Amazon has announced a virtual currency called Amazon Coins for its Kindle Fire tablets.

Amazon Coins will launch in May on the Kindle Fire allowing customers to use it to purchase apps, games and in-app content. The online retailer will be giving away tens of millions of dollars worth of Amazon Coins.

Paul Ryder, vice president of Apps and Games for Amazon. "Amazon Coins gives customers an easy way to spend money on developers' apps on Kindle Fire in the Amazon Appstore-and we're giving customers tens of millions of dollars in Amazon Coins to get started."

"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."

The Amazon Coins will be worth the equivalent of one cent so a $2.99 app will cost 299 Amazon Coins. Developers will still earn the same amount of royalties and must submit new apps to the Amazon Appstore by 25 April.

Although the virtual currency will arrive on the Kindle Fire in May, there's no word on a UK release date yet.

In a confusing move, customers will be able to use Amazon Coins to buy in-game currencies. However, it won't be possible to use it to buy any subscriptions.

The move is similar to Microsoft Points which Xbox users can use to buy games on Xbox Live. Amazon said it will be quick and easy for customers to buy additional Amazon Coins using their Amazon accounts.

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