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Showing posts by Mario Viviani

February 21, 2017

Mario Viviani


Today we are excited to announce that the all-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, the most powerful streaming media stick available, is coming to the UK and Germany. The next generation Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote will also be available in Japan this April.

[Read More]

December 28, 2016

Mario Viviani


In parts 1-5 of this series we followed the user journey on Fire TV from browsing and content discovery to reading the details of specific content and performing an action. Now we end our journey on the best part: how to play the video!

The PlaybackOverlayActivity

In a Leanback-enabled project, playing video content is performed within the PlaybackOverlayActivity.

The UI of the PlaybackOverlayActivity is simple. We have a full-screen video player that is responsible for playing the content. On top of the video player is the PlaybackOverlayFragment, which is responsible for displaying all the media controls and managing the underlying content play back.

[Read More]

December 09, 2016

Mario Viviani

Providing the Details of the App Content through the DetailsFragment

In Part 1 of this series we analyzed the TV Interaction Model, based on three steps: Browsing for Content, Reading Description and Details, and Playing the Content. The first action, Browsing for Content, as we have seen in Part 3 of this series, is achieved through the BrowseFragment.

Now let’s see how we can provide information about a specific piece of content, following the second step of the user journey, Reading Description and Details. To do this we’ll use one of the main components of a Leanback-enabled project: the DetailsFragment.

The DetailsFragment

The DetailsFragment is displayed when the user selects a specific piece of content on the BrowseFragment. It contains information like Title, Subtitle, Description, and is accompanied by a preview of the content. It also contains Actions that we can prompt our user to perform.

One of the most important classes used in the DetailsFragment is DetailsOverViewRow. This class defines which content is displayed in the fragment (as seen in the previous episode, DetailsOverViewRow takes advantage of a Presenter, called DescriptionPresenter) and, most importantly, is responsible for defining the Actions that we can prompt our user to perform.

private void setupDetailsOverviewRow() {
    final DetailsOverviewRow row 
			= new DetailsOverviewRow(mSelectedMovie);
    row.addAction(new Action(ACTION_WATCH_TRAILER, 
				“Watch Trailer”, “FREE”)));

In the highlighted row we demonstrate how easy it is to add a specific Action to the DetailsFragment. Just by coding addAction() we can add a new Action for the user to perform. In this case we added the unique ID ACTION_WATCH_TRAILER, for the Action and two Strings Watch Trailer”, “FREEto define the text field of the button.

Once we have added this line, the Action will be displayed on the DetailsFragment.

By using Actions we can easily add IAP items like “Rent the Content”, “Buy”, or “Subscribe”. It is just a matter of attaching a Listener to the Actions to perform consequent tasks.

When we deploy a Leanback-enabled project, the only Action that is defined by default is the “Watch Trailer” that prompts the trailer of the content to play.

Stay tuned for Part 6: How to Play Video Content using the PlaybackOverlayFragment

In the next and final episode of this series we’ll show how to play the content, leverage the Remote Control, and how to show the on-screen controls using the PlaybackOverlayFragment.

Stay tuned!

Mario Viviani (@mariuxtheone)


December 02, 2016

Mario Viviani

Editing the user interface of a Leanback-enabled TV app through Presenters

In the previous episode of this series we discussed how to create the main interface of our Leanback-enabled project through the BrowseFragment. Now let’s take a closer look into the Presenter class. The Presenter class allows us to define the look and feel of our Leanback-enabled app without editing the underlying data structure. 

The Presenter class

The Leanback template we created was built following a custom version of the common development pattern, Model-view-controller (MVC), in which the Presenter class acts as the View. The Presenters are passed to the ArrayObjectAdapter as arguments and define how the content of the Adapter should be displayed

The Leanback approach provides a variety of predefined Presenters:

  • CardPresenter defines singular content
  • ListRowPresenter defines how various content in a row should be displayed and arranged
  • DetailsDescriptionPresenter defines the UI of the DetailsFragment

Implementing the Presenters are quite similar: they all follow the ViewHolder pattern and are mostly composed by Custom Views with methods to set the fields of the views. Let’s take a close look at the customizing the CardPresenter as an example:

[Read More]

September 12, 2016

Mario Viviani

Part 3: Browsing the Content of a Leanback-Enabled Android App

In the previous episode of this series we discussed the anatomy of a Leanback-enabled Android App for Amazon Fire TV, discovering what its main components are and how they are tightly tied to the Media Streaming Interaction Model.

We’ll now take a close look into the first and most basic component of an Android App for Amazon Fire TV: the BrowseFragment.

The BrowseFragment

After we launch our freshly created TV Android App, built using the Android Studio App Wizard, we will encounter an interface that will look very similar to this:

[Read More]

August 10, 2016

Mario Viviani

Part 2: Anatomy of a Leanback-Enabled Android App for Amazon Fire TV

In the first part of this series we learned how easy is to create a new Android App for Amazon Fire TV and how to run it for the first time using the Android Studio Wizard for Leanback-Enabled apps in a matter of a few minutes.

We’ll now deep dive into what the main components of this app are and how they interact with each other.


Main Dependencies in a Leanback-Enabled Project

After we have created a new TV project using the Android Studio Wizard, we can notice that the wizard has automatically included some libraries in our project dependencies.

[Read More]

June 22, 2016

Mario Viviani

More and more apps for kids are available on Amazon Underground. Amazon Underground offers free versions of over 2,000 apps and games on Android smartphones and Fire tablets. Starting today, Mister Maker: Let’s Make It! and Fireman Sam – Junior Cadet, developed by P2 Games Limited are available for download from Amazon Underground.

Inspired by the popular TV carton, in Fireman Sam – Junior Cadet young fans can learn with Fireman Sam and the rest of the Fire Crew as they take on the role of a fire cadet in training. The Underground version contains more features than the paid version: 8 different ways to play including interactive single and multi-player games, video player with 6 videos, and a special reward sticker book 70 stickers and 12 background scenes. The game is suitable for 3 to 6yrs old.

[Read More]

June 15, 2016

Mario Viviani

Part 1: Deploy a “Hello World” Media Streaming App on Fire TV in a Few Minutes

Android is no longer just for Mobile devices. Even if it started as an OS designed for smartphones, it evolved during time. In 2011 with Android 3.0 Honeycomb, specifically designed for tablets, Android scaled up to bigger screens, and this changed the way users engaged with mobile devices. Recently, Android scaled up to an ever bigger screen: the TV.

All of a sudden, Android developers can start thinking about building native Android apps for a new and exciting use case, the 10-foot experience, where users sit down, relax and engage with content specifically designed for their TV.

Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick are Android devices

Amazon Fire OS, which animates all the most recent Amazon devices like Fire tablets, Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick, is based on Android 5.0 Lollipop. This means that Fire OS is capable of running full-fledged Android apps: 85% of Android apps submitted to the Amazon Appstore just work! If your app relies on the Android framework APIs and related support libraries, there’s a high chance it can run on Fire OS. You can test your APK on our online App Testing Service and discover in 90 seconds if your app is compatible with Fire OS! When it comes to Fire TV, we wanted to make life of developers easy. That’s the reason we decided to fully support the Android Leanback Support library. This make extremely easy for Android developers to deploy native media streaming apps for TV.

Let’s discover how.

[Read More]

April 20, 2016

Mario Viviani

Calling All UK Developers!

We hear from many developers that getting apps discovered by customers is an important part of launch. Because of this feedback, we’re kicking off a new initiative to feature more UK developers on Amazon Appstore UK. To have your app considered, simply submit before June 10, 2016. We will review and select a number of newly published apps (submitted between April 20th and June 10th 2016) to be featured as part of an Appstore UK billboard. There will also be opportunities for stand out apps and games to be highlighted in additional placements on, Amazon Fire tablets, and Amazon Appstore on Android devices.

What Do You Need to Do?

  1. Register for a free Developer Account if you have not done so already
  2. Submit your new apps before June 10, 2016
  3. Complete THIS FORM  by June 10, 2016

Don't forget, we have an APK testing tool on our developer portal where you can find out in 90 seconds if your app is compatible. And from the apps testing so far, we see that 85% of Android apps just work without changes on Amazon devices.

How Will the Apps Be Selected?

For the featured placement on our UK Appstore, the Amazon team will review and select apps to be featured. (Disclaimer: submitted apps which are rejected during the Appstore review process will not qualify as entries. We will only consider apps that are newly published or approved for publishing. Only new apps submitted from April 20th  to June 10th 2016 will be considered). Once all apps have been reviewed, we will announce the selected developers via email.

We look forward to see your new apps on Amazon Appstore!



April 08, 2016

Mario Viviani

Design is one of the pillars of the success of a mobile app, along with the development process and the distribution channels. Defining how the users will interact with your app is as important as implementing the features of the app and integrating an efficient monetization model. Also, when it comes to designing an interface for a new interaction model like TV, a lot of the patterns that work well with smartphone and tablet interfaces needs to be rethought to take advantage of the big screen and the input model provided through the remote.

[Read More]

March 22, 2016

Mario Viviani

Now is the perfect time for Android developers to get into the growing streaming device segment with their existing Android app or game. Android developers will find that developing for Amazon 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. Join Amazon’s Mario Viviani, Technology Evangelist, to learn how to bring your Android apps and games to the living room with Amazon Fire TV. For developers, Amazon 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.

Join us on March 31st to learn how to go From Mobile to TV—Creating a Native Android Media Streaming App for Amazon Fire TV. During this webinar, we will:

  • Dive into the Leanback Android support library.
  • Help you understand how to take advantage of the big screen while using UI patterns for app navigation through the remote.
  • Teach you how to run your first TV app on Amazon Fire TV.

If you’ve considered building a TV app or are interested in learning how, reserve your spot today!

 For 7:00am PST (3:00pm BST) on Thursday, March 31, 2016


For 1:00pm PST (9:00pm BST) on Thursday, March 31, 2016


I look forward to seeing you attend the webinar!

- Mario


February 22, 2016

Mario Viviani

On November 3rd 2015 300+ attendees, two tracks about monetization and gaming, 13 sessions, multiple guest speakers and the Amazon Appstore evangelists animated a very successful developer-focused conference: the Amazon Appstore Developer Summit 2015, which took place at CodeNode, London.

The Amazon Appstore Developer Summit focused around unique insights into the Amazon Appstore ecosystem, emerging user interfaces and devices that are driving new user behaviors, like Fire TV and Amazon Echo, and new business models like Amazon Underground and Merch, which are opening up opportunities for customers and the developer community.

Here you can find the recordings of all the sessions, complete with slides, organized by topic:

[Read More]

January 12, 2016

Mario Viviani

Optimize Your Android App User Interface for Fire, Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 Tablets

The new line of Fire tablets set an entirely new standard for low-cost tablets, with the Fire 7’’ Tablet being sold at less than $50. Amazon has already sold millions of tablets, so it’s a great time for you to submit your apps and games to the Amazon Appstore. In order to provide a great experience to users, the first thing you have to think about is the user interface (UI) of your app. Designing the UI and UX (user experience) of an app could become a very challenging and time-consuming task, but there are some simple steps that you can follow to make your app look great on the new Fire tablets. Also, keep in mind that Fire OS 5, available on all the new Fire tablets, is based on Android 5.1, so all the standard approaches to develop Android apps UI also apply to Fire OS apps!

In this post, we’ll deep dive into understanding screen resolution and density of Fire tablets, disclose the best strategies to properly create and size the layouts and graphical resources of your app, teach you how to provide a correctly-size app icon for Fire OS 5, and how to explicitly declare support for Fire tablets in your Android app manifest.

[Read More]

December 07, 2015

Mario Viviani

Amazon Underground allows developers to monetize 100% of the customers using their apps or games. Because apps and games are Actually Free on Underground, including in-app purchases, all customers need to do is download and start playing. Developers are paid by Amazon for every single minute their app is used by customers—rewarding player engagement and retention, rather than monetization effectiveness.

[Read More]

December 03, 2015

Mario Viviani

Amazon Underground is a new app for Android phones where customers can access over 1,500 free versions of apps and games that normally cost money to download and play (including unlimited, free in-app items).  Amazon Underground launched in August of 2015 for customers in the US, UK, Germany and France. Starting today, Amazon Underground is available in 16 additional countries and territories including Italy and Spain, opening up new and exciting opportunities for mobile developers to reach an even broader audience.

Amazon Underground customers will find  free versions of popular premium titles like Office Suite Professional 8 and Fruit Ninja and popular titles with in-app purchases like Frozen Free Fall, Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions, Angry Birds Slingshot Stella, and many more.   Any developer can submit their app, which means more apps and games will be added to Underground all the time.

[Read More]

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