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February 19, 2014

Mike Hines

Today, we’re extending Amazon Coins to all Android devices with the Amazon Appstore installed.  Amazon Coins is a way for Amazon Appstore customers to buy and enjoy Android apps, games, and in-app items for less. Customers can save up to 10% on apps and games by purchasing Amazon Coins, while developers continue to get their full 70% revenue share.

More Ways for More Customers to Buy Your Apps

Since the launch of Amazon Coins in the US, UK, and Germany in 2013, customers have already purchased hundreds of millions of Amazon Coins and are actively using them on Kindle Fire devices, representing real dollars to developers.

Now, users of the Amazon Appstore on Android will be able to use Amazon Coins to purchase apps, games, and a broad range of in-app items on any Android device running the Amazon Appstore in the US, UK, or Germany. If a customer is already a Kindle Fire user, he or she will automatically see their existing Coins balance on their other Android devices in addition to their Kindle devices.

How You Can Benefit from This News

We have already seen developers benefit from customers using their Amazon Coins to try out and explore new apps and games. Now that Coins are available to an even larger audience, you can take advantage of the opportunity by making sure your app is available on the largest number of devices.

Check Device Availability

Check your device availability to make sure your app is available to as many Coins-enabled customers as possible.  Checking is easy, and adding supported devices is not much harder. Follow these steps below to get started:

1.      In the Amazon Developer Portal, go to your app’s detail page.

Under the Binary File(s) tab, check the Device Support section for “All non-Amazon Android devices…” (see sample below).

2.      If your app has “All non-Amazon Android devices...” and the Kindle Fire devices listed, then you’re done!

If the entry is missing “All non-Amazon Android devices...” (as shown below), you can change that.

Change this by: a) Modifying your AndroidManifest.xml, b) Creating an ‘Upcoming Version’ in the dev portal, and then c) Submitting the .apk with the new manifest file. Here are the steps to do that:

a.       If you have verified that your .apk will run successfully on some (or most) other Android devices, make sure you reference supported devices in your AndroidManifest.xml file by using <compatible-screens /> or <supports-screens />  (please make sure to increment the version number of your app when you modify the manifest).

b.      Click Add Upcoming Version in the dev portal.

While in the new ‘Upcoming Version’ section, go to the Binary File(s) tab and check all the appropriate boxes.

c.       Upload the .apk with the new manifest.xml, make sure the other tabs are complete (and app version number is different), and re-submit your app.

3.      If your app is not available on Kinde Fire devices, you can use Amazon’s App Testing Service to get the info you need in about a minute. Just drag and drop your .apk into the tool to get your results! You can also check out common reasons for incompatibility, and check out the documentation on our dev portal.

Questions

If you have any questions about Amazon Coins or device availability, please check our dev portal, or contact one of our developer support professionals.

 

February 18, 2014

Mike Hines

We recently posted an update to the Appstore SDK here.

This update introduces two material changes. These are:

  • Unity3D plugin: Using a namespaced version MiniJSON to avoid name conflicts.
  • AdobeAir Plugin: Fixed bug in actionscript when parsing a Date object as type ‘int’ would return an incorrect time.

Please download the latest SDK to get the latest UNITY and Adobe plug-ins and remove the old plug-ins.

 

February 06, 2014

Peter Heinrich

If you develop apps or games with Unity, you may already be using Amazon’s GameCircle plug-in for Unity to integrate cross-platform leaderboards, achievements, and game data synchronization.  The plug-in works on iOS, Android, and Fire OS, connecting your app to Amazon’s GameCircle service.  Its leaderboards and achievements encourage friendly competition and replay, while its Whispersync for Games component backs up game data to the cloud, improving the customer experience.  With GameCircle, gamers won’t lose their progress if they reset their device or buy a new one.

If you haven’t used the GameCircle plug-in yet, you can now download it from the Scripting/Integration section of the Unity Asset Store.  Accessible directly from within the Unity development environment, the Unity Asset Store makes it fast and convenient to add editor or game functionality through third-party extensions like the GameCircle plug-in.

 

 

This official GameCircle plug-in is compatible with iOS and Android phones and tablets, as well as Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD, and Kindle Fire HDX devices.  Add the plug-in to your project to access GameCircle leaderboards, achievements, and Whispersync for Games.

In addition, the GameCircle plug-in also works with the Unity Social API, which provides a unified interface to social back-ends such as Game Center and Xbox Live.  Set the active social platform to GameCircle and calls to the Unity Social API will pass through to the GameCircle service in the same way:

#if UNITY_IOS || UNITY_ANDROID
Social.Active = GameCircleSocial.Instance;    
#endif

Since Unity’s Social API is designed to be a generic interface that works across many services, it doesn’t support every feature of every back-end.  GameCircle leaderboards and achievements work seamlessly, for example, but Unity’s Social API provides no hooks for game data synchronization.  To use some advanced features of GameCircle, like Whispersync for Games, simply call the API through the normal GameCircle interface.  It’s easy to use the two APIs side-by-side, and the plug-in includes a sample scene to help you get GameCircle and Unity’s Social API up and running together.

Check out the official GameCircle plug-in in the Unity Asset Store.  It’s easier than ever to get started integrating GameCircle’s leaderboards, achievements, and Whispersync for Games in your Unity-based game for most mobile devices.  You can also visit our developer portal for more detailed information about using GameCircle and Unity together, as well as links to help you call other Amazon services from your Unity projects.

 

January 09, 2014

Mike Hines

Today, we released the new developer portal that improves the look and feel of the site and helps you save time when planning, building, and submitting applications to the Amazon Appstore. 

The portal refresh is designed to make it easy for you to:

1. Get Started: If you have an Android app, you can simply drop your APK in our updated testing widget to get Appstore compatibility test results in just seconds. Once your app is ready, you can create a free developer account and submit it using the Developer Console.

2. Access the Latest Amazon APIs: Download the free Amazon Mobile App SDK for access to APIs and services that can enhance your apps and games, help you monetize them, and engage your audience across Android and iOS platforms.

3. Find the Content that Matters: The new site includes a wide variety of support resources to help you through the development process including documentation, development tools, marketing tips, promotional tools, videos, case studies, blog posts and one of my favorites, a schedule of upcoming training events.

 

 

Top Enhancements

There are many improvements in the new portal, and here are a few stand-outs:

    1. Streamlined App Submission

One thing that you’ll notice right away is how easy it is to check an existing Android .apk for compatibility with the Amazon Appstore. Just drag your .apk to the updated testing widget on the Home page and get results in seconds. If your app is ready to go (as most are), you can start the app submission process directly from the results page.

    2. Site-wide Search

The site-wide search tool in the top navigation bar can quickly get you to the page you are looking for. Just submit the term you are looking for and it will search the site for results.

    3. Complete list of APIs (with cross-platform compatibility notation)

There is now a page where you can find all of the Amazon Appstore APIs, and see their compatible platforms. In the case of the Analytics API for example, you can see that it is compatible with apps sold on iOS, the Google Play Store, and the Amazon App Store.

Also, behind each pretty icon is a page full of documentation, sample code and plug-in information for each service. (I spend a lot of time on these pages when I code.)

    4. Dedicated page for Game Developers

We introduced a page dedicated to the tools and services that Game developers will find most helpful, including game engine plug-ins and cross-platform APIs that can help you maximize revenue from In App Purchasing. (you can still use these even if you’re not a game dev.)

    5. Dedicated pages for HTML5 and iOS developers

Speaking of cross-platform, If you’re not an Android developer we made some changes to become more relevant to you, such as giving HTML5/web app developers their own resources page as well as building a page specifically for iOS developers who may want to take advantage of some of our Analytics tools, A|B Testing tools, or game services.  

    6. Resources for PC and Mac game developers

Even if you don’t program for mobile devices, we still have some great promotion programs.  These are detailed on the Mac and PC page to help you submit your game to Amazon and get noticed in our Digital Games and Software store, Indie Games store and Free-to-Play Store.

    7. Community resources and a calendar of events

We created a Community space, which provides you with access to our Developer Blog and Forums, and lists upcoming events and webinars, and lets you catch up on the latest tech news gathered from periodicals and blogs around the world. Check out the list of events and webinars here.

    8. A Resources section (including how-to videos)

This section contains links to development tools, marketing tips, and promotional programs. Also in this section are and learning resources, which include two of my favorite resources in the site: First is the one-stop-shop for all of the how-to videos, webinar videos, and case-study videos we’ve produced. The second is the Documentation page, which contains easy links to API documentation, Kindle Fire info, dev environment setup help, app submission tips, and even marketing tips.  

      

What hasn’t changed?

The Developer Console (the interface you use to work on app submission forms) has not changed its functionality; it has just been re-skinned. So you can add A|B Experiments, enter new IAP items and other dev console tasks just like you always have.

Take a look at our new developer portal as you build and distribute your apps with Amazon.

December 24, 2013

Peter Heinrich

The Amazon Appstore for Android is spreading a little holiday cheer this week, offering a $5 credit to anyone who downloads the latest version of the Amazon Appstore and uses it to buy a mobile app or game from Christmas Eve through Saturday. The credit is good for the future purchase of any apps, games, or in-app items in the Amazon Appstore.

With millions opening brand new phones and tablets this season, there’s never been a better time to publish your mobile app or game on Amazon. The Amazon Appstore runs on all Android devices, and now customers will have an additional $5 to spend there on the great mobile content they love. Submit your app today to make sure it’s available for purchase when customers want to redeem their credit.

December 19, 2013

David Isbitski

Starting today all Web App submissions to the Amazon Appstore now support Amazon Device Targeting.   While it is possible to detect and optimize your mobile websites server side, you may decide you only want to target your Web Apps to specific devices.  Web App submissions to the Amazon Appstore now allow the same device targeting capabilities that Android submissions do.  This means you can elect to make your Web Apps available for download on Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire HDX, general Android (all non-Amazon) devices or any combination of these.  

By enabling device targeting within your individual Web Apps you can tailor your app experience to the specific screen size, density, and capabilities of Kindle devices.  For example, you may decide to target only devices capable of the Amazon Webview (Kindle Fire 2nd generation and up) giving your Web Apps native-like speeds on Kindle devices.

What has changed?

In the previous version of the developer portal you did not have the option of choosing the device on which devices your Web Apps would be available.  By default your Web Apps would run on all Kindle Fire devices as well as Android capable devices. 

As of today, a new Device Support section has been added that will allow you to target any or all of Web App capable devices you choose.

Enabling Device Targeting

To enable Device Targeting in your Web Apps simply navigate to the Apps and Services, My Apps section in the developer portal, click on the title of your Web App, and then select the App File(s) tab.

You can then select the individual devices you want to target.  By default we will enable all Web App capable devices so be sure to uncheck any devices you specifically do not want to support.  Once you click the Save button you will find a new list of all the devices you have selected to support.

That’s it!  By following these few steps you now have more control over which devices your Web Apps will run on, giving you the option to tailor your app experience to the capabilities of each device.

 

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

December 10, 2013

Mike Hines

We are working to redesign our developer portal to make it easier for you to get started, get the resources you need and distribute your app in the Amazon Appstore. Today, we’d like to invite you try out the re-designed version of the site.

If you’d like to try this test site and provide us feedback, follow the ‘Try our Beta site’ link at the top of the current site to check out the beta. Please provide us with feedback by filling this form or emailing us at new-site-support@amazon.com.

 

November 25, 2013

Peter Heinrich

We have been encouraging mobile app and game developers to try Amazon’s Mobile Ad Network because of its great eCPM—effectively, how much you earn for every 1,000 ads displayed—but that isn’t the only benefit.  Performance reports put ad data at your fingertips, such as which of your apps are using ads most effectively, what ad sizes have the best eCPM and fill rates, and how the total number of impressions has changed week-over-week.  These reports are automatically available to any app that integrates the Mobile Ads API.

Now there are even more ways to refine the analysis.  Two new filters allow you to report on performance data by geographical region and mobile device type.


Performance may vary by app

By default, data for all regions and all devices is included in the reports you generate.


Fill rate may vary by app

Amazon serves most if its ads to users located in the US, so running your report with a US categorization draws a more accurate picture of the performance and makes it easier to evaluate the Amazon Mobile Ad Network.  You can also expand the region filter to include North America (Non-US), Asia, Europe, and Others. You will be able to analyze usage of your app outside of the U.S. to help you decide how to monetize your non-U.S. traffic.

You can also filter the data by which type of device made an ad request.  You may find that phone and tablet versions vary widely in ad performance, or that some combination of a particular form factor and operating system typically converts better (or worse) than other combinations.


Ad requests may vary by app

Supported device types include Android phones and Kindle Fire and Android tablets.

Being able to refine your ad performance reports by geography and mobile device type makes it possible to see detailed information on regional fill rates, understand ad request volume by platform, and accurately compare and evaluate the Amazon Mobile Ad Network relative to other mobile ad networks.  All of this reporting is easy to incorporate into your apps. Simply integrate the Mobile Ads API and take advantage of the analysis and insights at no cost.

 

November 22, 2013

Rob Pulciani

Since the launch of Amazon Coins in the US in May, customers have already spent hundreds of millions of Amazon Coins, representing real dollars to developers, who still received their 70% revenue share. Check out our August blog post to read more about some of the results from developers so far.

Today, we’re extending Amazon Coins to the UK and Germany as well. As a thank you to existing and new Kindle Fire owners in the UK and Germany, customers will get free Amazon Coins deposited directly into their accounts so they can experience how easy it is to shop with Coins. Customers will be able to use Amazon Coins to purchase apps, games, and a broad range of in-app items in the Amazon.co.uk Appstore, the Amazon.de App-Shop, and on Kindle Fire.

Amazon Coins are immediately available to customers who pre-ordered the new Kindle Fire HDX 7” and Kindle Fire HDX 8.9”. Both devices are now available in the UK and Germany. This is a great opportunity for you to take advantage of Amazon Coins and the perfect time to submit your apps for the holiday rush. In 2012, we saw a 50% increase in the number of app downloads during Thanksgiving week as compared to an average week. During ‘Digital Week’ 2012, the week after Christmas, customers purchased and downloaded 600% more apps than any other week during 2012.

We have already seen developers like Halfbrick, PepiPlay, and textPlus benefit from customers using their Amazon Coins to try out and explore new apps and games. For many Indie developers, Coins has accounted for the majority of their revenue since Coins launched in the US.

If your app is available for sale for Kindle Fire in the Amazon Appstore, there’s nothing else to do. So submit your apps today and take advantage of Amazon Coins. For more information on making your apps available on Kindle Fire devices, check out these links:

1.    Create an account on the Developer Portal
2.    Download the Amazon Mobile App SDK
3.    Review the Kindle Fire development resources

 

November 21, 2013

Peter Heinrich

Just in time for the holidays, millions of customers can now purchase Android applications from the Australian Appstore and Brazilian Appstore using their own local currency. Available in nearly 200 countries since May, the Amazon Appstore now allows developers to price their apps in Australian dollars or Brazilian reais, in addition to the other currencies already supported. There’s even a new localization option for Brazilian Portuguese so you can make your app that much more relevant to customers in Brazil. And, the Australian Appstore is also accessible to Kiwis, so customers in New Zealand can download the best local and global apps, too.

Being able to offer your apps for sale in the local currency of Australia and Brazil means less friction for customers in two of the most important global app marketplaces. Brazil is the largest app marketplace in Latin America and is growing faster even than the US, according to a recent report by Distimo1, which also ranks the Australian app marketplace #6 in the world in terms of revenue. Despite Australia’s considerably smaller installed base, only the US, Japan, South Korea, the UK, and China surpass it for app purchases.

In addition, you can publish any Android app on the Amazon Appstore, which includes those running on Kindle Fire OS. In fact, more than 75% of the Android tablet apps we’ve tested just work on Kindle Fire without additional development. Publish your Android app on Amazon and it automatically becomes eligible to be featured on our web storefront and to be included in search results and recommendations shown on product detail pages. Once your app or game is available in our store, you can also promote its availability by linking to it directly.

So, don’t miss this opportunity to monetize your apps and games in time for the holiday rush. In 2012, we saw a 50% increase in the number of app downloads during Thanksgiving week as compared to an average week. During ‘Digital Week’ in 2012 (the week after Christmas), customers purchased and downloaded 600% more apps than an average week during the yearSubmit your Android app to our store today and let us help you increase your international exposure in time for the holidays.

 

 



1Distimo MEF Mobile App Ecosystem Sept 2013.

 

 

November 13, 2013

Mike Hines

AWS announced a great new service for developers today that allows you to stream your graphics and computationally-intensive apps in the cloud to a wide variety of devices, including tablets and mobile phones.  Check out Jeff Barr’s post for all the details and we’ll provide more details on the benefits for mobile developers in an upcoming post.

 

November 08, 2013

Peter Heinrich

The Amazon Mobile Ads API concluded its Kindle Fire HD promotion, and today we’re excited to say that hundreds of developers will be receiving a new device. Since the launch of the Amazon Mobile Ads API in July, developers who integrated the Amazon Mobile Ads API into Qualifying Apps by September 1st and generated at least 500 ad requests per week to the Amazon Mobile Ads Network from September 15th through October 19th, were automatically enrolled in the promotion to get a free Kindle Fire HD device. We’ve seen hundreds of developers integrate the Amazon Mobile Ads API into their apps and they are generating ad requests in impressive numbers.   By integrating the Amazon Mobile Ads API into their apps, these developers have a powerful monetization solution and now, they also have a new tablet.

David Detry from Imesart says, “We were planning to integrate the Amazon Mobile Ads API in our app and heard about the Kindle Fire HD promotion so we moved up the development schedule.  We wished we had integrated the API sooner after seeing how much it’s making for us.”

We were so overwhelmed by the excitement and participation in this program that we wanted to even further reward developers. In the US where Kindle Fire HDX was already available to ship, developers received an upgrade from the Kindle Fire HD to the Kindle Fire HDX. For international developers, where the Kindle Fire HDX was not yet available to ship, we are covering the taxes and import duty on the Kindle Fire HD. Qualified developers have already received an email notifying them that they can expect devices to start shipping soon.

If you missed this promotion, you can still monetize your app with the Amazon Mobile Ads API and earn great eCPM. Click here to learn how. 

October 02, 2013

Mike Hines

There have been some new features added to the Amazon dev portal (Mobile App Distribution Portal) recently. First of all, it’s not just mobile any more. You can now submit your PC and Mac software in addition to submitting Android apps and web apps for mobile devices. (See this post for details.)

You also have more flexibility with the Androlid apps or web apps you submit.  Previously, when an app was submitted and was under review, you needed to wait until the review was finished before doing anything else with that submission.  Now, you can cancel the submission if you like, change something, and re-submit it again.

Just click the Cancel App Submission button at the bottom of the submission’s detail page (it’s at the bottom of all the tabs, not just General Information), and it will place your submission into the ‘Ready to Submit’ status where you can edit and replace submission elements as required.

Thanks for letting us know this was a feature you wanted. If you wish to suggest other features, please drop us a line.

 

October 01, 2013

Peter Heinrich

Until now, submitting your PC or Mac digital software or video games for sale on Amazon has been a largely manual process. In sharp contrast, submitting a mobile app to the Amazon Appstore for Android has always been completely self-service; to submit a mobile app for approval, you click-through our distribution agreement, supply a title, description, list price and display imagery, upload your binary, and voilà! Even the tax information we are required to collect can be entered online.

Simple and Consistent

You can say goodbye to this disparity as of now. In addition to HTML5 mobile apps and mobile apps for Android (including Kindle Fire), you can now submit your PC and Mac digital software and video games to be sold on Amazon. You can start the process at https://developer.amazon.com/welcome.html. Ingestion has been streamlined and automated to match the mobile app submission process, making the UI more uniform and significantly improving the developer experience.

At present, the distribution portal supports only US sales from Amazon.com of digital PC software and games, but we working hard to add international support.

We’ve also updated our distribution agreement to cover PC and Mac software and video games, and renamed the agreement the “App Distribution and Services Agreement”. You can review the updated agreement here.

The Workflow

Like mobile app developers, digital PC software and games developers need a valid Amazon account to log on to the  our portal. You can use your existing distribution account to upload a PC and Mac, digital software and video game in our portal If you don’t have one,

A)     I don’t believe it, and

B)      It’s easy to set up.

Just go to our portals welcome page and click the big green button labeled Create an Account.

 

Log in to your account from the welcome page above and you’ll see a dashboard view like the one below showing unit sales for each mobile app, digital software product or video game. This list will be empty, of course, until you actually submit an app, so hover over the Add a New App button to see a pop-up menu of supported product types. Select PC & Mac to create a new entry and present a form where you can enter general information about the digital software or video game to be sold, like title, platform, and minimum system requirements.

After you’ve filled in the required fields and clicked Save, a green checkmark should appear on the General Information tab. This confirms that the new product has been registered successfully and you can proceed to fill in information on the other tabs. You can do this in any order (once the general information tab is complete), but keep in mind that all tabs must have a green check before you can complete the submission process.

Continue to fill in the product information, tab by tab. It’s a good idea to pay close attention to the details here, since much of this information will be displayed on the product page seen by Amazon customers. Make sure that what you enter is accurate and compelling; this is your opportunity to let your work shine. It’s always good to spend a little extra time on the description, and be sure to include several screenshots. They really make a difference to customers.

Once you’ve completed all the data entry and each tab has a green check, you’re ready to complete the submission. A new Submit App button will appear below the data entry area.

After you complete the submission, you’ll be directed to the My Apps page, which lists all the products currently associated with your account. The status of each will also be displayed so you can keep track of its progress through the submission pipeline..

Key Management

You may be required to complete one additional bit of data entry after you submit, before the product summary screen above is displayed. If your digital software or video game will use product keys to unlock content or functionality, you can indicate that on the last data tab. In that case, you’ll be required to upload keys that Amazon can distribute to paying customers, though not until you actually complete the submission. Then you’ll be directed to the Key Management page to complete the upload.

That’s It!

Unless they also created PC or Mac digital software or video games to be sold on Amazon, most developers probably never even realized how manual that submission process was, especially compared to releasing applications on the Amazon Appstore for Android. Today’s update and unification of the ingestion processes should greatly streamline the  process for selling your PC and Mac digital software and video games on Amazon. Set-up will be easier and deployment faster.

If you haven’t submitted digital software or video games to Amazon before, now’s the perfect time to get started. If you have comments or questions, please let us know; your feedback helps us make our services better.

September 27, 2013

Mike Hines

Are you considering making your Android app available on the Amazon Appstore but aren’t sure what it’s going to take to get your app ready?  Here’s some good news, while we know that 75% of the Android apps we’ve tested just work on Amazon Appstore, we now have an easy way for you to find out if your app is part of the other 25% and, better yet, understand what you need to do to get your app ready.

Starting September 27th, we are opening a private beta of a new offering, The Amazon App Testing Service. This service will allow you to test your app before submitting it to the Amazon Appstore, and will give you feedback on what (if anything) you should change. We are looking  for developers who are interested in giving the service a try and providing some feedback before we go live.  As a participant you will have pre-release access to the test tool, and you can enter your feedback on a short web-form. If you choose to submit tested apps to the Amazon Appstore, we will prioritize your apps in our submission review process.

Interested?  Shoot an email to AppTestingService-beta-feedback@amazon.com and we’ll get you signed up. Easy as that.

 

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