been purchased, helping to eliminate duplicate gifts.

The new Amazon Santa app is optimized for the iPad and the new Kindle Fire, which was introduced by Amazon last month. The app is available for free from the Amazon Appstore or from iTunes.

The new Santa app joins a growing list of apps from Amazon that also includes Amazon Deals for iPhone, Price Check by Amazon for iPhone and Android, Amazon Student for iPhone, Amazon Windowshop for iPad and the Amazon Mobile App for iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7 and Android-based devices.

While iPad dominates the tablet space, Amazon’s Kindle Fire app is drawing strong consumer interest since being launched not very long ago.

“I can’t think of a more perfect market study for Amazon to help make the Kindle more competitive with the iPad, than to launch an identical shopping app for Christmas on both platforms,” said Brennan Hayden, vice president of Wireless Developer Agency, East Lansing, MI, who spoke as a mobile expert.

“If other retailers have such an app, they had better hurry and launch it, because the Amazon iPad App is already a top 50 download after one day in the Lifestyle category and climbing fast,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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