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The Kindle app blends innovation and comfort as it prioritizes the customer experience — marrying simplicity and connectivity — allowing users to purchase, download, and search books, newspapers, magazines, and documents all in one place. We chatted with Mathew Henson, a Senior Software Development Engineer for Kindle, about his experience adding the Kindle app for Android to the Amazon Appstore on Windows 11. For apps like Kindle, Amazon Appstore on Windows 11 offers developers the opportunity to reach hundreds of millions of new customers on Windows 11 devices.
“If you’re already shipping an app to the Amazon Appstore for Fire OS, then you have the same opportunity we had for Kindle for Android: a few clicks away from potentially adding [hundreds] of millions of new devices with minimal effort,” says Mathew. “If you aren’t already shipping to Fire OS, the benefits have increased spectacularly.”
While adapting Kindle for Windows 11, Mathew and the team gathered insights for developers looking to bring their mobile apps to PCs. Here are his top three tips for Android developers interested in bringing their apps to Windows 11.
1. Optimize for screen real estate
Android tablets often have less screen real estate than desktops and most Windows devices. To easily adjust your app to larger screens, Mathew suggests that instead of having fixed column counts in resource buckets based on width (i.e. values in res/values-w480dp, res/values-w800dp), determine the “desired” width for a column, and calculate the number of columns to use based on the exact width of the application’s window. Refer to this technical documentation for enabling support for window management and resizing.
Mathew also recommends enabling your app to scale with agility to available screens sizes. “Page Flip actually required no changes on our end,” Mathew noted. “Since all of our measurement, layout, and animation code were built with this scaling in mind, there was no additional work required to make Page Flip look better on WSA.”
2. Update input compatibility for a larger screen
Optimize your app for the common keyboard, mouse and touchpad scenarios to provide a seamless customer experience. For the Kindle team, this meant adapting the app to provide the Continuous Scroll feature on the larger screen. Refer to the technical documentation for guidance on how to enable your app to accept input from external devices.
Rather than the traditional paginated left-to-right mode, the Continuous Scroll feature in Kindle for Android allows users to read content by scrolling top-to-bottom. Since mouse and touchpads are much more common in the Windows world, the team added additional logic via an OnGenericMotionListener to listen for the scroll events and to scroll based off of the “distance” the scroll wheel reported it had traveled. To further expand this feature for keyboard, they also added listeners for various key presses to help navigate through Continuous Scroll.
3. Enable Push Notifications
The Kindle app sends push notifications through Amazon Device Messaging (ADM) on Fire OS devices and utilizes Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) for Android devices. Sending messages to Android devices allows you to keep your users up to date and involved. If you already have an app on the Amazon Appstore for Fire OS devices, ensure that you are maximizing your app engagement by leveraging ADM to allow push notifications to run on WSA for Windows devices.
If you are already leveraging ADM for Fire OS, be sure to review the customer experience for all notifications and confirm their logic was unified across these platforms. Developers can also use the A3L SDK to support both Android and Amazon Device push notifications. For best practices for publishing apps, check out our docs.
For more information regarding Amazon Appstore on Windows, read our most recent blog or sign up for email notifications. We look forward to sharing more soon.
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