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Showing posts by David Isbitski

May 26, 2014

David Isbitski

Here is a quick recap of new posts last week on the Amazon Apps & Services Blog.

Monday, May 19th

Introduction to Unity Part 1: Unity’s IDE

We walked through the basics of working with Unity’s IDE for creating 2D games.

Tuesday, May 20th

Introduction to Unity Part2: Learning C#

We walked through creating C# based scripts for 2D games in Unity.

Wednesday, May 21st

Bitmango Finds Amazon Appstore Brings Higher ARPU and Increased Reach

We sat down with Bitmango and chatted about their success in the Amazon Appstore.

Thursday, May 22nd

Amazon Appstore for Android: More Ways for Customers to Discover and Buy Apps

We covered some of the recent additions to the Amazon Appstore for Android including enhanced search and the launch of Amazon Coins in France, Italy and Spain.

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and our YouTube channel.

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

May 22, 2014

David Isbitski

With the release of the latest version of the Amazon Appstore for Android, customers using the Amazon Appstore on Android tablets and phones have more ways to discover and purchase apps.

New Features for Customers

The Amazon Appstore for Android is continuously updated with new features that improve the customer experience and make it easier for developers to monetize their apps. Here are a few recent updates:

More Ways to Buy Apps with Amazon Coins

Amazon Coins can be purchased directly inside the Amazon Appstore for Android. Customers save up to 10% on apps, games and in-app items by purchasing Amazon Coins. Customers are shown their current Coins balance at the top of the screen as well as during checkout.

   

Figure 1- Available Amazon Coins displayed at top with ability to purchase at discount when clicking

Any of your apps or games that reward Amazon Coins when purchased can also be easily discovered in the Amazon Appstore for Android. Customers can search only for those apps and games that reward Amazon Coins from the navigation menu. We also feature apps and games rewarding Coins directly on the home screen.

Amazon Coins are a great way for your apps to get noticed in the Amazon Appstore. As a developer with a qualified app in the Appstore Developer Select program, customers who purchase your app will be rewarded with Amazon Coins for simply downloading your app. They can then use these Coins to buy other apps and in-app items.

   

Figure2- Apps and games that reward Amazon Coins can be viewed from the menu and on the main screen

Purchasing Directly from Search

Customers now get search hints whenever they’re searching for new apps and games. The title, publisher, customer rating and price are all displayed on the search hint. If a customer clicks on the button to make a purchase (Free or Paid), then more details about the app or game will be displayed, along with a “Get App” button that allows customers to immediately download your app or game. 

      

Figure 3- Purchasing a new game directly from search

Publish Your App to the Amazon Appstore

With the Amazon Appstore, customers can purchase your apps and games from a web browser, Kindle Fire tablets, Amazon Fire TV and select Android devices. Customers can find your apps and games in a variety of ways inside the Amazon Appstore.

If you have not submitted your Android app yet to the Amazon Appstore, registration is free and simple to complete and over 75% of Android tablets we tested work on Kindle Fire devices with no additional development required. Amazon also offers a free Mobile App SDK that supports In App Purchasing, Mobile Ads, A/B Testing, Analytics and more. Once your app is in the Amazon Appstore you can expand your reach to Kindle Fire and Amazon Fire TV devices at any time directly from within the developer console.

You may also want to check out these additional developer resources:

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

May 19, 2014

David Isbitski

Here is a quick recap of new posts last week on the Amazon Apps & Services Blog.

Monday, May 12th

Creating and Publishing a Cordova Hybrid Web App on the Amazon Appstore

We walked through creating a sample app on Kindle Fire with the Apache Cordova project and how to publish it to the Amazon Appstore.

Tuesday, May 13th

Amazon Coins Expands to France, Italy and Spain – Submit Now for Amazon Coins worth Millions of Euros

We announced the launch of Amazon coins in France, Spain and Italy.  Kindle Fire owners in those countries received 500 free Coins to use for apps and in app items on the Amazon Appstore.

Wednesday, May 14th

Brainstorm Games: Find out How They Created Two Apps That Topped the UK Charts

We sat down with Barnstorm Games and chatted about their recent successes with the Amazon Appstore.

Don’t forget you can follow us on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and our YouTube channel.

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

May 12, 2014

David Isbitski

Here is a quick recap of new posts last week on the Amazon Apps & Services Blog.

Tuesday, May 6th

Appstore Developer Select: How to Reach More Customers

We released a video that covers the benefits and requirements for the Amazon Developer Select Program.  This program is designed to help get your apps noticed and in front of new customers.

Wednesday, May 7th

Amazon Mobile Ads API Increases Monetization Opportunities with Expansion into Europe and New Interstitial Ad Format

We announced Amazon Mobile Ads API is now serving ads in the United Kingdom with Germany following in the coming months.  Interstitial Ads support was also added giving your apps the ability to generate greater revenue than using traditional banner ads.

Thursday, May 8th

 

ADB Debugging: How to Test Your Android APK on Fire TV

We released a video that walks through ADB debugging on Amazon Fire TV.  For additional information on setting up the ADB driver for Kindle Fire devices you can read our post here.

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and our YouTube channel.

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

May 05, 2014

David Isbitski

Here is a quick recap of new posts last week on the Amazon Apps & Services Blog.

Wednesday, April 30th

Building Responsive Game Design: Making Games That Scale across Desktop, Mobile and TV

We talked about responsive game design and what you can do to have your game run across multiple platforms and form factors like Tablets, Phones and now Amazon Fire TV.

Thursday, May 1st

Discount Your App and Receive Free Merchandising from Amazon Appstore

We announced the ability to now set a specific time for discount campaigns on your apps and in-app items.  In the Developer Promotions Console (DPC) you simply select when and where these discounts will now be available and then activate them worldwide instantly, or over time in one or more marketplaces.

Friday, May 2nd

 

 

BI Insider: Amazon Appstore Generating Strong Revenue Results

We shared some recent case studies from developers finding success in the Amazon Appstore and a new report from BI Intelligence indicating the Amazon Appstore is “generating strong revenue results”.

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and our YouTube channel.

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

April 29, 2014

David Isbitski

Here is a quick recap of new posts last week on the Amazon Apps & Services Blog.

Tuesday, April 22nd

Building for the next Generation of Gamers with Fire TV

We covered how the Amazon Fire TV now offers you the opportunity, and access to an entirely new generation of kids growing up as gamers. While traditional console game development is still out of reach for most, the Fire TV enables developers to target the casual gaming audience right now. It’s also an opportunity to be one of the first TV-based games that kids play.

Thursday, April 24th

Soundtracker Increases Average Session Length by 400% in the Last 6 Months in the Amazon Appstore

We chatted with South Ventures USA about their app Soundtracker and the success they have seen in the Amazon Appstore.  Soundtracker allows music to connect people by making it easy to discover and play music in real time with friends and anyone nearby. By leveraging the Amazon’s Mobile Apps APIs the team saw increases in both monetization and average session lengths within their app.

Friday, April 25th

Does Crowd Sourcing Really Work: An Interview with Starr Long

We talked with Starr Long, executive producer of the upcoming Shroud of the Avatar, around Crowd Sourcing. Are crowd funding and crowd sourcing really that effective and what’s the catch? Starr elaborates on the different criteria and the processes that he frequently uses, in order to make crowd sourcing successful.

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and our YouTube channel.

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

April 24, 2014

David Isbitski

Launched in 2010, Soundtracker by South Ventures USA, is described as an app that allows music to connect people by making it easy to discover and play music in real time with friends and anyone nearby. With Soundtracker you can create stations, chat with other users, listen and comment on their latest stations amongst other features. Available on the Amazon Appstore here as well as other platforms, Soundtracker has over 4 million downloads and 1 million active users worldwide across all platforms.

I had the chance to sit down with Daniele Calabrese, CEO and founder, to discuss their experience bringing Soundtracker into the Amazon Appstore and how they’ve managed to leverage different Amazon Mobile Apps APIs to their advantage.

Increasing Opportunity with Limited Work

Even though the app itself is available on various platforms, the reason why Daniele decided to bring the app to Amazon Appstore was simple. The “opportunity with Kindle was too good to pass on since we would be able to create an app for two platforms at once.” Daniele says that early on the team realized that the Android SDK was compatible with Kindle Fire, so they decided to build the apps in tandem. The team found out quickly that “the process in getting Soundtracker into the Amazon Appstore was very easy and the results from it has definitely paid off.”

“Monetization in the Amazon Appstore jumped 100% using Amazon’s In-App Purchasing API and Mobile Ads API in the first month since implementation” – Daniele Calabrese

 

Figure 1- Kindle Fire UI

Leveraging Amazon Mobile Apps SDK to Improve Engagement

Besides using Amazon’s In-App Purchasing and Mobile Ads API, Soundtracker also uses Amazon’s Maps API and Device Messaging API as well. For Soundtracker “being able to monetize and engage your users are the most important factor in choosing a platform” says Daniele. The team credits these specific API’s as “the reason why we were able to be so successful in the Amazon Appstore.” By integrating certain APIs you can also qualify for different programs. Daniele says the team is “excited to be admitted into the Appstore Developer Select program,” which provides the team with 500k mobile ad impressions, Amazon Coins rewards to customers, and more.

Figure 2- Nearby feature and push notification

Since Soundtracker detects where other users are, relative to their current location, notifying other users who are nearby is crucial for engagement. The team decided to use Amazon Device Messaging API and Amazon Maps API to help solve this issue. The device messaging and maps APIs allow users to really engage by integrating interactive maps directly into your app, as well as sending out push notifications from the cloud to the user. When your app relies heavily on social interaction, such as Soundtracker’s feature of commenting or discovering other users’ playlist selections, getting a user’s attention is one of the most important factors. By using these APIs, the team was able to see a consistent lift in engagement.                

“Engagement in the Amazon Appstore increased by 400% in the last 6 months. Number of sessions, length of sessions, and number of tracks streamed per user increased on a weekly basis.”- Daniele Calabrese

So how long did it take for the team to integrate all these APIs? Daniele says “the process for development and testing altogether took only a week and the process was very straight forward”.

Expanding into the Living Room with Amazon Fire TV

According to Daniele, “since performance has been successful with their current app on Kindle Fire” the team plans to expand even more into the Amazon ecosystem. The next step for the team is “integrating with Amazon’s music offering and getting their app on Amazon Fire TV.” Since the team has already qualified for Appstore Developer Select, the team can now qualify for the Appstore Developer Select Amazon Fire TV benefits as well by optimizing for the Amazon Fire TV. This includes enhanced on-device merchandising and a 500k Amazon Coins offer per qualifying app.

“I would recommend Amazon Appstore to other developers. Getting our app on Kindle Fire was very easy and it gives developers a great opportunity to distribute and monetize their apps.” – Daniele Calabrese

 

April 21, 2014

David Isbitski

Here is a quick recap of new posts last week on the Amazon Apps & Services Blog.

Monday, April 14th

Streamlining the Web App Submission Process in 4 Easy Steps

We announced that developers can publish their web apps to the Amazon Appstore without a manifest.  As we continue to streamline the web app submission process our goal is to make submitting hosted web apps just as easy as submitting Android ones.

Tuesday, April 15th

No More Passwords for Apps using Login with Amazon on Kindle Fire

We announced mobile apps and games that use Login with Amazon on newer Kindle Fire devices will no longer need to ask Amazon customers to sign in each time the app is run.

The first time your app is run Login with Amazon will automatically use the account registered to the customer’s Kindle Fire device.  They will then simply need to consent to share their information once for each of your apps to be automatically signed in.

Wednesday, April 16th

Build Higher Performance Cordova-Based FireOS Apps by Implementing Amazon WebView Support

We showed how to enable Amazon WebView (AWV) support for Cordova to help you build higher performance apps and get access to accelerated hardware on Kindle Fire devices.

Thursday, April 17th

 

 

 

 

 

Tips for Getting Your Android Apps Looking Good on Amazon Fire TV

Looking to get your Amazon App or Game on the new Amazon Fire TV?  We showed you how to get started and covered the top things you will need to know to be successful on TV.

This included understanding Amazon Fire TV video outputs, updated Android layouts, TV overscan and colors, navigation, notifications and handling web content.

Friday, April 18th

Tips Easter Eggs: Cook up Some (Cholesterol-Free) Fun

We took a look back at some hidden Easter eggs developers have left to find and announced an Easter egg Amazon Coins rewards promotion for the Amazon Appstore.

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and our YouTube channel.

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

April 17, 2014

David Isbitski

Amazon Fire TV offers your existing Android apps an entirely new set of potential customers to engage with. It also gives your customers the ability to experience your app across Kindle Fire Tablets, Android phones and tablets, and now Amazon Fire TV – all through the same Amazon Appstore. If a customer has already bought your app that you have made available for Fire TV, they can download it onto their new Amazon Fire TV instantly, without having to purchase an additional version. 

Adding Amazon Fire TV support to your existing Android App is as simple as following a few guidelines, compiling and uploading a new TV version of your apk, and then adding Amazon Fire TV as one of your app’s device targets inside the Developer Console.  

Amazon Fire TV opens up new discoverability possibilities for your app across many new customers. Most updates to your apps for Amazon Fire TV should be minor, and if you have been following the guidelines from Android on Designing for Multiple Screens all along, your app may already be ready for a large TV resolution. 

While you may be familiar with targeting Android tablets and phones, there are a few things you need to consider for your app to run correctly on Amazon Fire TV. This includes understanding the layout, dimensions and orientation of Amazon Fire TV views, changes to the user experience when interacting with a TV (10’ away on average), UI and navigation patterns, as well as some other TV-specific gotchas such as overscan and color reproduction.

Understanding Amazon Fire TV Video Output

You can think of the Amazon Fire TV screen as an Android device that is locked to landscape orientation, with a constant width of 960dp and with a height of 540dp. The rendering surface is always 1920x1080 with a screen density of 320dpi. Output is automatically scaled for 720p and 480p output resolutions.

The following table shows how the various video outputs of Amazon Fire TV map to their Android counterparts.

TV setting

Output resolution

(pixels)

Render surface

(pixels)

Density identifier

screen density

(dpi)

Display resolution

(dp)

Screen size identifier

1080p

1920 x 1080

1920 x 1080

xhdpi

320

960x540

large

720p

1280 x 720

1920 x 1080

xhdpi

320

960x540

large

480p

640 x 480

1920 x 1080

xhdpi

320

960x540

large



By following the Android best practices guide for Supporting Multiple Screens, you can create a different layout configuration just for Amazon Fire TV so that your existing layout adapts when it runs on the device. This is the same process you are most likely already using for generating different drawables and layouts and including them in your app’s /res directory. 

You can get a detailed overview of the resource configurations available for Amazon Fire TV here.

Thinking About the 10-Foot User Experience

TV interfaces in general are often referred to as 10-Foot User Interfaces (10-ft UI) because the user is viewing the screen from 10 or more feet away. Although the screen itself can be very large, the screen resolution is lower, and distance from the screen means a smaller angle of view.

The design choices you would make for an application or web page running on a desktop computer, tablet, or phone are fundamentally different from those of a TV, as users typically view those screens from much closer distances. In addition, as the television is used in a more relaxed fashion than a computer, a tablet or a phone, the UI on the TV should not require as much attention and precision. 10-ft UI may require you to rethink the design, layout, and navigation of an existing app.

Keep the design of your screen in a 10-ft UI simple and clean, with low information density. Limit the number of design elements or UI components (menus, buttons, images) on the screen, and ensure that those elements are large enough and spaced far enough apart to be read from a distance. Present a clear set of actions or options for each screen. Minimize the amount of text, as users do not read a lot of text on a television screen. Avoid requiring the user to input a lot of information and provide reasonable defaults where possible.

In your existing Android app for a phone or tablet, you can assume that touch is always present, and your UI elements reflect that. For example, if I run the existing Android Snake Game from my AWS re:Invent 2013 demo on a Kindle Fire, tapping the menu button with my finger brings up the standard Android options menu.

Figure 1- Android Options Menu for Touch on Kindle Fire

However, running the same app on an Amazon Fire TV shows a slightly different experience when interacting with the options menu. Instead of tapping our finger on a screen, we press the Menu button on the Amazon Fire TV remote or game controller, which brings up the Android options menu with the first item in the ListView (“New Game”) automatically highlighted.

Figure 2- Android Options Menu on Amazon Fire TV automatically highlights currently selected item for the user

This allows your users to know exactly where they are in the options menu. Pressing the SELECT button on the remote (the A  button on a game controller) raises that UI element’s ItemSelected event . 

Note that all of this works automatically, and you do not have to wire up any of the on screen highlighting for any of your user interface elements – that is done for you by FireOS itself. This does, however, affect the flow of interaction your customer has with your app when using a remote or a controller. Thoroughly test your app running on a TV screen with a remote or controller and make changes to the interaction where appropriate. 

For more helpful tips on modifying your app to work with remote and controllers be sure to check out our post with helpful tips.

Updating Your Android Views for TV

The Amazon Fire TV screen is always displayed in landscape orientation, with a display resolution of 960dp wide and 540dp high. In terms of Android supported screen size configurations, you should target large. If you have not created any large-screen assets, you need to verify that your existing sizes scale well.

Depending on the orientation you are using for your existing Android app, you may see some inaccurate screen sizing when running against the TV screen for the first time. In the example below I am using the code from my previous Ad Mediation post, which was set to run in portrait. 

Figure 3- App scaling and running in forced landscape

The first time the app runs you can see the scaling that occurs to accommodate the device screen size for an app forced into portrait mode. To fix this, call setRotation on any View like so:

 
myView.setRotation(90f);

This rotates the current view 90 degrees and places it into landscape mode. Another way to do this is to set the orientation of your main view inside of its layout file so that all children are rotated as well.

In fact, simply updating the orientation of the View of my main activity to run horizontally instantly fixed all of my screen issues and my app ran perfectly.

Figure 4- App scaled correctly and set to landscape

When testing out the Snake Game from the above example, I encountered a similar scaling and rotation issue.

Figure 5- Snake Game Demo running incorrectly

Instead of setting the orientation of the entire View you can also change the orientation of your activity itself. For example, inside the androidmanifest.xml file for my game, I provided an attribute for the orientation of the SnakeGameActivity.

Setting the android:screenOrientation to be landscape fixed all scaling issues with the game and made it instantly playable.

Figure 6- Snake Game fixed and running in landscape

With just a few adjustments to your apps’ Android Views and updates to their associated resource images, your apps can be displayed on an Amazon Fire TV connected screen with minimal changes.

Understanding TV Overscan, Text and Color

Overscan is the physical space TV hardware manufactures reserve around the displayable area of a TV screen and something you should be aware of when targeting Amazon Fire TV with your app. This space can exist on TVs of any size and limits the area in which your app is able to render its user interface. 

Figure 7- TV Overscan examples.

To avoid any issues with overscan, I recommend that you avoid placing any of your app's UI elements within the outer 5% of any edge on the screen.

Any onscreen text or UI elements should be fully within the inner 90% (the safe zone) of your user interface. Your text should also use larger type sizes (at least 14sp) so that they are viewable on large screens. Amazon Fire TV uses Helvetica Neue Regular as the system font throughout all of the system’s interfaces.

When testing your app you may also find that the colors are not represented the same when shown on a TV display as they are on a tablet. Because TV screens have a higher contrast, they have a tendency to make colors seem more saturated, brighter, and vibrant. The range of colors that can be displayed is also less than that of a PC or mobile device screen. Cool colors (blue, purple, grey) work better than warmer colors (red, orange) on a TV and a good rule to follow is to avoid using less saturated colors in your apps.

Figure 8- Color Saturation on TV Displays

Understanding Amazon Fire TV Navigation

If you choose to add an updated user interface to your app to better match that of Amazon Fire TV’s UI, there are a couple of guidelines you should follow. 

Figure 9- Navigation Screen Types on Amazon Fire TV

All navigation starts with the home screen which consists of a global navigation menu on the left and a set of content tiles on the right. 

Figure 10 - Home Screen

The global navigation menu is the primary system menu. It appears in a row on the left side of the screen. The global navigation menu allows the user to choose major content categories or other options including Search, Home, Movies, TV, Music, Games, Apps, and so on. Each item in the global navigation menu can be selected with the Up and Down directional buttons.

When the user focuses on any item in the global navigation menu, the home view for that node appears on the right side of the screen. Each node has its own home view with its own content. The overall system home view, sometimes called the launcher, is accessible with the Home key on the Amazon Fire TV remote, or by selecting Home from the global navigation menu.

Figure 11- Outer Space Has Been Focused on by User

Each home view contains multiple horizontal content rows. The title tile for the row indicates the type of content (for example, Most Popular, My Movies, Recommended for You). The remaining tiles show examples of that content. From these content rows, the user can:

  • Navigate between rows with the Up and Down directional buttons.
  • Move back to the navigation menu with the Left button.
  • Choose Select or Right to select a row and view a 1D list for that row.

Be sure to check out the Design and User Experience Guidelines for additional information on all of the screen types and important tips on creating an engaging user experience for Amazon Fire TV.

In addition to the global navigation, menu notifications are also displayed in a certain way within the base Amazon Fire TV user interface.

Figure 12- Informational Notification

Amazon Fire TV includes three kinds of notifications you can use inside of your own apps: Informational, Media and Modal. Informational Notifications can be used for general messages to the user, with optional actions. Media Notifications are used when the user is interacting with media inside your application (music with artist and title for example). Modal notifications are used for alerts that require user input. Modal notifications may appear at any time over your application. A modal notification takes the focus and the user must take actions to dismiss that notification.

Note: Modal notifications can only be generated by the Amazon Fire TV user interface in response to critical issues (such as an unavailable network connection). System-wide modal notifications cannot be generated by individual apps. You can use alert dialogs (AlertDialog) to create modal alerts within your app.

Figure 13- Modal Notification

Amazon Fire TV Notifications are slightly different from standard Android Notifications. Although the API for Android notifications is available in the Amazon Fire TV SDK, and apps that use that API will compile, standard Android notifications do not appear in any way on Fire TV. You must convert your app to use the Fire TV notifications API. 

One you have installed the Amazon Fire TV SDK Add-on, you will then need to import the Amazon device notification namespaces:

	import com.amazon.device.notification.AmazonNotification;
	import com.amazon.device.notification.AmazonNotificationManager;

Next, use AmazonNotification.Builder to create a notification object, as you would a standard Android Notification. The AmazonNotification.Builder class has a new required method, setType(), which indicates the type of notification. You have these notification types to choose from -- TYPE_INFO maps to Information Notifications and TYPE_MEDIA corresponds to Media Notifications.

Once you decide on the type of Notification to create you need to set up the Builder object like below:

 	AmazonNotification.Builder builder = new AmazonNotification.Builder(getApplicationContext());
	builder.setSmallIcon(R.drawable.notification_icon);
	builder.setContentTitle(title);
	builder.setContentText(text);
	builder.setType(AmazonNotification.Builder.TYPE_INFO);

Lastly, register the Notification object with the AmazonNotificationManager, as you would a standard Android Notification. You should also assign it an ID to update or cancel the Notification later.

 
        AmazonNotificationManager notificationManager = (AmazonNotificationManager)     
        getSystemService(Context.NOTIFICATION_SERVICE);
        notificationManager.notify(notificationId, builder.build())

Please note that unlike the Kindle Fire, there is currently no Notification Tray on Amazon Fire TV so if your customer is in an immersive mode app, they will not see the Notification.

For full details and more sample code on implementing notifications, check out our developer documentation here.

Handling Web Content

If your app contains any web content, you will need to do some slight modifications. By default, Amazon Fire TV does not include a Web Browser, but web content is allowed using the Android’s WebView. To use web content, set the WebClient of the WebView and override url overloading. This can be done by calling the setWebViewClient method of the WebVew to a new WebViewClient whose shouldOverrideUrlLoading property has been set to return false. 

This code ensures that your app does not attempt to load an external browser with web content and instead loads it into the WebView. You can see the url being loaded successfully into the WebView below.

Figure 14- WebView HTML content loaded successfully

Note that if you attempt to do a direct call to WebView.loadUrl without setting a new WebViewClient whose shouldOverrideUrlLoading method returns false like above you will see an error like this one:

Figure 15- webview.loadUrl security message

If you would like to link to other apps on the Amazon Appstore, for example, to cross-promote your own offerings, you can also use Android Intents with amzn:// urls, just as you can on the Kindle Fire. If you “deep link” to an app that is not ready for Amazon Fire TV we still show the detail page for the app, but customers are not able to download it. Check out this post for more information.  

Conclusion

Once your app is updated for Amazon Fire TV, your app’s listing on the Amazon Appstore runs across all the available devices you chose when you submit your app. Customers pay for your app once and begin to engage across all of their Kindle Fire tablets, Android phones and tablets, and now Amazon Fire TV. The opportunities for your customers to discover and engage with your app continue to grow!

In addition to the tips I’ve included here, be sure to check out these additional resources:

Purchase an Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV SDK Frequently Asked Questions

Amazon Fire TV SDK

Device Specifications

Display and Layout

User Interface

Design and User Experience Guidelines

Android Developer Multiple Screen Guidance

Supporting Different Screen Sizes

Supporting Different Densities

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

April 16, 2014

David Isbitski

Here is a quick recap of new posts last week on the Amazon Apps & Services Blog.

Thursday, April 10th

10 Tips for Remote and Controller

We shared 10 Tips for adding remote and game controller support to your Amazon Fire TV games.

One of the most exciting prospects of publishing your game on Amazon Fire TV is that you can run Android games directly on the TV. If you are already building games for Android, you can use the same codebase you currently have, and make that game playable on Amazon Fire TV.

Thursday, April 10th

Here is How Thousands of Apps Are Receiving a Guaranteed $1.50 Banner CPM

Since March 1st, we have been guaranteeing developers with qualifying apps a $1.50 banner CPM for serving mobile ads through the Amazon Mobile Ad Network.  We shared this week some feedback from developers as well as steps you can take to qualify your own apps for promotion.

Friday, April 11th

More Player Engagement Potential: GameCircle Now Rewards Player Experience across Games

We announced new features to the GameCircle player experience:  (1) expanded player profiles with cross-game experience points, called XP, which allow players to track and share their total play time and (2) GameCircle-created achievements across multiple games, called Badges, which enhance players’ overall GameCircle Profile. 

Players will enjoy these features as they offer new reasons to revisit favorites as well as incentives to try new games.

Friday, April 11th

 

 

 

 

 

Support Amazon Fire TV and Get Extra Appstore Developer Select Program Benefits: 500K Amazon Coins and Enhanced Merchandising

With the announcement of Amazon Fire TV, we have expanded the benefits offered as part of the Appstore Developer Select (ADS) program to increase visibility of apps on Fire TV.  In addition to 500k free mobile ad impressions, enhanced merchandising, Amazon Coins incentives for your customers, and AWS credits (all standard with ADS), qualifying apps that are also compatible with Amazon Fire TV and its hardware controllers will also receive:

  • Enhanced On-Device Merchandising: Qualifying apps will have the opportunity to be merchandised via a dedicated category placement on the Amazon Fire TV Appstore home page.
  • 500K Amazon Coins Offer per Qualifying App: Amazon will offer 500,000 Amazon Coins ($5,000 value) for each of your qualifying paid apps or apps with in-app purchasing that are compatible with Amazon Fire TV and one of its Amazon hardware controllers (up to 3 apps per developer). You can create campaigns via the Promotions Console to give these Coins away to consumers purchasing any of your paid apps or in-app items.

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and our YouTube channel.

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

April 15, 2014

David Isbitski

In May last year we announced Login with Amazon (LWA), an OAuth 2.0 protocol authentication service that allows your mobile apps for Android and iOS to securely connect with Amazon customers.

Today we are making things even easier for customers using apps enabled with Login with Amazon  on the latest generation of Kindle Fire devices.  Starting today, mobile apps and games that use Login with Amazon on these Kindle Fire devices will no longer need to ask Amazon customers to sign in each time the app is run. Instead, the first time the app is run Login with Amazon will automatically use the account registered to the Kindle Fire device.  The user will then simply need to consent to share their information once for each of those apps to be automatically signed in.

What Has Changed for Developers?

In addition to enabling single sign-on for Kindle Fire, Login with Amazon is now integrated with the Amazon Mobile App SDK with documentation available here in the API section of developer.amazon.com.  Login with Amazon is now part of your one-stop destination for all of Amazon’s Mobile App Developer offerings.

What Has Changed for Kindle Fire Customers?

Mobile Apps and Games downloaded to Kindle Fire devices that have implemented Login with Amazon will no longer need to ask customers to sign in each time.

In the below screenshot I launch the Sample Login with Amazon app from the Amazon Mobile App SDK.

Figure 1- Launching the Login with Amazon Sample App from the Amazon Mobile App SDK

The Sample App provides a Login with Amazon button for the user to click.  Since this is the first time I am logging in with the Sample App I am greeted with a prompt where I agree to consent to share specified information from my Amazon account under the Settings section.  Note, I am only prompted the first time I run the app and when I use the app in the future, I will automatically be logged in. To stop logging in automatically, go to Your Account>> Manage Login with Amazon settings and remove the app.

 

Figure 3- Giving the App permission to automatically log you in on future launches

What Versions of Kindle Fire Are Supported?

All third generation of Kindle Fire are supported including:

  • Kindle Fire HDX 7” HDX (3rd Gen)
  • Kindle Fire HDX 8.9” HDX (3rd Gen)
  • Kindle Fire HD 7" (3rd Gen)

How Do I Get Started?

To enable Login with Amazon, click on the Login with Amazon tab in the Developer Console to create or select a security profile.

Next, follow the below steps to setup your developer environment and add Login with Amazon to your app:

  1. Install the Login with Amazon SDK for Android
  2. Run the Sample App
  3. Register with Login with Amazon
  4. Create a Login with Amazon Project
  5. Use the SDK for Android APIs

The above Login with Amazon sample app is now included with the Amazon Mobile App SDK.  Simply download the latest version and navigate to  Android/LoginWithAmazon/samples/SampleLoginWithAmazonApp in the folder where you unzipped the SDK.

Learn more about the Login with Amazon API section of developer.amazon.com here.

Conclusion

By enabling Login with Amazon on your Mobile Apps and Games for Kindle Fire, you no longer need to ask customers to sign in. This streamlines the experience for your customers and increases engagement for your apps where your customers may have needed to remember their specific login credentials. 

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

April 07, 2014

David Isbitski

Here is a quick recap of new posts last week on the Amazon Apps & Services Blog.

Tuesday, April 1st

Get User Feedback Data to Improve Your Apps

We announced that developers with a registered Amazon account can get free access to the PreApps User Feedback program which includes the ability to post your free app, receive customer feedback, access to beta testers, see the number of users asking to be notified when your app goes live and access to PreApps App Analytics.  We’ll be sending a code to all registered developers so keep an eye out for it in your inbox and let us know what you think.
 

Wednesday, April 2nd

Put Your Apps and Games on More Screens with Amazon Fire TV

We announced Amazon Fire TV, a new device that makes it easy for users to stream movies, TV shows, and music as well as download apps and play games right on the HDTVs they already own.

For developers, Fire TV can help you increase your customer base by putting your app in the living room, in front of people who enjoy entertainment and may not have seen your apps before. To promote rich user experiences, Fire TV enables full-featured game controllers, Dolby Digital Plus Certified surround sound and more. Android developers will find that developing for Fire TV is familiar, and optimizing their apps for the new controllers and TV display will not require learning a new language or new frameworks. 

Find out how to get your Android Apps and Games onto Amazon Fire TV today!

Friday, April 4th

Pick the Date and Time: Launching Apps on your Schedule in the Amazon Appstore

We announced a new ability to specify the date and time you would like your app to go live on the Amazon Appstore.
 

This gives you the ability to coordinate your app release on Amazon with releases on other stores and in conjunction with any press or social media launch events you may wish to plan.

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and our YouTube channel.

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

April 07, 2014

David Isbitski

This quick video will give you an overview of the Amazon In-App Purchasing API.  It will cover how to get started, offer advice on popular In-App items and categories, and cover the process for creating your own In-App SKU catalogs.  Whether you are completely new to In-App Purchasing, or have existing items for sale on other Appstores like Google Play, this video will help point you in the right direction.

April 01, 2014

David Isbitski

PreApps: Improving Monetization through User Feedback

When it comes to monetizing your apps who couldn’t use just a little help? Amazon is consistently looking for solutions to help you simplify the process of attracting new users, increase discoverability, improve IAP performance and grow revenue in your apps and games. While we have built many solutions on our own we know there are a number of solutions outside Amazon that can help increase app revenue and get your apps discovered.

PreApps is one of those solutions, and we are working with PreApps to provide Amazon Appstore developers with discounted offers and services. PreApps connects developers and app enthusiasts, before the launch of an app, to help developers improve app quality and hopefully monetization as a result. The concept is pretty simple – users get access to your apps to help identify bugs and things like UI enhancements and if they like your app, they can help promote it through their social network. More than one-thousand apps have used the service, and we’d like to hear how it works for you..

Free Access to PreApps User Feedback Program

Starting today Developers with a registered Amazon Account can get free access to the PreApps User Feedback program which includes the ability to post your free app, receive customer feedback, access to beta testers, see the number of users asking to be notified when your app goes live and access to PreApps App Analytics.  We’ll be sending a code to all registered developers so keep an eye out for it in your inbox and let us know what you think.

To learn more about PreApps visit their website or you can read what TechCrunch had to say about them here.

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

March 31, 2014

David Isbitski

Here is a quick recap of new posts last week on the Amazon Apps & Services Blog.

Monday, March 24th

DotEmu Proves Premium Pricing Pays Off

 

We showed that premium pricing can still work!  DotEmu now has several classic games on the Amazon Appstore generating revenue and has seamlessly integrated Amazon’s GameCircle API.

 

Wednesday, March 26th

DJit Finds Amazon Appstore Customers Bring Higher Average Revenue and Longer Session Lengths

We discussed how DJiT’s Amazon Appstore version of eDjing is seeing higher average revenue and longer session lengths than other platforms.

“The Average Revenue Per Download (ARPD) on Amazon is actually higher than on Android.” – Jean-Baptiste, CEO 
 

Thursday, March 27th

Top 4 Things That Surprised Developers at GDC about AB Testing

We talked about Amazon A/B Testing at GDC 2014 and some top developer questions.

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and our YouTube channel.

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

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