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January 06, 2012

Amazon Mobile App Distribution Program

Interested in learning more about selling your apps on Amazon.com and Kindle Fire? Aaron Rubenson, director of the Amazon Appstore for Android, will offer insight at CES into how developers can get in front of millions of Amazon customers  – and make money – when they sell their apps at Amazon.com.

Learn about submitting apps for Kindle Fire,  which topped Amazon.com’s “Best of 2011” list as the best-selling, most wished for, and most gifted product as determined by Amazon.com customers. Throughout December, customers purchased well over 1 million Kindle devices per week. Also on the agenda is information about programs such as in-app purchasing and Test Drive, which lets customers try an app on their computers before they buy.

  AaronRubenson

Rubenson and other Amazon Appstore representatives will be available for informal discussions after the presentation.

Who:  Aaron Rubenson, Director, Amazon Appstore for Android

What:  “Selling Apps on Amazon.com and Kindle Fire”

Where:  The Venetian Meeting Rooms, Veronese 2404

When:  Friday, January 13, 9 a.m. – no R.S.V.P. needed

December 21, 2011

lisamar

One great benefit to having your app on the Amazon Appstore for Android is cross-promotion. Cross-promotion is a form of marketing where customers of one product are targeted with promotion of a related product. Amazon.com has millions of customers, and those customers purchase tens of thousands of products every day. With so many great products (and customers), we have the unique ability to employ cross-promotion, even across product categories.

So, what do you need to do? Nothing! By default, apps that are published in the Amazon Appstore qualify to get picked up in the cross-merchandising widgets and promotions.

In the below image, you’ll see the product detail page for an Android app. In the Customers Who Bought Related Items Also Bought widget right below the general app information, you see that our site is automatically recommending a USB cable to the customer who is interested in this app—simply because other customers purchased similar items.

Calengoo-other-items

 

Similarly, in the following image, you can see the Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought widget. This form of cross-promotion allows customers to make informed decisions about which apps they purchase while also showing them additional apps that might interest them.

Customers_Who_Bought_This_Item_Also_Bought

Another Amazon widget that can benefit your app is the What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item? widget. Below, the widget is appearing on the product detail page for a tablet device and is advertising an app that was purchased by a customer who also purchased the tablet.

Automated Merchandisting slot promotes recent FAD_edit

All of the above-mentioned widgets are automated, but we also have the ability to manually cross-promote your app. In the following image, note that on the product detail page for a hardcover copy of this Dr. Seuss book, we’ve added a recommendation for the related Android app.

Cross-promotion screenshot

Cross-promotion means customers can discover your app in a number of ways—not just by searching on the title or category. And over time, your app sales have the potential to increase, purely based on this cross-promotion. That’s never a bad thing, right?

November 30, 2011

gdierkes

Screen shot 2011-11-29 at 10.40.45 AM

This article highlights the benefits of connecting mobile devices to the cloud while also presenting an Amazon SimpleDB use case. Amazon SimpleDB is a highly available, flexible, and scalable non-relational data store that offloads the work of database administration. The app described here demonstrates how to store a high score list or leader board in SimpleDB. The app enables the user to view the high scores sorted by name or score, add and remove scores, and more. This article shows sample code for the Android platform. The complete sample code and project files are included in the AWS SDK for Android. A link to the SDK is available at the end of this article.

To use the AWS SDK for Android, you will need your AWS credentials, that is, your Access Key ID and Secret Access Key. If you haven't already signed up for Amazon Web Services (AWS), you will need to do that first to get your AWS credentials. You can sign up for AWS here. After you have signed up, you can retrieve your credentials at this page.

Overview

SimpleDB stores data in domains. Each domain is a collection of items and each item is a collection of attribute/value pairs. For the app, we create a single domain to store our high score list. Each item in the domain represents an individual player. The items will have two attributes, the player's name and their score. Items also have a unique identifier called the item name that, in this case, is equal to the player's name. Storing the player's name and score as item attributes enables us to sort the items by name or score.

The app demonstrates how to add and remove individual players, sort the scores by player name or score, and retrieve a single item from the domain. The app also demonstrates how to create and delete SimpleDB domains.

Creating a SimpleDB Client

Making requests to SimpleDB requires a client. Creating a SimpleDB client for Android is shown below.

AWSCredentials credentials = new BasicAWSCredentials(ACCESS_KEY_ID, SECRET_KEY);AmazonSimpleDBClient sdbClient = new AmazonSimpleDBClient( credentials);

High Score List Creation (Domain Creation)

Individual player scores are stored as items in a SimpleDB domain. This requires that we create the domain first. Using the appropriate client that we created above, we can use the following code to create the domain.

CreateDomainRequest cdr = new CreateDomainRequest( HIGH_SCORES_DOMAIN );sdbClient.createDomain( cdr );

Add Score (Item Creation)

An item is a collection of attribute/value pairs. For our items, we create two attributes, one for the player's name and one for the player's score. These are added to a request along with an item name in order to create the item. Because a player appears at most only once on the high score list, we use the player's name to uniquely identify each item. All data in SimpleDB are stored as strings, therefore numbers must be zero padded if you want to sort them properly. The AWS SDK for Android includes a utility to pad numbers, used below.

String paddedScore = SimpleDBUtils.encodeZeroPadding( score, 10 );		ReplaceableAttribute playerAttribute =     new ReplaceableAttribute(PLAYER_ATTRIBUTE, player, Boolean.TRUE);ReplaceableAttribute scoreAttribute =     new ReplaceableAttribute(SCORE_ATTRIBUTE, paddedScore, Boolean.TRUE);		List attrs = new ArrayList(2);attrs.add( playerAttribute );attrs.add( scoreAttribute );		PutAttributesRequest par = new PutAttributesRequest(HIGH_SCORES_DOMAIN, player, attrs);		sdbClient.putAttributes( par );

Remove Score (Item Deletion)

Removing a score from the list simply means deleting an item from the domain. Deleting an item requires the unique name for the item you wish to delete. In SimpleDB, deleting an item is done by removing all the attributes from that item. Invoking deleteAttributes with no specified attributes removes all the attributes by default.

DeleteAttributesRequest dar = new DeleteAttributesRequest( HIGH_SCORES_DOMAIN, player );sdbClient.deleteAttributes( dar );

Player View (Getting an Item)

Knowing an item's name makes it easy to find the item. This next snippet shows how to get all the attributes for an item using the item name. Note that items may contain many attributes and values.

GetAttributesRequest gar = new GetAttributesRequest( HIGH_SCORES_DOMAIN, player );GetAttributesResult response = sdbClient.getAttributes(gar);

List View and Sorting (Select)

Getting a collection of scores, sorted by player name or the score itself requires the use of a select request. A select request uses a simple query language to determine which items to match and what data to return and how. Select requests are paginated because the number of items matching the query can be large. Therefore, select requests return a next token that enables you to "page" through the data in an ordered fashion. The code here shows how to return items ordered by score from highest to lowest. Only the score and player attributes are returned. More information regarding SimpleDB queries can be found in a reference article linked below.

String select = "select player, score from HighScores where score >= '0' order by score desc";SelectRequest selectRequest = new SelectRequest( select ).withConsistentRead( true );selectRequest.setNextToken( nextToken );		SelectResult response = sdbClient.select( selectRequest );nextToken = response.getNextToken();

List Deletion (Domain Deletion)

The quickest and easiest way to remove the entire high score list would be to delete the SimpleDB domain. Here is how to do that.

DeleteDomainRequest ddr = new DeleteDomainRequest( HIGH_SCORES_DOMAIN );sdbClient.deleteDomain(ddr);

Conclusion

The code in this article demonstrates how to use Amazon SimpleDB as an indexed storage device for your app. The complete sample app is included as part of the AWS mobile SDKs, which are linked below. The reference section also contains a link to a SimpleDB article which discusses writing queries for SimpleDB in detail.

References

Find more information about SimpleDB here.

A sample app that includes this code is provided with the AWS SDK for Android

For more information about using AWS credentials with apps see the article, Authenticating Users of AWS Mobile Applications with a Token Vending Machine
 

Questions?

Please feel free to ask questions or provide comments in the Mobile Development Forum.

November 22, 2011

Amazon Mobile App Distribution Program

Carlos M. Icaza is our guest blogger for this post. Carlos is the co-founder of Ansca, Inc., the maker of the Corona SDK.

Whether you're brand new to Android development or a veteran developer who has some experience with other mobile-app platforms, this tutorial will walk you through the process of creating, building, and submitting the iOS version of your apps to the Amazon Appstore for Android using the Corona SDK.
 

The primary differences between Android apps and those on other platforms from a Corona-developer’s standpoint really include these things: configuration for different screen sizes, Keystores, the build process, and of course, the final submission. This tutorial will go over all of these crucial points, as well as the process of building and submitting your Corona apps to the Amazon Appstore for Android.

Configuring Your App

The very first thing you should do is ensure your app is going to look good on the various Android devices you plan to target. In Corona, this is as easy as editing your config.lua file and adjusting the width, height, and scale settings, and optionally making changes to your code to ensure everything is positioned just where you want it.

If you are targeting tablets, you should set the width and height in your config.lua file to 600 and 1024 respectively (or similar). The scale mode you choose to use is completely up to you, but if you plan on supporting many different devices and screen sizes, options like "letterBox" and "zoomStretch" may be better for your project.

Additional information on configuring Corona projects can be found here.

Android Permissions

Next, you need to decide what kind of Android permissions your app will need, and then add them to your build.settings file. For example, if your app needs to access the Internet, and you want to be able to save files, then at minimum, your build.settings needs to include the following:

settings = {
    androidPermissions = {
        "android.permission.INTERNET",
        "android.permission.WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE"
    }
}

A complete list of Android permissions (with descriptions) can be found here.

App Icons

Every app needs an Icon, and in the case of building an app for the Amazon Appstore for Android, your project folder should have at least three: Icon-ldpi.png (36x36), Icon-mdpi.png (48x48), and Icon-hdpi.png (72x72). Pay particularly close attention to the letter-case of the icon filenames (hint: the first letter is uppercase).

Building for Android

In Corona, go to File > Open and locate your project's folder. Next, go to File > Build > Android and a dialog box will show. Fill in your app's name, version, and unique package identifier.

Once everything is in place, double-check to make sure everything is correct and click the “Build” button in the lower-right corner of the dialog. In a few minutes (or less), you'll be notified that the build process is complete, and your APK will be ready for submission.

Submitting Your App

Now that you got all the technical stuff out of the way, it's time for the fun part.

Go to the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal and log in with your developer portal account. If you don’t have an account, you can sign up on the same page so you can begin submitting apps to the Amazon Appstore for Android. If you plan on selling apps for a price, be sure to get your Payment information set up at this time as well (you need to do this before submitting your app).

How we ported Corona Indie Bundle to Android

To get our Corona Indie Bundle into the Amazon Appstore for Android, basically all we did was test against a number of Android devices to see how the gameplay and graphic images would work and behave in the different Android form factors. Once we tested the games in various devices, we submitted the game to the Amazon Appstore for Android, where it was subjected to more testing by the Amazon ingestion process. Once we determined some quirks on some devices we did not have access to, we immediately fixed the issue and resubmitted without a problem.

Exclusive discount offer for Corona SDK’s Corona Project Manager

We have a promotion for you. Purchase a PRO subscription to the Corona SDK, at $349.00 for a one-year subscription at http://www.anscamobile.com/get-corona?amazonappstorepromo, and receive a copy of the Corona Project Manager, http://coronaprojectmanager.com/, a $74.99 product, for free. Enter promo code "AMAZONANSCAPROMO". This offer is valid until Dec. 31, 2011 only with a PRO subscription of the Corona SDK.

This promotion is offered by Ansca Inc.  It is not offered or sponsored by Amazon or the Amazon Appstore for Android.

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.

November 10, 2011

gdierkes

This article demonstrates how to use the AWS SDK for Android to uploadan image to Amazon Simple StorageService (S3) from your mobile device and how to make that imageavailable on the web. Amazon S3 is storage for the Internet. It's a simplestorage service that offers software developers a highly-scalable,reliable, secure, fast, and inexpensive data storage. The complete samplecode and project files are included in the AWS SDK for Android which canbe found here.

To use the AWS SDK for Android, you will need your AWS credentials,that is, your Access Key ID and Secret Access Key. If you haven'talready signed up for Amazon WebServices (AWS), you will need to do that first to get your AWScredentials. You can sign up for AWS here.

Here's what the sample app looks like at start up on Android:

Android-Uploader

Photo Upload

The app uses each platform's "image picker" utility to have theend-user select an image for upload. The app then creates an Amazon S3client, uses the client to create an Amazon S3 bucket in which to storethe image, and finally uploads the image into the bucket. A bucket is acontainer for objects stored in Amazon S3. Every object--such as animage--is contained within a bucket.      

Get the image

The first step is to retrieve the content, in this case an image, tobe uploaded to Amazon S3. For this sample app, selecting an image from thedevice itself is an easy choice.

Intent intent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_GET_CONTENT);intent.setType("image/*");startActivityForResult(intent, PHOTO_SELECTED);

Android-Image-Picker

Once an image is selected, a callback method is invoked with theselected image's information. The app uses this information to completethe upload.

Upload the image

Once we have the image, we can attempt to upload it to Amazon S3.

First, create an Amazon S3 client to communicate withthe service.

AmazonS3Client s3Client =   new AmazonS3Client( new BasicAWSCredentials( MY_ACCESS_KEY_ID, MY_SECRET_KEY ) );

Second, create an Amazon S3 bucket to store thepicture.

s3Client.createBucket( MY_PICTURE_BUCKET );

Finally, put the image object into the Amazon S3bucket.

PutObjectRequest por =    new PutObjectRequest( Constants.getPictureBucket(),                          Constants.PICTURE_NAME,                          new java.io.File( filePath) );s3Client.putObject( por );

Browser Display

The app makes the image available for viewing in a browser bygenerating a pre-signed URL. A pre-signed URL is a URL for an Amazon S3resource that is signed with current AWS security credentials. Thepre-signed URL can then be shared with other users, allowing them toaccess resources without providing an account's AWS securitycredentials.

First, create an override content type to ensure thatthe "content" will be treated as an image by the browser.

ResponseHeaderOverrides override = new ResponseHeaderOverrides();override.setContentType( "image/jpeg" );

Second, create the pre-signed URL request. Pre-signedURLs can be created with an expiration date, that is, a date andtime after which the resource will no longer be available. In the sample,the pre-signed URLs are valid for only one hour.

GeneratePresignedUrlRequest urlRequest =    new GeneratePresignedUrlRequest( Constants.getPictureBucket(),                                     Constants.PICTURE_NAME );// Added an hour's worth of milliseconds to the current time.urlRequest.setExpiration(    new Date( System.currentTimeMillis() + 3600000 ) );urlRequest.setResponseHeaders( override );

Third, generate the pre-signed URL. 

URL url = s3Client.generatePresignedUrl( urlRequest );

Finally, launch the browser to view the pre-signed URLwhich will display the image. 

startActivity(    new Intent( Intent.ACTION_VIEW, Uri.parse( url.toURI().toString() ) ));

Android-ShowPic

Next Steps

These few lines of code demonstrate how Amazon S3 could become alimitless storage device for your mobile photos. A photo sharing app thatallows users to view photos from other users would not be a difficultextension to the above code. Also, the content that is uploaded and sharedis not limited to images. The content could be audio files, video files,text, or other content that users want to store and share. 

References

A sample app that includes this code is provided with both mobile SDKs.The download links can be found here: AWS SDK for Android.

For more information about using AWS credentials with mobileapplications see the following article: Authenticating Users of AWS Mobile Applications with a Token VendingMachine

Questions?

Please feel free to ask questions or make comments in the MobileDevelopment Forum.

Portions of this page are reproduced from work created and shared by Google and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License.

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 28, 2011

Amazon Mobile App Distribution Program

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.Apps-on-kindle-fire

Kindle Fire puts 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 

Key features:

Stunning Color Touchscreen: Content comes alive on a 7” vibrant color touchscreen that delivers 16 million colors in high resolution and an extra-wide viewing angle.

Fast Dual-Core Processor: Kindle Fire features a state-of-the-art dual-core processor for fast, powerful performance. Stream music while browsing the web or read books while downloading videos.

Easy to Hold in One Hand: Designed to travel with you wherever you go. Light enough to hold in just one hand, Kindle Fire is perfect for browsing, playing, reading and shopping on-the-go.

Beautifully Simple and Easy To Use: Designed from the ground up, Kindle Fire's simple, intuitive interface lets customers spin effortlessly through your recent titles and websites straight from the home screen.

Free Cloud Storage: Kindle Fire gives you free storage for all Amazon digital content in the Amazon Cloud. Apps, books, movies, and music are available instantly to stream or download for free, at a touch of a finger. 

Ultra-fast web browsing – Amazon Silk: Amazon Silk is a revolutionary, cloud-accelerated browser that uses a "split browser" architecture to leverage the computing speed and power of the Amazon Web Services cloud. Learn why it’s so fast

Only $199: The all-new Kindle Fire is only $199. Customers in the U.S. can pre-order Kindle Fire starting today at www.amazon.com/kindlefire, and it ships Nov. 15, 2011.

Read more in the press release.

September 20, 2011

lisamar

Vervv, a mobile developer specializing in finance and productivity apps, currently has two Android apps available in the Amazon Appstore for Android. They are Convertr, which instantly and accurately converts anything, from currency to torque, and Ledgerist, the Android solution to the old pen-and-paper balancing of the checkbook.

The Amazon Appstore team approached Vervv prior to the launch of the Amazon Appstore. Ultimately, Vervv’s decision to submit its apps came down to Amazon’s large and engaged customer base. “There aren't many companies out there with the size and reach that Amazon has,” Vervv co-founder James Kelso said.

Vervv was initially surprised by its lack of traction with other Android offerings. “We noted a great response to our release on iOS, but the market was just too saturated on Android. When we released to the Amazon Appstore, and we were featured as the Free App of the Day, we noted much better user engagement with our product. We've seen a significant increase in sales ever since,” Kelso said.

 
       Convertr_thumbnail_225x225 Ledgerist_thumbnail_225x227


   
Vervv has not had to deal with a lot of non-technical feedback for its app in the Amazon Appstore for Android, a very positive sign. Kelso explained, “We're constantly bombarded with e-mails from users of the other Android marketplaces needing us to fix billing issues or other non-technical issues. Because customers can reach out to Amazon.com customer service for help with app-related billing and non-technical issues, the Amazon Appstore has been great in that it takes that burden off our shoulders.”

Kelso recommends the Amazon Appstore for Android as a good place for emerging apps “because it's difficult to get separation in most segments these days. Amazon is big enough to help gain traction in the market.” He added, “The most important thing that we've learned is probably that your app could be discovered any day.”

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 15, 2011

johnjord

Distinct dev image Recently, we announced a new improvement to the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal:  User Permissions (Developer Portal User Permissions).  This feature allows your organization to assign roles for different responsibilities on your team.  One organization that has fully embraced this tool expansion is game developer DistinctDev, Inc.

DistinctDev, Inc., is a small and energetic development house creating highly-addictive casual game titles – most notably, The Moron Test. 


Recently, DistinctDev Co-Founder and CTO, Steven Malagon, and his brother, Berkeley MalaThe Moron Test smallergon – also the President and CEO – took advantage of structuring their organization using the new permissions.  The only rivalry that existed between these two siblings was one that revolved around Developer Portal access: Berkeley, a self-described “data junkie,” was completely reliant on his brother Steven to “get signed in using his personal Amazon account.”  Without global visibility to all the great functionality of the Developer Portal, it became Steven’s role to debrief the team.  Needless to say, the entire team was very excited to receive the announcement for User Permissions.

Steven said, “The setup was super easy, and it literally took me seconds to enter email addresses and send out the invites for assigned roles.” Berkeley Malagon sees this as “a scalable solution as we move forward and grow as a company…adding new users and assigning access.”

The team at DistinctDev also sees the new User Permissions functionality as a great sign for things to come with the Amazon Appstore.  “The improvements really make it even simpler, organizationally, to upload new titles, and it makes us feel like our feedback is really taken seriously,” stated Berkeley.

This is all good news for Amazon customers as well, who have taken a liking to great quality games, like The Moron Test.  The DistinctDev team cannot wait to see what new enhancements are to come and encourage everyone participating in the Amazon Appstore to take advantage of setting up their permissions.  Berkeley said it best, “User Permissions is spot-on.”

June 29, 2011

alanaamazon

Note: Effective 08-26-2015 Free App of the Day (FAD) has been replaced with Amazon Underground.

One of the most high-profile features of the Amazon Appstore for Android is the free paid app of the day, or FAD. The primary benefit to you of having your app selected for a FAD spot is increased visibility. First off, there’s the 24 hours of visibility both on mobile and online. Each FAD promotion is complemented by a Facebook post and Twitter tweet the same day. After your app’s time in the FAD spotlight is over, it benefits from being included in the “Most Recent Free Apps of the Day” shoveler on the Amazon Appstore for Android homepage.

Fad 02
 

In addition to this direct visibility, your app will continue to get post-FAD exposure throughout the store. Because of the increase in app downloads typically associated with FAD, you app is more likely to show up on the product detail pages of other apps in the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” feature. The recommendations engine is one of Amazon’s strongest shopping features, helping connect customers with the right items across multiple categories. FAD apps also tend to register higher in Amazon Appstore for Android Bestsellers lists.

Fad 03
 

Apps that can be launched on Android exclusively at the Amazon Appstore for Android or that offer something extra to Amazon customers that they can’t get anywhere else make for particularly intriguing FADs.  Developers with strong brands and a solid portfolio are eligible for multiple FAD inclusions.  For some high-profile apps and games, we may send an e-mail to our customer base.

If you’re interested in recommending your app for FAD promotion, there are a few things to remember:

1.       Only the most recent version of an app will be considered, and your app should appeal to a wide audience.

2.       To maintain a positive customer download experience for non-wifi apps, only apps of 20MB or less will be considered, and no “stub” apps that require additional content download will be considered.

3.       We want to make sure customers know which devices the app will work on, so the app must pass Amazon’s internal testing.

If you’re interested in recommending your regularly paid app for FAD promotion, please completely fill out the Marketing Proposal Form. Pay particular attention to the Proposal Description field, sharing any additional details you believe would help elevate your app in the selection process. In addition, let us know:

1.       How many downloads your app has to date.

2.       The list price of your app.

3.       Any reciprocal marketing (social media, blogs, Amazon Appstore badging, etc.) you are able to offer.

4.       That you understand the requirements for approval.

Our FAD calendar fills up quickly, so be sure to submit your proposal early. Letting us know about an app launch weeks or even months in the future will help us plan accordingly.

If your app is a contender, someone will contact you to offer more details about FAD inclusion and what to expect as your app goes through the approval process. You will only be contacted if your marketing request is under consideration. Please enter a specific marketing request only once.

Free app of the day – it’s more than just a passing FAD.

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.

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