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March 27, 2013

obeida

At Amazon, we are always looking to make your experience developing Kindle Fire apps as easy as possible. We have two new tools to help:

Faster Device Emulation with New x86 System Images

Like most developers, you’ve probably sat around waiting for the emulator to start up, or you’ve found the experience of emulated apps slow to use. Although we believe it’s always better to use an actual Kindle Fire tablet to debug your apps, we understand that developers may need to use the emulator to test app compatibility. Wouldn’t it be nice if emulators weren’t so slow? 

  • The Kindle Fire emulator loads and runs faster: emulator startup and run time with the x86 system images is now close to that of an actual Kindle Fire tablet
  • It also looks and acts the same: If you’ve used our standard ARM system images before, there’s no change in how you use the new x86 system images

To demonstrate how much faster the new x86 images are, we used Air Patriots, a game from Amazon Game Studios, with lots of code and lots of assets. We ran it on the Kindle Fire HD emulator in different configurations, as well as on an actual physical Kindle Fire HD. The result? Faster startup and response time for the emulator, and the game play was nearly identical to that of a tablet. Here are the stats:

Kindle Fire HD emulator configuration on reference development computer

Time from app launch to accept user input

ARM system image, without using host GPU

2:50

ARM system image, using host GPU

0:52

x86 system image, without using host GPU

0:36

x86 system image, using host GPU

0:23

Kindle Fire HD tablet

0:17

* Our x86 system image using a development computer running Windows 7 with a quad-core 3.10 GHz processor, 8 GB of memory, and AMD/ATI Radeon R6570 graphics.

To get the x86 system images for Kindle Fire, you can simply follow our instructions for setting up the Kindle Fire developer tools. There is no new or additional installation required. The x86 system images offer improved performance, especially when the experimental GPU emulation is enabled.

Easier API Adoption with the Amazon Mobile App SDK Eclipse Plugin

Since we introduced the Amazon Mobile App SDK Eclipse Plugin, we’ve received feedback that it really does speed up the time and effort it takes developers to adopt Amazon APIs. Today, the Eclipse plugin is out of beta. If you have not seen the plugin in action, check out our demo video:

Talk to Us

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Tell us about your experience with the x86 system images and Eclipse plugin, in our forums.

Abu Obeida Bakhach is a product manager for the Kindle Fire developer tools and publications team, where he thinks of ways to make developers lives creating apps as simple as possible. Previously, he was at Microsoft in developer platform evangelism growing the Windows 8/phone ecosystem with open source frameworks. In his spare time, he keeps himself busy catching with his three children on cycling trips.

 

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