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July 07, 2015Karen Wilder Huaulme
Today, we are introducing new features to improve device targeting for your Amazon Appstore apps and games on Android devices. Previously, targeting non-Amazon Android devices was done through compatibility settings in the binary’s AndroidManifest.xml file. Now, in addition to supporting industry standards for manifest-based device filtering, developers can use the Developer Portal to target the most popular Android devices including the Nexus 5, 7, 10, HTC One, Shield Tablet, Galaxy Nexus, Sony Experia Z, and the Motorola Droid Razr HD to name just a few. Developers can now look at the list of supported, excluded and unsupported devices to quickly see which devices are compatible with their app, and if their app manifest settings have filtered out any devices.
To begin, log in to the Amazon Appstore developer portal and choose your application. From there, under the Binary File(s) tab, click the Edit button at the bottom of the screen to navigate to the device support options
The Device Support summary shows the total number of devices that are Supported (compatible), Excluded (manually de-selected) and Unsupported (incompatible based on your manifest settings). To change your device support settings, click the Edit device support link to open the Device Support dialog.
Navigation Tips: the device summary drop-down at the top of the screen provides an overview of current device support. Clicking any of the links will filter the UI to show only the devices in the selected category. This is a quick and easy way of reviewing and editing your device support options.
You can also use the Find a device search box to quickly find devices by manufacturer or model. If you need to find a specific device by name, the search function will highlight devices that match your text. Simply start typing, and the dialog lists matching devices. You can choose to exclude or target devices directly from the search results.
We have included a few extra controls for developer targeting convenience. At the top of the Device Support dialog, you will find the setting Enable non-Amazon devices. If you want to limit your app’s availability to only a handful of non-Amazon devices, you can toggle-off this setting to initially exclude all devices before manually selecting devices for inclusion in to your compatibility list.
In the example below, you can see that a device has already been excluded based on the binary’s manifest. You can further limit the devices with known compatibility issues by manually de-selecting them in the Device Support dialog.
At the bottom of the Device Support dialog, there is a setting for All other Android devices. This control is enabled by default. It allows your app to be distributed to any other compatible Android devices not explicitly listed. It also allows your app to be made available for newly released (future) Android devices that are compatible with your manifest. Turning this setting off causes your app to only be distributed to selected devices.
With the introduction of manifest-based device targeting we are making it even simpler for developers to publish their apps in the Amazon Appstore. Developers can now reach more customers on compatible devices, and take steps to avoid delivering a poor customer experience on incompatible or poorly performing devices.
December 30, 2014Karen Wilder Huaulme
Recently Amazon launched a Live App Testing Service to the Amazon developer community. Since it launched, this self-testing tool has proven invaluable in helping our partners work through issues and get their apps up and running in the Amazon Appstore.
Live App Testing allows you to quickly distribute your apps in the Amazon Appstore to a pre-defined set of testers before you go live. The testers will be able to sample the full suite of Amazon services - including in-app purchasing - against our production environment, so you can ensure your app is working as expected. In addition to basic functionality, this tool allows you to test GameCircle Achievements and Leaderboards, Facebook integration and connectivity, Amazon Device Messaging, Maps and other features in a live Amazon Appstore environment - without needing the SDK tester and independent of anyone at Amazon. This allows you to gather feedback, improve quality, increase stability and optimize the experience before you push your app live for all customers to download.
No more submitting and crossing your fingers. Basically you will see exactly what your customers would see if the app were live in the store.
Log into your developer account at the Appstore Developer Portal and go to your application’s page. Now go to the Live App Testing tab to create your LAT version for this app. The first screenshots I am attaching will show you the interface for an application entitled Wordy Nerds.
Now work your way across, filling out all the information for Availability & Pricing, Description, Images & Multimedia. Every one of the tabs on the top will have to have a green check mark indicating completion in order to launch your Live App Test for your app.
Next on the Binary tab, click EDIT. Then make sure you check off the EXPORT COMPLIANCE and add the .APK in the Add Binary Box. Live App Testing even supports multi-binary submissions. After saving, don’t forget to hit Submit!
Once you click Submit, the app will start publishing to a test cloud. This process can take up to a few hours.
At this point, you may add testers by inputting their email address. You can enter up to 500 email addresses. These do not have to be work email addresses. You can add friends, family – whomever you choose - and you can add them or remove them at any time. When you input your tester email addresses, they will go into your available tester pool for all your apps. You can then assign all or a subset of these testers to your live app test.
Once publishing is completed, which can take a few hours, your testers will receive an email invitation (see below). In it, they will get a link to your app’s test page on www.amazon.com with instructions on how to download and install your Android application from the Amazon Appstore on Fire devices and any Android phone or tablet, in accordance with the supported devices you specified in the Amazon Developer Portal.
Once your tester has accepted the live app test from the Amazon Appstore, he or she may download and test freely on as many devices registered to his/her Amazon account in a live production environment.
Remember, Live App Testing is a great way to test:
And it’s completely free! Even though the IAP items are priced and presented as you set up, all IAP items are reduced to $0.00 at the time of transaction.
In addition to this hands-on testing experience for your testers, Amazon’s Live App Testing service also automatically gives you crash reports and results from Amazon’s App Testing Service.
From the crash report, you can see what kind of error caused the crash and even obtain the stack trace for debugging.
Amazon’s App Testing Service (ATS) is a self-service static analysis tool leveraging standard Android tools and adding Amazon’s unique new debugging and development capabilities AppXplorer and TRACE. Built on top of Android tools such as UI Automator and dumpsys, AppXplorer helps validate visual integrity, while accurately detecting crashes. TRACE is an on-device agent that collects screen shots, logs, CPU performance information, memory usage and data usage.
This powerful tool is run on your app automatically when you submit a live app test, and results will show up within minutes on your Live App Test dashboard. In addition to any problems reported, you will also find helpful links to relevant blogs and articles on the developer.amazon.com website.
For instance, in the results page below, ATS results indicate linking to other market places.
The link at the bottom of the page will take you to a website advising how to link to the Amazon Appstore instead.
Also, if a crash is detected, you can download the crash logs immediately.
The sprocket icon on your app page allows you to Edit, End Test or Promote to Upcoming. If after testing, you find that you are not happy with your APK, you may re-work your APK, and re-submit by creating a new test. Once submitted and successfully published, the previous LAT will end while retaining all the tester entitlements so your testers can try the newly submitted version. Please note that you can have as many LAT submissions as you wish, but only one is in progress at a time.
When you have gone through all the LAT iterations you need and are happy with your build, then you can now directly submit to the Amazon Appstore by clicking the “Promote to Upcoming” option. You will have to fill out any missing metadata, but you will not need to re-upload the APK. Your app should now fly through testing!
Amazon Developer Pre-Submission Testing Workflow Using Live App Testing
As an Amazon developer, Live App Testing provides you with a comprehensive and friction-free runway to get your app launched as quickly and smoothly as possible in the Amazon Appstore. This valuable tool should be included as part of your testing regimen to ensure a more robust application, smoother submission process, and a happier customer.