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November 14, 2011

amberta

Kindle Fire ships today, and we think this is a huge win for Amazon.com customers and Amazon Appstore for Android developers.  As we mentioned in a Kindle Fire announcement blog post, Kindle Fire boasts Amazon’s incredible selection of digital content at customers’ fingertips:

  • Amazon Appstore for Android – thousands of popular apps and games
  • 18 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, and books
  • Ultra-fast web browsing - Amazon Silk 
  • Free cloud storage for all your Amazon content
  • Vibrant color touchscreen with extra-wide viewing angle  
  • Fast, powerful dual-core processor 

For Amazon Appstore developers, Kindle Fire offers another venue for getting your apps in front of potential customers. You’ll start seeing Kindle Fire, and apps that were Amazon-tested on Kindle Fire for the best experience possible, sprinkled throughout Amazon.com and in the Amazon Appstore marketing campaigns, in addition to the placements where we’ve already been showcasing apps. You can view a selection of some of our favorite Kindle Fire apps in the Amazon Appstore here.

Some of the titles you may have seen in recent press include Netflix, Rhapsody, Pandora, Comics by comiXology, Facebook, The Weather Channel and popular games from Zynga, EA, Gameloft, PopCap, and Rovio.  Thousands of the Amazon Appstore editorial team’s favorites, such as Bird’s the Word, Pinball Deluxe, SketchBook Mobile, Super Sudoku, X Construction, Monkey Preschool Lunchbox, and more are available as well.

What does this mean for you?
As always, we encourage you to ensure you have submitted the most current versions of all your apps to the Amazon Appstore for Android. Now is also a good time to verify that each app’s meta-data (including list price) is up-to to-date. You can update your existing apps and submit new apps using the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal.

Where can you find the technical specifications for Kindle Fire?
The Kindle Fire has a 7” multi-touch display with 1024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi, can display 16 million colors, and has instant access to the Amazon Appstore for Android. For more detailed information about the device, including technical specifications, app compatibility information, development tips, and instructions for submitting your app, please see our Kindle Fire FAQ.

You can order a Kindle Fire to test your apps online at amazon.com/kindlefire.

How can developers get merchandising placement in the Amazon Appstore and on Kindle Fire?
If you have ideas about merchandising and marketing your app at the Amazon Appstore, or if you would like to be considered for Free App of the Day placement, please fill out the Marketing Proposal Form.

October 28, 2011

amberta

Last month we announced a promotion with Amazon Web Services (AWS) where qualifying developers who submit an Android app or app update to the Amazon Appstore for Android are eligible to receive a $50 AWS credit to use toward the following services:

Remember, there’s still time to submit. The promotion runs through November 15, 2011, and we encourage you to get your apps in soon. We encourage you to ensure you’ve submitted the current versions of all your apps to the Amazon Appstore. Now is also a good time to verify that each app’s meta-data (including list price) is up-to-date. You can update your existing apps and submit new apps using the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal.

For developers new to AWS, here’s a great video on how to get started:

Many developers have already qualified for and received their promotion code for AWS. AWS combined with the Amazon Appstore provide a solid suite of solutions to build apps and a great place to get exposure. MightyMeeting, an app that enables users to run online meetings on the go from tablets, smartphones, or any web-enabled device is one great example. “We needed a cost-efficient robust infrastructure that could be used to manage presentations and online meetings in the cloud and scale up or down dynamically depending on the workload. We found that AWS addresses all our needs, even real-time media streaming during a meeting,” says Dmitri Tcherevik, CEO of MightyMeeting Inc.

Learn more about the AWS SDK and this promotion online here. To apply your code, sign up for an AWS account and apply your promotion code by visiting: http://aws.amazon.com/awscredits/

Submit your app online here.
 

October 05, 2011

amberta

Last week Amazon announced the upcoming release of Kindle Fire.  Kindle-fire-screenshot

Kindle Fire is a new addition to  the Kindle family with a vibrant color touch display that offers instant access to the Amazon Appstore, along with Amazon’s massive selection of digital content and free storage in the Amazon Cloud.  A fast and powerful dual-core processor powers the 14.6-ounce device that’s light enough to hold with one hand—all for only $199.

Customers in the U.S. can pre-order Kindle Fire at www.amazon.com/kindlefire.  Read more in the press release.

What does this mean for you?
Kindle Fire ships on November 15.  We encourage you to ensure you have submitted the most current versions of all your apps to the Amazon Appstore for Android.  Now is also a good time to verify that each app’s meta-data (including list price) is up-to to-date.  You can update your existing apps and submit new apps using the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal.

Where can I find the technical specifications for Kindle Fire?

The Kindle Fire has a 7” multi-touch display with 1024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi, can display 16 million colors, and has instant access to the Amazon Appstore for Android.  For more detailed information about the device, including technical specifications, app compatibility information, development tips, and instructions for submitting your app, please see our Kindle Fire FAQ

How can developers get merchandising placement in the Amazon Appstore and on Kindle Fire?

If you have ideas about merchandising and marketing your app at the Amazon Appstore, or if you would like to be considered for Free App of the Day placement, please fill out the the Marketing Proposal Form.

We appreciate your interest in the Amazon Appstore for Android and the new Kindle Fire!

September 07, 2011

amberta

The Amazon Appstore for Android is the place where developers can get exposure for their Android applications through automated merchandising and other marketing.  Amazon also offers great solutions for developers to build apps with the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Mobile SDK.

From September 7, 2011 through November 15, 2011, developers who submit an Android app to the Amazon Appstore are eligible to receive a one-time $50 promotion code for use on certain AWS services (subject to terms and conditions).  Promotion codes will be emailed directly to developers during the first week of October and the last week of November.


AWS delivers a set of simple building block services that together form a reliable, scalable, and inexpensive computing platform “in the cloud”. With AWS, developers can easily access a scalable and cost-effective cloud computing resources through simple API calls or with the use of the AWS Mobile SDK for Android (and iOS).  As noted in this blog post , some highlights of the AWS SDK for Android include:

  • Storage – developers can store and retrieve any amount of data using Amazon S3
  • Database – developers can add a highly available, scalable, and flexible non-relational data store using Amazon SimpleDB with little or no administrative burden
  • Messaging – developers can integrate reliable, highly scalable mobile-to-mobile communication into applications using Amazon SQS and Amazon SNS

The SDK includes a library, full documentation, and some sample code.  You can get the library on GitHub.  Also, in true open source fashion, AWS is open to and encourages external contributions.

Learn more about the AWS SDK and this promotion online here.

Submit your app online here.

July 13, 2011

amberta

AppStoreHQ In addition to merchandising your apps in our store, we often work with media outlets to market Android apps published in the Amazon Appstore for Android.  AppStoreHQ is running a promotion in which they’ll be looking at all new apps submitted to the Amazon Appstore today, July 13th, through July 22nd and selecting five apps to feature on their homepage, in a future AppStoreHQ newsletter, and in their AppESP Android app.  AppStoreHQ’s website has more than a million monthly visits. 


Submit your app to be elligible on the Amazon Appstore here.

June 22, 2011

amberta

Since we launched, we’ve been seeing an influx of developers submitting their app(s) to the Amazon Appstore for Android – which is great!  After apps are submitted, before they can be published in the store, we run the app through technical and content-focused testing.  The vast majority of apps pass testing quickly and with no issues…to maximize the chances that your app will similarly move through our validation process quickly, we will be posting some best practices for helping your app fly through testing. 

 Let’s take a quick look at the most frequent reasons why apps don’t make it through:

  1. Functionality - The app contains general usability issues that make it difficult to use or prohibits the intended functionality
  2. Interrupts - The app has difficulty handling interruptions, like an incoming phone call, changing the orientation, or random input 
  3. Incorrect Linking - The app links to a store other than the Amazon Appstore for Android
  4. Stability - The app has a memory leak, pegs the CPU, or otherwise Force Closes with frequency
  5. Security - The app requires access to sensitive information, or takes too many liberties with the requested permission set
  6. GUI Issues - The app has a less than ideal user experience; perhaps it does not properly scale to different resolutions or other UI elements do not display properly when interacted with

Because many developers have their Android apps published in other stores and are simply re-using their existing apk, incorrect linking can be an area of confusion.  Apps submitted to the Amazon Appstore must have links pointing to the Amazon Appstore (vs. other Android storefronts).  To help your app(s) fly through testing, incorrect linking is an area you can validate and fix quickly before submitting.

Now, how do you ensure your links point to the Amazon Appstore?  Easy, just follow these simple rules:

  • Identify any intents that open an application’s details page in another app store, such as the following snipper that opens a page in the Android Market

Step1

  • Then simply change the URI as specified in the intent.setData call to point to the Amazon Appstore.  Note, this format is useful if you are not sure the user has the Amazon Appstore installed on their device

Step2

  • Alternatively, you can use the Amazon Appstore intent and link that way.  This is a more convenient format for developers.

Step3

Doing a quick check through your code before you submit your app will ensure you don’t get delayed.  In addition, there are a number of ways you can replace the actual String in the URI call so that you can keep one code base and not have to maintain separate code structures for each store you choose to sell your app in.

We hope you keep the scenarios above in mind as you code, and look forward to even more great apps being submitted.

June 01, 2011

amberta

Kevin Barry, the developer behind WidgetLocker, was one of the early developers to submit his apps to the Amazon Appstore for Android – and we’re glad he did! 

WidgetLocker is an app that lets customers customize their lock screen. Users can select from various slider styles or place their own custom sliders and widgets. They can also configure which buttons, such as volume or trackball, are active when the phone is on but locked.

Kevin first heard about the Amazon Appstore in the Android rumor mill. Right around the time he picked up on the buzz, he received an e-mail from us asking him if he’d like to submit his app to our new store. “After I first started engaging with the Amazon Appstore team, I was already impressed,” Kevin said. “They were, and are, always responsive and were able to help me with technical questions. In the Android Market I need to rely solely on the forums for help.”

We decided to run a promotion with WidgetLocker. Here’s what we looked at before selecting this app for a promotion:

  • Was the category popular with our customers? WidgetLocker is in Utilities, which has been a very active category since launch.
  • Did we like the app? While we test every app included in the store, there are some that our team of merchandisers use regularly and like. This was one of them.
  • Did the app already have a few reviews? We can make assumptions about what our customers may or may not like based on overarching behavior in the store, but there’s nothing like hearing directly from customers and what they do or don’t like.

WidgetLocker is also “Test Drive” enabled. This is by no means a requirement for apps we select for promotions, but it is compelling for customers.

Widget-locker
 

Although WidgetLocker doesn’t come with a hefty price tag, it is a paid app. We decided to mark the app down for a limited period of time to entice customers to act NOW. We marked WidgetLocker from $1.99 down to $0.99.  When we do markdowns, it’s not because we want to slash prices – we want to drive behavior. In this instance, we wanted to drive downloads of the app.

After the promotion wrapped, Kevin told us, “To be honest, I didn’t think marking the app down would make a big impact. I’m happy to say I was wrong. The discount seemed to drive a lot of sales. I think if I had just lowered the price to $0.99, it wouldn’t have made the same impact – it was the perception of a sale combined with the marketing around the sale.”

On top of marking down the price, we sent an e-mail about WidgetLocker, along with a selection of other app deals, to a targeted list of customers who had already expressed interest in receiving information regarding Utilities and Productivity apps.

Widgetlocker-email
 
The results were great – during the promotion, WidgetLocker’s sales spiked and they climbed the ranks:

Charts
 

**the app was also #1 overall during the promotion.

On an ongoing basis, we’re monitoring customer activity to merchandise the site and select deals and promotions. Our goal is to keep our customers happy and coming back and to keep our developers happy by getting exposure for their apps as well as driving revenue.

May 31, 2011

amberta

Following on the heels of our Android exclusive launch of Chuzzle, today we released Plants vs. Zombies for Android which, for the next couple weeks, Android users can only get in the Amazon Appstore for Android.

Square-banner

If you’re not familiar with Plants vs. Zombies, it’s one of game developer PopCap’s most popular titles.  A mob of fun-loving zombies invades players’ homes and the only defense is an arsenal of  zombie-zapping plants.

In a blog post about “Marketing apps on Amazon.com,” we talked about how we occasionally market apps from our store in other Amazon storefronts, and gave TurboTax as an example.  In addition to featuring apps for Android in other storefronts and, of course, automated marketing, we have a few marketing levers that help apps get discovered.  The big daddy of them all is something we call a “Brand Store.”

Popcap-store

Brand Stores are a collection of products by a given brand used across categories at Amazon.com.  Because PopCap sells apps for Android, video games, and now digital video games on Amazon.com, we worked with them to create a destination to show all of their goods in one place thus making it easier for PopCap fans to find all of PopCap’s gems (and Chuzzles, and Zombies, and …) in one place.

Brand Stores are appropriate for bigger vendors.  That said, we are constantly working to showcase lesser known vendors and their apps on the Amazon Appstore and other Amazon.com destinations.  We are doing this through promotions, targeted emails, promotions on related items’ pages, and more.  We are dedicated to helping expose small developers' apps. 

So why do we keep banging the drum with these big vendors and better known apps?  It’s simple – we think that by giving our customers exclusive content, great deals, and the brands they know and love, we’ll be able to drive more traffic to the Amazon Appstore and inherently to every app in the Amazon Appstore.

May 17, 2011

amberta

Yesterday PopCap Games, a worldwide leader in casual games, announced an agreement with – you guessed it – us, to offer their first Android games in the U.S. market, exclusively in the Amazon Appstore for Android. Today we’re happy to make Chuzzle (regularly $2.99) available for free.

For the few people not familiar with Chuzzle, it’s a non-stop explosion of game action. Chuzzles burst when they get together in groups of three or more. The only way to “make them happy” is to pop them.  Chuzzle is already a hit with iPhone users. Now, Chuzzle for Android features on-the-go gameplay action including four different modes, a “trophy room,” scrambles, and dynamic level generation.

CHUZZLE-FAD
 

What’s in it for you?
We’re continuing a steady drumbeat of exclusives and deals to wow customers, thus bringing new customers into the store and enticing existing customers to keep coming back. As we mentioned in last week’s post about Angry Birds Rio, the more customers we engage, the more opportunities there is to monetize your apps. 

We’ve launched a marketing campaign for the exclusive Android launch of Chuzzle on the Amazon Appstore, and, spoiler alert, we’re preparing one for the impending exclusive Android launch of Plants vs. Zombies. Both Chuzzle and Plants vs. Zombies have a large and loyal iPhone fanbase, and Android users have been asking for these games.

Why do we do exclusives?
At Amazon, we start with the customer and work backwards. By bringing new apps and games to the Android marketplace first, we’re showing our customers we work hard to deliver some of hottest titles before they’re available anywhere else.

We think happy customers will be repeat customers, so for developers this means more chances to get apps, including exclusive apps, in front of the right audience. On an ongoing basis we’re also working to drive traffic to our store – and your apps.

When do we consider exclusives?
We are always looking for the next best thing, which is part of why we love our jobs – we get to play!  We’re also monitoring what customers are saying about apps and the Amazon Appstore, including what else customers want.  We look at exclusives on an opportunistic basis; some of our considerations are:

  • Are the apps timely?
  • Will our customers want them? Do they suit our core audience?
  • Is the developer willing and able to help in the marketing of the exclusive?
  • Is there a proven track record of success? (This is by no means a deal maker or breaker– we’re always trying to uncover new apps that we think will be runaway hits.)

Stay tuned for more on exclusives and cool opportunities – we’re just getting warmed up.

May 17, 2011

amberta

How to update your app:
To update details about your app (including images, videos, app descriptions, etc.):

  1. Go to “My Apps” (do not click on “Add New App”) and click “Edit App Details” button for your Live, Pending Action, Incomplete, or Ready to Submit app
  2. You can make changes and save them in each section
  3. You must click “Submit App” when finished – this will allow Amazon to validate and publish your  changes live on the website


To update your APK:

  1. Click “Create new version” near your Live, Approved, or Rejected app
  2. You can upload a new binary on the next screen
  3. Put release notes in the “Upload Binary” section after you upload your APK
  4. Click “Submit App” to notify Amazon about your new version of the app

May 13, 2011

amberta

Angry-birds-rio-icon If you’ve seen or heard of the movie Rio, you may have seen that Blu isn’t in his cage anymore – no mirror, no little bell.  He’s ready to hit the beach.  And with Blu gaining his freedom, Rovio has released an updated Android version of Angry Birds Rio exclusively in the Amazon Appstore for Android with 30 new levels and, you guessed it, Blu is a playable character filled with feathered fury. 

Angry-birds-rio-blu

What does this mean for you?
The more customers we engage, the more opportunities we have to monetize your apps.  When we launched, we had the Android version of Angry Birds Rio exclusively in the Amazon Appstore.  As part of our launch marketing we advertised the Amazon Appstore and leveraged an Android exclusive of Angry Birds Rio as a hook across Amazon.com online, in mobile advertising, in social outlets, and more.  The results have been tremendous.
 
There will also be another marketing campaign surrounding the update of Angry Birds Rio exclusive on the Amazon Appstore.  Angry Birds Rio has a large and loyal fanbase, many of whom will come to the Amazon Appstore get the update and ultimately purchase other apps. 

When to consider updates:
There are many things to take into consideration when updating your app.  Here are some high level things to consider:

  • Does the customer want the update?  Customer forums can really help you here – check out what customers are saying and if there are themes (e.g. technical problems or content requests / suggestions) you should consider them.
  • Will the update improve the usability of the app?  This goes to the technical point above.
  • Is the update timely?  Angry Birds Seasons did a great job here.  Outside of holidays, other things to consider in timing are seasons – an update to a music app with built in holiday tunes could be cool in December, for example.

April 21, 2011

amberta

Appnation Next week we’ll be at the APPNATION conference in San Francisco on April 27 and 28 at Moscone Center South.  The conference is intended primarily for developers and entrepreneurs like you to learn and share best practices about getting exposure for and monetizing apps. 

Our very own Jon Fleming, head of business development, will be on a panel moderated by Noah Kravitz, editor-at-large for TechnoBuffalo, called “So Many App Stores, So Little Time” along with Jud Bowman, Appia CEO, and Trevor Cornwell, appbackr CEO. 

We’ve negotiated a discount of 50% off the full-conference, all-access pass to APPNATION 2011.  You can redeem this discount online with the priority code: “APDI50.”  The code is good until Tuesday, April 26th at 11:59pm.

We hope to see you there!

April 14, 2011

amberta

In a previous post, we talked about automated marketing for apps in the Amazon Appstore for Android. On top of automated marketing, Amazon is constantly striving to achieve an excellent customer experience through timely merchandising of relevant products across Amazon.com. 

Occasionally, we can market apps from our store in other Amazon storefronts when the content is compelling and the right fit. This placement is a win-win for customers and developers. It brings relevant information to customers and can increase impressions and hopefully downloads of an app for developers. Here is an example of a “right roto,” or an ad that appears on the right of a page, for the TurboTax SnapTax app in Amazon’s tax storefront

  Snaptax-roto

On top of showcasing the TurboTax SnapTax app, we incorporated a “shoveler,” or a grouping of apps, onto the page where we’re displaying other tax-related apps that we think customers may find useful.  Here is a look at the entire page:

   Tax-page

So what makes an app the right fit for placement in other Amazon stores?   Bottom line, the app content must be relevant to and/or complement other content on a page in another Amazon store.  

March 31, 2011

amberta

If you have ever shopped at Amazon.com, you’ve likely seen “Customer Discussions” associated with features such as the Gold Box Deal of the Day, as well as individual items. Customer Discussions connects customers with each other to ask questions and share insights and opinions on Amazon.com about different products and services. 


As an app developer, you can benefit from the great opportunity Customer Discussions offers for interacting with customers who are interested in your app. You can answer customer questions, provide support, and collect feedback for futures releases.


While product detail pages give an overview of the app itself, and star ratings and reviews give high-level insight into what customers think, Customer Discussions is a place where customers can interact and talk about both the app and topics related to the app.


Here is an example of the Customer Discussions happening on the Shazam Encore app:

Customer Discussions
You’ll see the various discussions focus on music in this case, as the app is music-centric, and aren’t as much about the app itself. Even though the discussions are about the music and not about the app itself, they can provide valuable information about your customers’ taste, which you can use in marketing your app. Customers may also talk directly about the app in the Customer Discussions threads – here’s where you have the opportunity to glean information for potential app updates.

Wondering how to get started?  To post on Amazon forums, all you need to do is sign in to your Amazon account (the account must have at least one purchase on it) and start posting. We expect all of our customers to follow Amazon.com’s Conditions of Use and adhere to the discussion guidelines at all time. If you haven’t created a pen name already, we suggest you use a name that clearly indicates you are the creator of the app. To build customer trust, it is important that they be able to differentiate you from other customers. Finally, please keep in mind that Customer Discussions is not a place to start verbal wars. We want our developers to be a friendly, helpful resource for our customers. You can learn more about Customer Discussions online here.
 

March 23, 2011

amberta

We are excited to announce the US launch of the Amazon Appstore for Android. If you’ve already submitted your app(s) – thank you! We couldn’t have launched this store without your support. From Games to Utilities, we have apps to suit our customers’ many Android app wants and needs. 


Appstore-homepage
 
Over the past few months we have been sharing quite a bit of information about what you as a developer can utilize in the Developer Portal and in the Amazon Appstore itself. As you can see, we built the store to make it easy to find, discover and buy Android apps. We believe a more compelling customer experience will in turn result in better monetization.


Amazon Appstore highlights:

In true Amazon fashion, we’re making discoverability easier, which gets your apps in front of more customers. Specifically, we are offering a few unique features such as recommendations based on customers’ browse and purchase history. This is one of the automated marketing features we discussed previously.  Automated marketing includes placements in search results, browse based results, bestsellers, and more. We will also be doing ongoing promotional activity designed to attract new and repeat customers to the Amazon Appstore like the paid app for free promotion on the homepage. We have been working with many of you to line up quality apps for these programs, and we look forward to continuing to work with you to promote your titles.


Reporting in the Developer Portal:


Now that we’re live, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with Amazon Appstore reporting. You can find reporting once you log into your account in the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal. To view your reporting, log into the Developer Portal and click on the “Reports” tab.  You will see a page that looks like this:

Dev-portal-reporting

 
You should also submit any new apps or app updates. We encourage you to take advantage of the launch momentum to get your app(s) in front of customers as soon as possible.

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