If you’re in the Washington D.C. area, please come out and join Amazon Appstore for a workshop on building apps and games for Fire phone and Fire TV. Learn more on how to get your app into the living room or create apps that respond in all new ways. This MoDev exclusive event is on Saturday, July 12 from 10am-4pm. Bring your laptops and join Amazon Developer Evangelists and Fire phone product experts for a hands-on workshop designed to get you started with Fire phone and Fire TV.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
10:00AM – 4:00PM
1101 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA (in the Ballroom off of lower town hall)
Want to attend this event?
Whether you have an existing app or are looking to launch a new app, this is an opportunity to work directly with our team for hands-on development support. Plus, you can test your apps on Fire phone and Fire TV.
|10:00AM – 10:30AM||Check-In & Breakfast|
|10:30AM-11:30AM||Fire TV Overview|
|11:30AM-1:00PM||Getting Started with Fire TV|
|1:30PM-2:30PM||Fire Phone Overview|
|2:30PM-4:00PM||Getting Started with Fire Phone|
We’ll cap the afternoon with giveaways, gaming fun and a happy hour for attendees and evangelists to network.
We look forward to meeting you at the Artisphere in July!
The Amazon Mobile Ad Network is offering a new incentive for developers to join. Available now, when you send the first ad request from a qualified app* and distribute your app on Fire phone, you will receive a guaranteed $6 CPM on interstitial ads in August and September (up to a maximum of 1 million impressions per app per month). Interstitial impressions served across all supported devices (Android phones and tablets, Kindle Fire tablets, and Fire phones), supported markets (U.S. and U.K. users), and supported stores (Amazon Appstore and other Android stores) qualify for the offer.
Interstitial Ads are full screen ads that use the entire screen of the device. They typically appear in app transitions such as in between game stages. Interstitial ads from the Amazon Mobile Ad Network are high quality when viewed by any phone including the new Fire phone.
The Amazon Mobile Ad Network has helped many developers monetize their app including Jason Stock from Firecracker Software, who shared: “The biggest contribution Amazon provided us in monetizing our apps was through superior eCPM in their Mobile Ads SDK, which performed 215% more than other Ad Networks, and a 77% fill rate in our Word Breaker app. Because of Amazon Mobile Ads, we were able to quit our day job."
Click here to learn more about the Mobile Ads Interstitial CPM Boost offer.
*Existing apps already sending ad requests do not qualify. Apps that integrate the Amazon Mobile Ads API for the first time are eligible for the offer.
The Amazon Appstore will soon be available on more devices. Early yesterday, BlackBerry announced that the Amazon Appstore preloaded on BlackBerry 10 devices starting this fall.
This is great news for Amazon Appstore developers. In addition to Fire phone, Kindle Fire tablets, Fire TV and Android devices, you’ll now have the opportunity to distribute your apps and games on BlackBerry 10 devices. This expanded reach gives you the opportunity to sell to more customers.
You don’t have to wait to migrate your app or game to the Amazon Appstore. Click here to give your app a test run now. Submitting your app to the Amazon Appstore is easy. Register for a developer account at no cost. If you have questions, see these FAQs.
Today in Seattle, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos unveiled Fire, the first phone designed by Amazon. Fire is the first and only smartphone with Dynamic Perspective and Firefly. Dynamic Perspective is an entirely new technology that responds to the way a customer holds, views and moves the phone. For example, Zillow is using the Dynamic Perspective SDK to create the ability to zoom in on pictures within their app by just moving the phone closer to the user. The revolutionary Firefly technology already recognizes movies, music and more and with the Firefly SDK developers can extend the use of the Firefly button to enable new actions their users can take based on what they can identify. As a developer, these new technologies enable you to create more immersive experiences in your apps and games that increase user engagement.
The Fire SDKs are available now, and make it easy for developers to take advantage of these features in their apps. These SDKs were designed to offer developers power and flexibility with pre-built controls, low level APIs, and complete UI frameworks. You can download both SDKs here.
Fire apps are built with the same familiar Android development environment you are used to. Fire provides a powerful set of hardware to bring your apps alive. With 2 gigabytes of RAM, a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Quad-core 2.2 GHz CPU and an Adreno 330 GPU, Fire will support the high performance game experiences customers crave. For detailed technical specifications of Fire, click here.
Zillow used the Dynamic Perspective SDK to integrate real-time information into their app’s user experience. In the Zillow app for Fire, customers can view new listings or nearby homes for sale and rent, right on the Fire carousel without having to open the Zillow app. In addition, Zillow brought a new photo experience to the device so users can use their head to zoom in on a bedroom or peek to see what's around the kitchen corner. “Real estate shopping is an inherently mobile experience so any chance we have to bring listings or new information to a home shopper while they're out on the go is a great thing,” said Jeremy Waxman, Vice President of Marketing and Mobile, Zillow. “Photos are incredibly impactful for home shoppers—it is the most common activity for users of our app. We are thrilled to be able to go one step beyond static images and offer our users the opportunity to zoom in on the photos and then peek around the room with the Dynamic Perspective SDK.”
Ezone.com, the creators of Snowspin and Crazy Snowboard, used the Dynamic Perspective SDK to allow a customer to navigate the endless runner game with just their head—no tapping on the screen necessary. Using head and hand movements, users can control direction and speed. Users can interact with games in a more immersive way – without their hands getting in the way of game play. Additionally, Ezone.com created a special flip jump in Snowspin currently exclusive to Fire customers with just a flick up of the head. “Porting our existing Android versions of Snow Spin and Crazy Snowboard to Fire couldn’t have been easier, and we were able to add new innovative game moves such as a double backflip with just the flick of your head, enabling even higher scores,” said Simon Edis, CEO of Ezone.com. “The Amazon team had all the tools ready to go, making it super easy for us to just drop them in our games and publish.”
CrowdStar used the Dynamic Perspective SDK to create the ability for Covet Fashion users to select their favorite fashion choices for their model. Using zoom and tilt, players can see details of outfits to vote on looks. “Dynamic Perspective is so innovative we’ve just begun to figure out how to take advantage of all the technology has to offer. The simplicity of the user interface and design around a one handed experience will really allow us full creativity as we look ahead in our portfolio of apps and games,” said Jefferey Tseng, CEO of Crowdstar. “Dynamic Perspective has unlocked capabilities we’ve always wanted to create in our game—incorporating zoom and pan in an incredibly natural way without having to touch the screen, is the first example.”
Firefly understands your surroundings, instantly helping you to learn more, discover new things, and take action on the world around you. It can scan physical objects, identify them, and obtain related information about them. Everything from book covers, album covers, bar codes, QR codes, movies, television shows, songs and more. Developers can use the Firefly API to supplement item identification or build actionable options for customers after an item is recognized. For example, iHeartRadio used the Firefly SDK’s built-in music recognizer and music database to identify a song playing. Then they built their own Firefly action to create a station based on the song Firefly recognized.
Because phones are often used with only one hand, Fire also offers one-handed shortcuts that go above and beyond touch. These shortcut gestures allow you to simply angle the device and “peek” into additional information that your apps can display on screen. For example, customer ratings in the Amazon Appstore instantly appear over each app’s icon when the device is tilted. Navigation is enhanced with gestures: moving back is as simple as flicking up on the screen with a finger, while tilting the device in either direction brings up two additional panels for navigation and contextual information. Gestures can even be integrated inside your games so that users can experience the game in a more intuitive way. Imagine moving a character on screen simply by titling the device instead of having to cover what’s on the screen with your finger.
Fire enables new ways of interacting with your phone by simply rotating the device around X, Y and Z axes. These gestures were designed to be used with only a single hand, a common scenario when using a phone. We’ve created a framework that integrates directly with these gestures and Fire’s new sensors, making it a simple process to integrate within your own apps.
Fire SDKs and APIs
The underlying technology for Dynamic Perspective and Firefly is sophisticated, but Amazon makes it simple for developers to harness their capabilities. See a full breakdown of the SDKs and their contents here.
Dynamic Perspective SDK
The Dynamic Perspective SDK includes a series of APIs and Controls to help developers create peek, tilt and zoom capabilities within their app based on customer head movements, create multi-dimensional game play, or provide quick navigation menus by tilting the device to the left or right. These experiences are created through a variety of visual effects including adding shadows, depth and tracking head and motion gestures. For example, you could create an app that allows you to peek at how many pages are left in the book you are reading, or browse your apps as if you were flipping through a physical file drawer. Flat cartoonish icons and graphics could be replaced with realistic visuals that use lighting, shadows and motion to create an experience you would want to show off at every opportunity.
With the Firefly SDK, developers can build apps that recognize real world objects—music, movies and more—and let customers interact with them. As a developer you can create more immersive experiences that increase both engagement and the frequency of app use. The Firefly SDK comes with built-in recognizers and databases for products, music, movies, URLs, and websites, as well as built-in actions such as dialing a phone number, looking up an object on Amazon or going to a website. Developers can use the Firefly SDK to take advantage of the built-in recognizers, databases and actions.
Fire is based on Fire OS so if an app runs on Android it can run on Fire with little to no work. For a developer who just wants to get started with Fire they can do a simple port, or they can use the Fire SDKs to easily integrate UI features such as shadows or hovering images within the app or game, or creating left and right panels based on Fire’s three-panel UI design.
Fire uses the same familiar Android development environment, and while Android Studio is fully supported IDE, you can also use Eclipse and other IDEs. Android Studio Gradle support is also supported for builds. An API simulator for the Side Panels and Carousel is included to test code on stock Android emulators and devices without needing a physical Fire device.
We know that many Android apps and games are built with various technologies so the Fire SDK includes support for those as well. Unity, HTML5 and C++ are all supported. For additional details on using third-party frameworks click here.
By optimizing your apps for Fire, you have the opportunity to create compelling experiences that combine realistic visuals, with both depth and perspective allowing customers to use their smartphone in ways never done before. Starting today we are updating Appstore Developer Select offerings, Amazon Mobile Ads API, and Amazon Testing Service with special Fire incentives.
Amazon Developer Select: Amazon will offer 500,000 Amazon Coins ($5,000 value) for each of your qualifying paid apps or apps with in-app purchasing that meet the additional program requirements for Fire Phone. You can create campaigns via the Promotions Console to give these Coins away to consumers purchasing any of your paid apps or in-app items. For more details on the Amazon Developer Select program for Fire click here.
Amazon Mobile Ads API: Developers earn $6 for every thousand interstitial ads displayed across any supported device in August and September (up to one million impressions per app per month) when they distribute their apps on Fire phones and send the first ad request from a qualified app. For more details on the Amazon Mobile Ad Network Interstitial CPM Offer promotion click here.
Amazon App Testing Service: We have also expanded our testing tool to Fire. Developers can now test their Fire apps before submitting them to the Amazon Appstore. Developers simply drag and drop an app and most will receive feedback about their app’s compatibility within 90 seconds. Additionally, registered developers have access to additional Fire test results that check the app’s experience. These tests enable developers to see how an app looks and performs on an actual device sitting in an Amazon device lab.
With the launch of Fire, Amazon now offers a complete device and apps ecosystem spanning across tablet, phone and TV. Customers pay for your apps once and interact with the experiences you create across all their screens. As a developer, you only need to submit your app once and with few changes make it available to your customers across all Amazon devices. Now is the time to submit your apps and games!
Additional Fire Developer resources:
Today is the last day to request an invitation to our launch event with Jeff Bezos on June 18th. Check out the video and get more details.
With the release of the latest version of the Amazon Appstore for Android, customers using the Amazon Appstore on Android tablets and phones have more ways to discover and purchase apps.
The Amazon Appstore for Android is continuously updated with new features that improve the customer experience and make it easier for developers to monetize their apps. Here are a few recent updates:
Amazon Coins can be purchased directly inside the Amazon Appstore for Android. Customers save up to 10% on apps, games and in-app items by purchasing Amazon Coins. Customers are shown their current Coins balance at the top of the screen as well as during checkout.
Figure 1- Available Amazon Coins displayed at top with ability to purchase at discount when clicking
Any of your apps or games that reward Amazon Coins when purchased can also be easily discovered in the Amazon Appstore for Android. Customers can search only for those apps and games that reward Amazon Coins from the navigation menu. We also feature apps and games rewarding Coins directly on the home screen.
Amazon Coins are a great way for your apps to get noticed in the Amazon Appstore. As a developer with a qualified app in the Appstore Developer Select program, customers who purchase your app will be rewarded with Amazon Coins for simply downloading your app. They can then use these Coins to buy other apps and in-app items.
Figure2- Apps and games that reward Amazon Coins can be viewed from the menu and on the main screen
Customers now get search hints whenever they’re searching for new apps and games. The title, publisher, customer rating and price are all displayed on the search hint. If a customer clicks on the button to make a purchase (Free or Paid), then more details about the app or game will be displayed, along with a “Get App” button that allows customers to immediately download your app or game.
Figure 3- Purchasing a new game directly from search
With the Amazon Appstore, customers can purchase your apps and games from a web browser, Kindle Fire tablets, Amazon Fire TV and select Android devices. Customers can find your apps and games in a variety of ways inside the Amazon Appstore.
If you have not submitted your Android app yet to the Amazon Appstore, registration is free and simple to complete and over 75% of Android tablets we tested work on Kindle Fire devices with no additional development required. Amazon also offers a free Mobile App SDK that supports In App Purchasing, Mobile Ads, A/B Testing, Analytics and more. Once your app is in the Amazon Appstore you can expand your reach to Kindle Fire and Amazon Fire TV devices at any time directly from within the developer console.
You may also want to check out these additional developer resources:
Last year, we launched Amazon Coins in the US, UK, and Germany. As of today, Amazon Coins are available to even more customers in Europe as we are expanding the program to France, Spain, and Italy. We’re giving millions of Euros (100 Coins = €1) worth of coins to customers in France, Italy, and Spain, so this is a great time to submit new apps to the Amazon Appstore and ensure your existing apps are available for distribution in these countries.
Amazon Coins allows Amazon customers to buy and enjoy Android apps and in-app items at a discount, with savings of up to 10%. As a developer, you are paid whether your apps or in-app items have been purchased with Amazon Coins or another payment method, and you’ll continue to get your full 70% revenue share. Since the launch of Amazon Coins in the US, UK, and Germany, customers have already purchased hundreds of millions of Amazon Coins and are actively using them on Android phones and tablets, including Kindle Fire devices, representing real dollars to developers.
Kindle Fire owners will receive 500 free Coins automatically in their accounts and, for a limited time, users of the Amazon Appstore on Android phones and tablets will receive 500 Coins once they’ve updated the client and downloaded an app. During the promotion, you’ll have additional opportunities to boost your sales while customers enjoy buying apps with their free Coins. We ran a similar promotion after we launched Coins in the US, UK, and Germany, and developers gave us positive feedback about the monetization they achieved in conjunction with the promotion. Here’s what a few of them had to say:
“Sales went up 10-fold (1000%) for about a week during the Amazon Coins promotion and 500% afterwards.” –Barnstorm Games
“We saw a significant increase in revenue after the Amazon Coins announcement. Revenue from Amazon Coins during the launch week was higher than previous week’s revenue. What was also interesting is that our cash receipts also saw a lift from Coins.” — Halfbrick Studios Pty Ltd
“Our SMS texting and calling app revenues grew more than 300% on Kindle Fire the day after Amazon Coins went live, with a staggering 78% coming from Coins. We’re convinced that this virtual currency makes sense for developers no matter what category their app is in; it certainly does for us.” — textPlus, Inc.
We continue to receive positive feedback from developers about the monetization they see on Amazon and their ability to connect with new customers via Amazon Appstore. Learn what developers like Pixowl, TuneIn, and Toca Boca have to say in our latest developer blog.
To benefit from Amazon Coins, you do not need to integrate an API. If your apps are already available on the Amazon Appstore and available for distribution to customers in France, Italy, and Spain, you’re already set. If you have new apps and games that are still in development, then you’ll want to submit them soon to take advantage of this promotion. If you have a new Android app, we’ve found that 75% of Android apps we’ve tested just work on Amazon Appstore, with no coding changes required. Test your APK in less than 10 minutes with our drag-and-drop testing tool. It’s also a good idea to ensure your apps are available in France, Italy, and Spain, which you can check from your account on the developer portal.
The Amazon Mobile Ads API now offers more ways to help you monetize your mobile apps and games. Starting today, we will display ads to customers in the United Kingdom, and in the coming months, we will add support for Germany. On top of that, we are launching full screen interstitial ads across the Mobile Ad Network.
Our expansion into Europe gives developers the opportunity to earn more money from advertising spending in Europe’s top two advertising market segments. The strong eCPM and high quality ads from Amazon will carry over to all supported market segements.
To display ads on your app in Europe, here is what to do:
Interstitial ads use the entire screen to fully engage users. Industry-wide, interstitial ads generate greater revenue than traditional banner ads.
Figure 1- The same Amazon Interstitial Ad in Portrait on Phone and Landscape on a Tablet
We use responsive design when showing interstitial ads to ensure your user experience is not affected. Ads will automatically adjust to the screen size of the device on which your customers are running your app.
We know that every millisecond counts when it comes to the responsiveness of your apps. We preload interstitial ads to minimize the impact on app latency. As the developer, you decide when you want the ad to display (for example, once your user has reached a new level of your game).
“We decided to add interstitial ads from Amazon since the banner ads were outperforming other ad networks. The quality of Amazon’s interstitial ads has exceeded our expectations and our earnings increased 43%!”* - Gordon Edwards
Interstitial ads can be integrated in as little as an hour and offer revenue tracking through the same Amazon developer portal as banner ads. As with banner ads, you can distribute an app that incorporates the Amazon Mobile Ads API through other Android stores as long you distribute it through Amazon.
To display interstitial ads on your app, integrate the latest version of the Amazon Mobile Ads API. To display ads in Europe, you may not need to do any additional work. Interstitial ads will then automatically be loaded when the app is first run. You should display them at a transition point in your app (for example, game level transition). The user will always have the option to close the ad.
Let’s take a look at an interstitial ad using the sample app from the unzipped Amazon Mobile Ad API folder located in /Android/Ads/samples/InterstitialAdSample. Running the sample app for the first time you will see a button to show an ad and another button to load a new ad.
Figure 2- Interstitial ad sample app from Amazon Mobile App SDK
Clicking on the Load Ad button will preload a new interstitial ad to cache and then when you click on the Show Ad button it will be displayed.
Figure 3- A high quality Interstitial ad running on a Kindle Fire HDX 7" in landscape mode
Users have the option to close the ad by tapping on the X in the top right. Users can get more information by tapping on the “See more” button. If users tap for more information they will see a new browser window open with the url provided by the ad.
Notice that the ad automatically resizes and fits to the portrait sized screen if you rotate the device.
Figure 4- A high quality Interstitial ad running on a Kindle Fire HDX 7" in portrait mode
Just as you would do for banner ads, you use the Amazon Mobile Ads API to set up interstitial ads. You will need to first register for a free Amazon developer account. Once you do, you will receive an app id that you can use to begin coding. During this time you should set up a tax identity inside the developer console. This way you can continue to code and test your app while the verification process is happening. Once inside your Android development environment, you will need to reference the Amazon Mobile Ads jar file from the SDK and update permissions in your Android app manifest. For a full walkthrough of this process check out the Amazon Mobile Ads API quickstart guide here.
You get the same customization capabilities for interstitial ads as you do for banner ads. This includes setting target values when you are requesting an ad for age, gender, relocation or minimum CPM floor price. For a full list of targeting options check out the developer portal here.
Once you have completed these steps you can start to request ads. Your app will retrieve and display an interstitial ad using an instance of InterstitialAd. To load an ad, call the InterstitialAd.loadAd method, which uses an asynchronous task to request an ad from the Amazon Mobile Ad Network. It is important to note that only one ad can be loaded by a given InterstitialAd object at a given time, and only one interstitial ad can be displayed in your app at a given time.
InterstitialAd.loadAd will return false if a request for a new ad is ignored because of another pending ad request. To check if there is an ad loading, you can call the method InterstitialAd.isLoading. To check if there is an ad showing, you can call the method InterstitialAd.isShowing.
Below is an example of a simplified InterstitialAd.loadAd call placed in the onCreate function of an Activity that loads the next level in a game. The interstitial ad is displayed as soon as it is ready, and the next level is started after the user has dismissed the ad.
The Amazon Mobile Ad Network now offers more ways to help you monetize your mobile apps and games. Interstitial ads provide advertisers with a unique opportunity to engage with your audience in a meaningful way, leading to superior monetization. Adding support for interstitial ads in your apps is simple, and most developers are able to integrate them within an hour. Similarly, showing ads to EU users will allow you to earn more money from your apps with minimal work. Apps using earlier versions of the API need only recompile with the new Amazon Mobile Ads API jar file in their app to see EU ads: no coding changes are required. Apps using later versions of the API require no changes at all.
*Your results may vary
In May last year we announced Login with Amazon (LWA), an OAuth 2.0 protocol authentication service that allows your mobile apps for Android and iOS to securely connect with Amazon customers.
Today we are making things even easier for customers using apps enabled with Login with Amazon on the latest generation of Kindle Fire devices. Starting today, mobile apps and games that use Login with Amazon on these Kindle Fire devices will no longer need to ask Amazon customers to sign in each time the app is run. Instead, the first time the app is run Login with Amazon will automatically use the account registered to the Kindle Fire device. The user will then simply need to consent to share their information once for each of those apps to be automatically signed in.
In addition to enabling single sign-on for Kindle Fire, Login with Amazon is now integrated with the Amazon Mobile App SDK with documentation available here in the API section of developer.amazon.com. Login with Amazon is now part of your one-stop destination for all of Amazon’s Mobile App Developer offerings.
Mobile Apps and Games downloaded to Kindle Fire devices that have implemented Login with Amazon will no longer need to ask customers to sign in each time.
In the below screenshot I launch the Sample Login with Amazon app from the Amazon Mobile App SDK.
Figure 1- Launching the Login with Amazon Sample App from the Amazon Mobile App SDK
The Sample App provides a Login with Amazon button for the user to click. Since this is the first time I am logging in with the Sample App I am greeted with a prompt where I agree to consent to share specified information from my Amazon account under the Settings section. Note, I am only prompted the first time I run the app and when I use the app in the future, I will automatically be logged in. To stop logging in automatically, go to Your Account>> Manage Login with Amazon settings and remove the app.
Figure 3- Giving the App permission to automatically log you in on future launches
All third generation of Kindle Fire are supported including:
To enable Login with Amazon, click on the Login with Amazon tab in the Developer Console to create or select a security profile.
Next, follow the below steps to setup your developer environment and add Login with Amazon to your app:
The above Login with Amazon sample app is now included with the Amazon Mobile App SDK. Simply download the latest version and navigate to Android/LoginWithAmazon/samples/SampleLoginWithAmazonApp in the folder where you unzipped the SDK.
Learn more about the Login with Amazon API section of developer.amazon.com here.
By enabling Login with Amazon on your Mobile Apps and Games for Kindle Fire, you no longer need to ask customers to sign in. This streamlines the experience for your customers and increases engagement for your apps where your customers may have needed to remember their specific login credentials.
Player engagement is the key to success for most mobile games, and Amazon GameCircle is designed to help developers increase engagement through player Achievements, Leaderboards, and game data synchronization. We recently added two new features: (1) expanded player profiles with cross-game experience points, called XP, which allow players to track and share their total play time and (2) GameCircle-created achievements across multiple games, called Badges, which enhance players’ overall GameCircle Profile. Players will enjoy these features as they offer new reasons to revisit favorites as well as incentives to try new games.
Your GameCircle-enabled game now helps players build their public reputation with their friends and the GameCircle community, an advantage over games without GameCircle enabled. The new GameCircle Badges help new players discover your game and re-engage existing customers as they return to satisfy the requirements associated with your game.
If your mobile game integrates GameCircle, then your players will automatically earn Experience Points (XP) for the time they spend playing your game; no changes are required to your code. In addition, each achievement in your game now carries an XP reward from 0 to 100 that you specify, up to a total of 1,500 XP for the entire game. We recommend allocating no more than 1,000 XP when launching a new title, leaving at least 500 XP for future expansion in case you add more achievements later. You can change XP allocation at any time for draft achievements, but once an achievement is published, its corresponding XP value is fixed for good.
By earning experience points through playing your games, a player increases their GameCircle Level compared to their peers. GameCircle Level increases steadily as players earn XP for spending time and unlocking achievements in GameCircle-enabled games. For current players with an existing GameCircle account, Amazon has already given them XP, and the appropriate GameCircle Level, based on the achievements they unlocked in the past. New players joining after today will begin at Level 1.
Integrating GameCircle into your mobile game benefits your players, who automatically receive more XP the longer they play. If you take advantage of the GameCircle Achievements service, your game becomes eligible for cross-game badges which offer even more opportunity for players to advance.
In addition to Experience Points, GameCircle also includes new support for special Badges. Badges are cross-game achievements awarded by GameCircle. These are earned by completing challenges associated with unlocking specific achievements in select games of similar type or in a particular game genre. Up to three badges can be displayed on the player’s profile so he or she can show off favorites earned so far.
For example, players can earn the Zombie Killer badge for unlocking certain achievements in three zombie-related games. Similarly, the Burning Rubber badge is awarded for unlocking specific objectives in two driving games. At launch, there are close to forty special badges available.
Zombie Killer Burning Rubber
For players who don’t know your app (but have played similar titles), genre-spanning Badges or Badges connecting similar achievements in other games may serve as an introduction to your product. Existing customers may rediscover your game as they explore Badges in game categories that intere them.
GameCircle has always offered Achievements, Leaderboards, and game data synchronization through Whispersync for Games. With these updates to the player profiles—including Achievement XP, GameCircle Level, and Badges—players can easily track and compare their progress across all GameCircle-enabled games.
GameCircle is designed to increase player engagement, improve retention, and enhance the customer experience when playing mobile games on iOS, Android, or Fire OS. For more information about player profiles mobile development, see our online documentation:
Amazon has recently added the ability to specify the date and time you would like your app to go live on the Amazon Appstore. This gives you the ability to coordinate your app release on Amazon with releases on other stores and in conjunction with any press or social media launch events you may wish to plan.
You start by completing the new app submission or the app update submission as you normally would, but make sure that you enter the date and time you want your app to go live in the Availability & Pricing section (see image below). Times are shown in Pacific Standard Time.
Then you simply submit your app as usual.
When you first click the ‘Submit’ button, your app will display the status “Submitted” for up to 60 minutes until we kick off testing for your app.
Typically, within 60 minutes of submission, your app will enter testing regardless of the launch date you have chosen. This lets us notify you of any issues prior to your launch event. While your app is being tested, your app status will show as “Under Review”.
If your app passes testing, your app will be staged on our servers, waiting for the date and time you specified. During this waiting time, your app will show an “Approved” status in the Developer Portal.
At the time of your launch, we complete the publishing process to make your app available in the Amazon Appstore. We work hard to complete the testing process as quickly as possible, and our goal is to publish at least 90% of apps within 60 minutes of the time specified. Once publishing is complete, your app will have the “Live” status in the developer portal.
You can edit the launch date and time any time prior to your app going “Live” in the Appstore.
Today, Amazon announced Amazon Fire TV, a new device that makes it easy for users to stream movies, TV shows, and music as well as download apps and play games right on the HDTVs they already own. For developers, 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. To promote rich user experiences, Fire TV enables full-featured game controllers, Dolby Digital Plus Certified surround sound and more. Android developers will find that developing for 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. Click here to learn more about how to setup your Fire TV developer environment.
A room with a large screen TV and surround sound audio is a great environment for gaming, and Fire TV has the performance to deliver a great gaming experience. From its inception, Fire TV has been designed around optimizing HDTV displays and powering demanding applications. It uses a Qualcomm Quad Core Snapdragon Krait 300 processor with Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB of RAM to support high performance game experiences. (See all the tech specs here).
Fire TV also supports a variety of controllers to let you design the best experience for your users. Fire TV supports a d-pad remote control, along with multi-function game controllers. Multi-function game controllers enable much more engaging gameplay for the TV than a typical d-pad remote can.
Second Screen is a technology that allows your Amazon Fire TV app to interact with other mobile devices using DIAL, an open standard that enables customers to discover and open apps on their television right from their tablet or phone. For example, a user can sit on their couch and use their Kindle Fire HDX to control an app running on their TV screen.
Running apps on a television opens up unique experiences for customers. Users are (on average) 10 feet away from the screen with different viewing habits and expectations. For example, users don’t need to stop what they are doing to view your app. Users can see the TV screen while they are making breakfast, unlike when they’re on phones or tablets. It is also easy for multiple people to have a good view of the TV at the same time, something which can be hard on PCs or mobile devices. There are several ways to use these large-screen characteristics to your advantage. One idea is to use the TV display productively during times it would otherwise be turned off. For example, you could display traffic and weather information on the TV or even show a family calendar or bulletin board app on the TV. Another idea is to use the screen size to support multi-player games in which the users can play concurrently, each able to see the screen without difficulty, each with their own game controller.
There are two kinds of controllers available for the Amazon Fire TV. They are:
The Fire TV remote and game controllers trigger logical default events, so the game controller will work predictably in standard Android UI widgets. For example, the Menu button on the controller will pass through to Android and invoke the Android context menu (OptionsMenu), and the Back button on the controller will be ingested like the back button in the Android UI. Events for the remote and game controller can be customized, and trigger special events you can detect.
Fire TV remote (shown below) comes with Amazon Fire TV. The remote supports the remote input events shown here. The D-pad on the remote fires keycode events (like KEYCODE_DPAD_UP) and navigates through standard Android controls, moving UI focus up, down, left and right. In many cases, navigation around your UI will work right out of the box and won’t require any special event handling. Since the remote is the default controller that ships with Amazon Fire TV, you should test to see that your app is functional with Amazon Fire TV remote, even if you have optimized for a game controller.
The Game Controller - Multiplayer support comes to your TV
The Amazon Fire game controller offers the same level of default support for standard Android navigation controls as the remote does, but optimizing your game for the game controller offers a lot of additional options; just take a look at the game controller controls in the picture below. Up to 7 game controllers can connect via Bluetooth to an Amazon Fire TV at any one time and each controller can be associated with a player ID, so multi-player support is a real option for you.
When a customer buys a Fire TV and registers with their Amazon Account, they are already set up with their verified Amazon Payment profile. Your user is ready to purchase apps or in-app items with no further effort. Amazon Fire TV supports the Amazon In-App-Purchasing API so you can offer consumable items, permanently entitled items, and even subscriptions for sale in your app.
To help you tune your gameplay and monetization implementation, Amazon offers A|B Testing and Analytics tools that can help you hone your app for maximum user retention and optimized monetization. And all of these tools work on Fire OS devices and Android devices, and most will work on iOS devices as well.
To make your app look sharp on a TV, you’ll want to make sure you have a layout for tvdpi and xhdpi to support the resolution on living room TV screens. Unlike most Android devices, Amazon Fire TV will render your app on 720p or 1080p screens of any size, so you should plan for a range of screen sizes. It is also important to remember that your user will typically be 10 feet away from the screen, and may appreciate larger controls and dialog boxes. Common tweaks to make apps look better on TV include:
Because you can use the Android code you’ve already written, getting started is easy.
Here are three steps you take to make your game or app available on Fire TV:
Once submitted and approved, depending on your app’s compatibility, a user may be able to purchase your app on Amazon Fire TV, Kindle Fire, the Amazon Appstore website, or on the Amazon Appstore of other compatible devices. This means that if your app is available for Kindle Fire devices, Android phones, and Amazon Fire TV, your user will be able to purchase your app once on any of those devices and use it across any of the other compatible devices. Not only does this expose your app to new users, it also makes your app available on more screens so it can be in front of your existing customers more often.
When you launch your app on Fire TV, you will be considered for the Appstore Developer Select program. As part of the Appstore Developer Select program, developers who support Fire TV can receive 500,000 Amazon Coins and create campaigns where customers earn those Coins when they purchase apps and games. This is in addition to the regular program benefits that include 500,000 mobile ad impressions, enhanced merchandising, AWS credits, and additional Amazon Coins incentives. See this blog post for more details on Appstore Developer Select.
While you can develop Android apps for Amazon Fire TV without an SDK, Amazon does provide an SDK you can download that includes sample code, Javadocs, two .jar files for controller support and messaging, and guidelines for fine-tuning formatting for HDTVs.
Amazon Fire TV resources
Amazon Appstore resources
When it comes to monetizing your apps who couldn’t use just a little help? Amazon is consistently looking for solutions to help you simplify the process of attracting new users, increase discoverability, improve IAP performance and grow revenue in your apps and games. While we have built many solutions on our own we know there are a number of solutions outside Amazon that can help increase app revenue and get your apps discovered.
PreApps is one of those solutions, and we are working with PreApps to provide Amazon Appstore developers with discounted offers and services. PreApps connects developers and app enthusiasts, before the launch of an app, to help developers improve app quality and hopefully monetization as a result. The concept is pretty simple – users get access to your apps to help identify bugs and things like UI enhancements and if they like your app, they can help promote it through their social network. More than one-thousand apps have used the service, and we’d like to hear how it works for you..
Starting today Developers with a registered Amazon Account can get free access to the PreApps User Feedback program which includes the ability to post your free app, receive customer feedback, access to beta testers, see the number of users asking to be notified when your app goes live and access to PreApps App Analytics. We’ll be sending a code to all registered developers so keep an eye out for it in your inbox and let us know what you think.
Note: Effective 08-26-2015 Free App of the Day (FAD) has been replaced with Amazon Underground.
Yes, on our birthday this year, we’d like to offer you some gifts! Before we get to the numbers, let’s take the wrapping off our present to you. Starting on March 16th we kicked off our birthday week with discounts on apps and in-app items along with some great Free App of the Day specials (FAD). Starting today and running through Saturday, we’ll offer a “Appstore Hits” FAD bundle, which is valued at over $50 and includes titles like Monopoly, POLARIS Office, Dr. Panda Airport, Swype Keyboard and more. You can find this FAD bundle at www.amazon.com/FADhits.
We’re also continuing the deals and discounts we kicked off our birthday week with, where you’ll continue to find deals of up to 60% off on select apps plus amazing promotions on in-app items for titles including Wheel of Fortune from Sony Pictures, Terraria from 505 Games and Warner Bros.’ Batman: Arkham City Lockdown. As an added bonus, for a limited time, customers who buy select in-app items within great games like Asphalt 8, Animal Voyage, Kingdoms of Camelot, The Hobbit, Sonic Dash, World at Arms and Despicable Me: Minion Rush can earn up to 50% back on the purchase price in the form of Amazon Coins.
Great deals will continue to run through March 29th, so check back to our store for the latest. We hope you enjoy these savings. Now on to the numbers.
The Amazon Appstore launched on March 22, 2011 with 4,084 apps available for users of Android devices. Since that day, the Kindle Fire line of devices has launched with the Amazon Appstore, and an increasing number of mobile carriers around the world are selling Android phones with the Amazon Appstore pre-installed.
We’re happy that we’ve been able to meet the needs of so many customers over that time. We thought you might like to see some of the numbers from the Amazon Appstore over the years:
On our Birthdays, these were the most downloaded apps:
Amazon Appstore Numbers
Number of apps: Over 180,000 in the US
Number of countries: 198
Hours required for a developer to submit an app: Less than 1
Since we started three years ago, both customers and developers have seen value from programs like Free App of the Day, Amazon Coins and Appstore Developer Select. We’ve also expanded our developer services significantly and have launched services like Mobile Associates, which lets developers earn commissions on physical goods sold on Amazon.com, and A/B Testing which helps developers tweak and tune their apps in real-time. These services and others have helped developers earn more money, and we’re certainly not finished yet. Look for more innovative cross-platform programs and services in the years to come. As always at Amazon, it’s still day 1 in this business, and we’re just getting started.
Amazon returns to GDC in 2014, offering technical and business-related sessions on building and monetizing apps, fast-track app publication into the Amazon Appstore, and partner showcases.
It’s no secret that the most profitable games are the ones that keep their players engaged—usually through a combination of great content and the best use of technology. On Tuesday, March 18, Amazon is sponsoring a day of eight sessions at GDC, on topics like game architecture, design, technology, and monetization strategies. You will gain insights whether building a backend, expanding to additional platforms, scaling to handle more players, or exploring new revenue streams. Anyone with an Expo pass can attend, so plan to join us today!
In addition, Android developers who have Expo passes will be able to submit an app to the Amazon Appstore for Android and have it reviewed for potential publication in as fast as two hours. Bring your APK file to the Amazon Appstore Blast, side load it for testing and submit the app for expedited publishing. Amazon evangelists and testers will be on hand to help check compatibility and answer any questions. (Usually no changes are necessary—75% of apps we’ve tested just work.) Come to meeting room 2546 in the North Hall to publish your app and reach millions of new customers.
Amazon partners will also be present at GDC to show off exciting new projects and advanced features related to Amazon devices and services. Dolby Laboratories will showcase the Dolby Audio API, which helps developers create truly immersive game experiences with enhanced Dolby sound. Marmalade, the cross-platform SDK and game development ecosystem, will highlight their new platform support for Amazon GameCircle on booth 2510, which makes it fast and easy to incorporate Achievements, Leaderboards and Whispersync for Games into your Marmalade-based game. In addition, Amazon staff will be on hand in the Marmalade booth to answer questions about Amazon’s developer services. Amazon’s framework partner GameSalad will also be attending GDC. Creator of a rapid development platform, GameSalad recently debuted drag-and-drop integration with Amazon GameCircle and our In-App Purchasing API.
10:00 - 10:30 am Introduction
10:30 - 11:30 am AWS Architecture
11:45 - 12:45 pm Game Analytics
12:45 - 1:45 pm Engaging Your Audience with Mobile Push Notifications (w/lunch)
1:45 - 2:30 pm Amazon AppStream - New Gaming Experiences Using the Clouds for Game Streaming
2:30 - 3:30 pm What's Working in In-App Monetization
3:30 - 4:30 pm A/B Testing with Air Patriots
4:45 - 5:45 Large Scale HTML5 Games on Desktop, Mobile & Tablets with KANO/APPS
Register now to attend the Amazon Developer Day at GDC 2014 and come meet the Amazon team.