As readers of this blog, you probably already know that Kindle Fire devices run Android. While these devices may not look like Android because we use an Amazon-designed launcher, they are Android indeed. The original Kindle Fire released in 2011 runs Gingerbread (API level 10) and the Kindle Fire devices released in 2012 run Ice Cream Sandwich (API level 15).
What you may not know is how easy it is to get your existing Android apps up and running in the Amazon Appstore on Kindle Fire and other Android devices. We recently tested more than 1,600 app submissions to the Amazon Appstore Android tablet apps on Kindle Fire. In our tests we found that more than 75% of these apps just work on Kindle Fire devices with no additional development required.
While some developers may choose to just submit their Android apps, others may also decide to integrate Amazon APIs like In-App Purchasing, GameCircle or Mobile Ads to provide a richer customer experience and monetization.
We’ve seen Android apps like ‘Match the Pics’ take minutes to get submitted to Amazon and others like ‘Temple Run’ easily integrate Amazon APIs with their apps.
“Publishing our content on the Amazon Appstore was extremely easy since our Android games just worked on Kindle Fire. Creating the developer account and submitting the first app for review took a matter of minutes, and the app got published the next day.” Appoh
"We've integrated with Amazon's In-App Purchasing and GameCircle APIs, which was a breeze. We've seen significantly higher customer engagement with Temple Run since the integration, making the few, short steps worth it.” Imangi
You may be asking, why don’t 100% of Android APKs submitted run on Kindle Fire? Of the minority that doesn’t get to the store on their first try, some reasons for failure are:
Since your app will most likely just work with zero development effort in the Amazon Appstore, it seems like a no-brainer to create a developer account – at zero cost - and submit your app. Take a look at what one of Amazon’s Appstore developers says about how easy it is to set up your account and submit your Android app.
Some of the details went by fairly quickly in the video. Here’s a comparison summary of the assets in a Google Play submission and how they transfer to an Amazon Appstore submission.
It’s really not hard to have your app fly through testing. Just open a developer account on the Amazon Mobile App Distribution Portal today. You can then start submitting your existing APKs to the Amazon store, exposing them to new customers in nearly 200 countries worldwide.
Click here to get started.
To make sure your web app works great on Kindle Fire and Android devices, you can use the Web App Tester, which you can get from our store here. The Web App Tester allows you to test your web app in a production-like environment before submitting it to Amazon, and offers a suite of tools to help with on-device debugging of your web apps, ensuring that they’ll work great on Android and Kindle Fire.
Kindle Fire web runtime
Kindle Fire’s web runtime is based on the open source Chromium project, and is GPU-accelerated and optimized for fluidity to make sure your web apps run smooth on Kindle Fire, just like a native app. The new runtime supports the latest HTML5/web features and includes standards-based extensions that give you access to offline storage and location sensors. Read more about the updated web app runtime here.
Get started today
Web developers with HTML5 apps and mobile-optimized web sites can easily get started at the Amazon Mobile App Distribution Portal. Once you’re logged in, go to “My Apps”, hover over the green “Add New App” button and click “Add new Web App”. More information on how to prepare and submit your web apps is available here.
Today, we announced the general availability of the Amazon Mobile Ads API which gives you the ability to earn great eCPM by monetizing your app with mobile ads from the Amazon Mobile Ad Network.
eCPM is the amount you earn for each 1,000 ads you display in your app. Higher values are obviously better, and we’ve seen the average eCPM for the Amazon Mobile Ad Network rise 30% since its beta launch in March. Early adopters like Games2Win have already discovered our great monetization solution for banner ads.
‘The $2.00 eCPM we saw from Amazon far exceeded our expectation. We tested Amazon in our Kindle app first. Now we’re racing to get the Amazon ads integrated in all of our apps across all Android stores.’ says Mahesh Khambadkone, Co-Founder of Games2Win.
Starting today, the Amazon Mobile Ads API will be included as part of our Amazon Mobile App SDK. Developers who integrate the Amazon Mobile Ads API into apps they offer through Amazon may also distribute these apps using the API through any other Android platform.
To provide extra incentive to incorporate the Amazon Mobile Ads API into your apps (as if great monetization and ease of use weren’t enough), Amazon is offering a free Kindle Fire HD to developers who integrate our API in the next few weeks. All you have to do is submit your API-enabled app between July 25th and September 1st and send at least 500 ad requests to the Amazon Mobile Ad Network every week between September 15th and October 19th. (See terms and conditions below.)
We’re excited to share the success of the Amazon Mobile Ads API and encourage you to consider including the API in your next application. For more information, see the online documentation or our quick start guide.
Terms and Conditions of Kindle Fire HD Offer:
Amazon has started distributing Amazon Coins, which can be used to buy Kindle Fire apps and In-App Purchasing (IAP) items (except subscriptions). Starting today, every U.S. Kindle Fire owner is getting 500 coins ($5) to spend on apps, games, and IAP items. Customers will also be able to buy more coins from Amazon at a bulk discount of up to 10%. As customers use their coins, you will have the opportunity to make money and monetize your Kindle Fire app.
If you don’t have an app for sale on Amazon yet, it’s easy to get started. Based on our testing, over 75% of Android apps submitted to us work on the Kindle Fire, without any additional development required.
Soon, Amazon will open distribution in nearly 200 additional countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, India, South Africa, South Korea, and even Papua New Guinea and Vatican City. For consumers, this means that they’ll soon be able to access a large and growing catalog of apps and games from Amazon, and for developers, this means you’ll quickly have a much larger audience to download and enjoy your apps and games.
In addition to the new distribution, we’re also adding the ability to price your apps in CAD (Canadian Dollars) and BRL (Brazilian Reals) today. The ability to submit localized descriptions is also available today for Brazil (Portuguese), and will be available soon for Canada (French and English).
Recently, we announced new opportunities to monetize your apps on Amazon, including our new Mobile Ads API with competitive eCPM, and the fact that we will be distributing tens of millions of dollars worth of Amazon Coins to U.S. Amazon customers in May, to spend on apps, games or in-app purchases; and developers will receive their standard revenue share for these purchases. We offer tools to make implementing our APIs simple, including the new, faster Kindle Fire emulators, and the Amazon Mobile App SDK Eclipse Plugin.
If you’re new to distributing apps on Amazon, get started at the Mobile App Distribution Portal. If you already have apps on Amazon, no action needs to be taken.
Here's the full list of countries we’ll be distributing apps in:
At Amazon, we are always looking to make your experience developing Kindle Fire apps as easy as possible. We have two new tools to help:
Like most developers, you’ve probably sat around waiting for the emulator to start up, or you’ve found the experience of emulated apps slow to use. Although we believe it’s always better to use an actual Kindle Fire tablet to debug your apps, we understand that developers may need to use the emulator to test app compatibility. Wouldn’t it be nice if emulators weren’t so slow?
To demonstrate how much faster the new x86 images are, we used Air Patriots, a game from Amazon Game Studios, with lots of code and lots of assets. We ran it on the Kindle Fire HD emulator in different configurations, as well as on an actual physical Kindle Fire HD. The result? Faster startup and response time for the emulator, and the game play was nearly identical to that of a tablet. Here are the stats:
Kindle Fire HD emulator configuration on reference development computer
Time from app launch to accept user input
ARM system image, without using host GPU
ARM system image, using host GPU
x86 system image, without using host GPU
x86 system image, using host GPU
Kindle Fire HD tablet
To get the x86 system images for Kindle Fire, you can simply follow our instructions for setting up the Kindle Fire developer tools. There is no new or additional installation required. The x86 system images offer improved performance, especially when the experimental GPU emulation is enabled.
Since we introduced the Amazon Mobile App SDK Eclipse Plugin, we’ve received feedback that it really does speed up the time and effort it takes developers to adopt Amazon APIs. Today, the Eclipse plugin is out of beta. If you have not seen the plugin in action, check out our demo video:
Questions? Comments? Feedback? Tell us about your experience with the x86 system images and Eclipse plugin, in our forums.
Abu Obeida Bakhach is a product manager for the Kindle Fire developer tools and publications team, where he thinks of ways to make developers lives creating apps as simple as possible. Previously, he was at Microsoft in developer platform evangelism growing the Windows 8/phone ecosystem with open source frameworks. In his spare time, he keeps himself busy catching with his three children on cycling trips.
Last fall we launched Whispercast for Kindle, a free online tool that helps organizations easily manage their Kindles and distribute Kindle books and docs at whispercast.amazon.com. We’re excited to announce that recently Whispercast also began supporting distribution of apps from Amazon to Kindle Fire tablets. This means that schools, businesses, and other organizations can now easily procure and distribute apps in bulk to their users.
In the past, organizations would have to manually make a purchase through each of their user accounts--this was a lengthy and often laborious process. Now, an administrator can simply login to Whispercast, find the app they want to buy, and push it out to their managed Kindle Fire tablets. If their users have their own personal Kindle Fire, the organization can also use Whispercast to invite them to “opt-in” and gift Kindle Fire apps directly to their Amazon account.
For example, schools can now discover an educational app and purchase it for all of their students, Additionally, enterprises that want their users to access corporate e-mail using an app like Touchdown (from Nitrodesk) can easily distribute that app to all of their employees.
For more information about Whispercast for Kindle, click here.
Earlier this week, we launched a new feature in the Mobile App Distribution Portal, allowing you to easily see all customer reviews for your apps, by marketplace, in a single, unified location. This provides you the opportunity to review your customer reviews (and filter by marketplace and star rating), and use this feedback to build new features, identify potential bugs, and improve your app over time.
To access this new feature, go to “My Apps” in the Distribution Portal, hover over the app you’d like to look at the reviews for, and click “View current version” in the menu on the right. Under your app title in the header, click “Reviews”.
Starting today, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9” is now available in Europe and Japan, in addition to the previously released Kindle Fire HD 7” and Kindle Fire (2nd generation). As a reminder, we have resources available to help you optimize your mobile apps for Kindle Fire tablets, including Kindle Fire HD 8.9”:
Kindle Fire is the best-selling, most gifted, and most wished-for product across the millions of items available on Amazon worldwide. This is another opportunity for your apps to reach new customers on Kindle Fire. If you’re new, get started at the Mobile App Distribution Portal. If you’re updating your app and optimizing for Kindle Fire tablets, send us a request to market your apps after they’re submitted.
Following the success of the In-App Purchasing API, we are pleased to introduce a new monetization option for app developers, the Amazon Mobile Ads API. Now, whether you monetize through paid apps, in-app purchases, or mobile advertising, Amazon offers a solution to help grow your business.
The Amazon Mobile Ads API is an in-app display advertising API, which offers:
The Amazon Mobile Ads API serves ads to U.S. users, and works with mobile apps on Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD, and Android phones and tablets. Apps that use the Amazon Mobile Ads API may be distributed through any Android platform as long as they are available for download from Amazon as well.
Developers who participated in the private beta program reported an increase in ad revenue, especially on their Kindle Fire optimized apps, after integrating with the Amazon Mobile Ads API.
“We switched to Amazon from another major ad network and have seen revenue lift of 200%. Now, I call Amazon first, then another network, so my overall revenue increased 250%. The results from Amazon have greatly exceeded our expectations.”
-- James Farrier, Founder (Simple-List Free)
“Our experience with Amazon has been nothing but great. We were able to integrate in 15 minutes with the easy to follow API and documentation. We’re excited about the eCPM and fill rate so far. Our users have been happy with the quality and relevance of ads they are seeing.”
-- Steve Boymel, Co-Founder of Farlex (Dictionary)
“We decided to try Amazon's ads because our overall revenue and eCPM was low on tablets when we were using another network. We initially integrated the Amazon Mobile Ads API in one of our apps distributed through Amazon since the majority of our users there are on Kindle Fire devices. Our effort has paid off! We saw eCPM jump 300% and our revenue doubled even though fill rate was lower at the beginning. Now we have the Mobile Ads API integrated in all our free apps distributed through Amazon.”
-- Anatoly Lubarsky, Founder of x2line.com (Baby Adopter)
Things look a little bit different here at the Distribution Blog. We’ve re-launched and moved it within the Mobile App Distribution Portal to make easier for you to access. If you’re already a blog reader, you know that this is the place to hear the latest news about the Mobile App Distribution Program and Kindle Fire, and that’s not going to change. However, you’ll now be hearing more from our expert technical evangelists and marketing team.
I’m Alex Bowman, and I manage our developer social networking channels (including this developer blog) and many of the other channels that connect us to developers. I’ve been at Amazon for a year and a half, and before, I worked in various roles at BlackBerry. When I’m not looking for the coolest new apps on my Kindle Fire, I’m out scouting for the most delicious cheeseburger in Seattle.
I’ve asked the rest of the team to write a bit about themselves as well:
Mike Hines is our newspaper and magazine specialist, helping periodical developers deploy easily with a great product on Kindle Fire tablets. He joined the Kindle team in 2010, coming from a 13-year stint at Microsoft, doing QA, program, and product management on products like Microsoft Wine Guide and Encarta, as well as some time at an education software start-up. In his spare time, Mike studies political philosophy and enjoys going to Disneyland whenever he gets the chance.
Jeremy Cath works with entertainment app developers focused on providing great visual and auditory experiences on Kindle Fire tablets. Prior to joining Amazon, Jeremy worked at Microsoft for 6 years on the Developer & Platform Evangelism team, and prior to that, he spent a decade developing interactive and online experiences to complement television productions. When he isn’t working, Jeremy can be found riding his Harley (or polishing it, given the Seattle weather).
Jonathan Wise specializes in optimizing productivity, enterprise, and communications apps for Kindle Fire tablets. Prior to joining the Kindle team, Jonathan spent 10 years as a software engineer working on enterprise-scale applications and web technologies, plus 3 years at Microsoft as a Platform Evangelist. When he’s not up to his elbows in Kindles, Jonathan is pursing a master’s degree in Theology and enjoys helping his 3 young kids discover the world.
CJ Frost has been a technical evangelist for Amazon Kindle since the team’s creation. His passion and specialty is bringing great, engaging games to Kindle Fire. A dedicated, console, tablet, and PC gamer, CJ has a 17-year background in software architecture, distributed systems, and enterprise software solutions. Prior to joining the Kindle team, he worked as a Sr. Solutions Architect for Amazon Web Services. Before entering the world of web and gaming, CJ was a police officer and paramedic.
Peter Heinrich is a technical evangelist for Amazon GameCircle. Prior to starting at Amazon, Peter developed PC, console, online, and mobile games. When he’s not thinking about achievements and leaderboards, he’s exploring physics simulated, graphics rendering, and embedded hacking.
Lauren Stark helps to drive our team’s developer outreach, and is a frequent author and tweeter for @AmazonAppDev. Lauren has been at Amazon for 3 years, and prior to working on the Mobile App Distribution team, worked as a buyer for Amazon’s kitchen store. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and loves to cook, with a keen interest in finding delicious recipes that only rivals her love of finding awesome mobile apps.
Steve Johnson works closely with the teams developing APIs for the Amazon Mobile App SDK, ensuring they provide great experiences for our developers. In his spare time, Steve restores 1980s arcade machines.
Mudeem Siddiqui spends his time working with developers, helping them to build great apps and succeed with effective monetization strategies. He received his MBA from the University of California, Irvine. Before he joined Amazon, he worked at various start-ups in the video and semi-conductor space. He also is an avid photographer, and his favorite subject is his 8-month-old daughter.
Derek Gebhard also works with developers on building great apps. He’s spent the last 6 months at Amazon, and prior to that, worked on the Windows 8 team at Microsoft. When he’s not working, he’s cheering on sports teams from Detroit.
Sanyu Kiruluta has been a developer experience ninja since 2008. When not working to solve key problems for developers she can be found traveling to remote locales, scuba diving in the deep blue or working on her chakra in a Bikram yoga class.
E-dan Bloch specializes in software development and usability--making sure we develop the right platform and tools, and helping app developers make the most out of them. Prior to joining Amazon, E-dan spent 15 years as a software engineer developing websites, content management systems and working on system integration. E-dan holds an MBA in Finance & Internet Data Systems and enjoys spending his time working on one of his coding pet-projects, listening to metal or electronic music or watching movies.
Lisa Acton is our web store merchandiser. Since she’s been with the Amazon Mobile App Distribution team since the beginning, she has a broad understanding of the Mobile App Distribution Portal and submission process. She’s an avid pinner on Pinterest, and also likes to surprise her co-workers with delicious treats.
Rob Pulciani is the fearless leader of the marketing team. Rob’s only been at Amazon for only three months but been in the app ecosystem for years, and considers himself a “tech junkie”. He was previously at Microsoft for seven years, where he was in the Developer Platform Evangelism organization. Rob is married with two small daughters and one very old dog. His spare time is spent shuttling his daughters between dance, soccer, and yoga (if you know why a six year old needs to focus her chi, please contact him as he’d like to know).
Paul Cutsinger leads the developer relations team at Amazon. Most recently, he ran engineering for Disney's Club Penguin, after spending some time at Microsoft working on projects including Internet Explorer and Windows. Beyond helping developers build amazing apps, Paul is also a toxophilite (a lover of archery).
You may see some other names pop up on occasion, but expect to hear a lot from this team on the latest products and services for app developers, and best practices. We also take your feedback seriously and want to ensure that you find our blog content valuable. Send your blog feedback to email@example.com.
Today, we announced a new,free A/B Testing service for developers like you, who distribute their app or game through the Amazon Mobile App Distribution Program. This service was built to help you improve your customer retention and monetization through in-app experimentation. Amazon’s A/B Testing service is easy to integrate, simple to control, and is built on Amazon Web Services. This means you can be up and running in less than a day and trust that the service will scale with your app.
When we set out to buil dan A/B Testing service, we met with developers to learn what they needed most.We discovered that it was something very simple--to better understand customer needs and to be able to react to those needs quickly. Our A/B Testing service provides simple to integrate tools that enable you to continually create and run experiments, view how customers are reacting to these experiments, and release new, improved experiences without writing any more code or resubmitting your game or app.
The service’s benefits include:
Free to Use: our A/B Testing service is free to use for developers distributing their app or game through the Amazon Mobile App Distribution Program.
Easy Integration: early partners report that the SDK can be integrated and ready for release in less than a day.
Precise Control: set up experiments and monitor results from the familiar Mobile App Distribution Portal.
Painless Deployment: server-side logic allows you to quickly iterate tests and deploy new, improved experiences to customers without having to resubmit your APK or write any additional client-side code.
Effortless Scaling: built on Amazon Web Services, Amazon’s A/B Testing service lets you focus on building great games and apps instead of architecting scalable back-end services.
With Amazon’s A/B Testing service you no longer need to guess when deciding between different customer experiences.You can evaluate which in-game promotion drives better performance, which button design maximizes customer click-through, or which tutorial offers the highest conversion rate.
The Amazon A/B Testing service is currently available in beta. Learn more and get started with A/B Testing here.