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September 17, 2014

Peter Heinrich

Amazon today introduced Fire OS 4 “Sangria,” the next generation of software and services that powers Amazon’s Fire devices, including three all-new Fire tablets introduced today. The Fire HD 6, Fire HD 7, and Fire HDX 8.9 tablets all give customers the power to watch, work, and play.  Aggressively priced, they are highly affordable and will appeal to a whole new customer segment by introducing a smaller, lighter 6” HD tablet form factor.

This release introduces hundreds of new upgrades and platform enhancements, including:

All-new Fire OS 4 “Sangria”

Fire OS 4 “Sangria” starts with Android and adds a customer-friendly user interface, unlimited cloud storage of Amazon content and photos taken on your Fire device, latest productivity apps, and enhanced platform integrations to seamlessly access the best selection of digital content—more than 33 million movies, TV shows, songs, books, and Android apps and games.

Unmatched Entertainment Ecosystem

Fire OS 4 integrates our newest services including Prime Music, ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction), and Kindle Unlimited. Second Screen headphone integration lets you watch Amazon Instant Video on a compatible big screen TV with headphones plugged into your tablet so you can enjoy the movie in enhanced Dolby Digital sound.

Built for Gaming

Fire tablets are built for the best in gaming with tilt, turn, and multi-touch controls. Customers get a new paid app for free everyday, and enjoy great discounts on popular games and apps. Plus, use Amazon Coins to purchase and save on apps, games, and in-app items. New Fire tablet owners in the US get 500 Amazon Coins—a $5 value.

Content in the Cloud

Every Fire tablet includes free unlimited storage in Amazon Cloud Drive for photos taken on the device, plus 5GB of storage for photos and files added to Cloud Drive from other devices.

Starting at $99, Fire tablets feature quad-core processors that more than double the speed and quadruple the graphics performance of previous models. Your apps launch faster and your customers enjoy a smoother and richer experience with better overall performance than ever before. Stunning HD displays and Dolby Audio make your apps and games shine.

Fire OS 4 is available on the new Fire tablets, with some features coming to the 3rd generation Kindle Fire HDX and Kindle Fire HD (released in 2013) as part of free, over-the-air Fire OS updates starting later this year.

Learn more about the new Fire tablet hardware and the software improvements announced today.

Fire OS’ Content-Forward UI Makes Your App More Discoverable

Fire OS 4 and the new Fire tablets are designed to provide fast and easy access to favorite books, songs, videos, and games. By deeply integrating software, content, and the Cloud, we build on Fire OS’s content-forward user interface to deliver innovative services that are available only from Amazon.

Fire OS is designed from the ground up to make it as easy and fast as possible for customers to access their favorite apps and content. The home screen Carousel and media libraries are automatically personalized to put your apps front and center in the app grid, providing easy, one-click access.

This means customers use your apps more, leading to more sessions, deeper engagement, and more opportunity to generate revenue. We expect these and many other features will make the new Fire tablets even more popular than their predecessors, further expanding the reach for your apps and games.

Reach a Global Audience for the Holidays

This year’s Fire tablets will be available to customers worldwide in the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, China, and Australia. The Amazon Appstore is also available on Android devices in 236 countries to give your apps even more reach. According to an Amazon-sponsored IDC survey, 76% of developers say that Fire helps them connect with new customer segments that may be difficult to find on other platforms.

Fire tablets expand that reach even further, and with perfect timing. The holiday season is almost here, and Amazon devices have historically surged during this period. According to Flurry Analytics, Christmas Day sees a particularly large number of device activations—24 times the typical number for any other day in 2013, for example—so now is the time to develop a new app or bring your existing Android or web app to Fire tablets, Fire TV, or Fire phone.

Most Android Apps Just Work with Fire OS 4

Fire tablets run Fire OS, which is based on Android 4.4 (KitKat) and offers complete support for API Level 19. This means that it is incredibly easy to bring your Android APK to Amazon devices. Most Android apps we’ve tested work on Fire tablets without modification, so you can publish your apps to the Amazon Appstore with little or no effort and expand your potential audience by millions.

Use the App Testing Service to check the compatibility of your existing Android app in as little as 90 seconds. It will identify potential issues and explain how to resolve them, and then make submitting your app a breeze.

Appstore Monetization Similar to (or Better) than Other Platforms

An IDC survey we commissioned found that developers make as much money per user (often more) when they sell their apps and games on Fire tablets, as compared to any other mobile platform. Playtika, for example, creator of highly immersive social games like Bingo Blitz, saw its highest average revenue per paying user (ARPU) on Fire tablets—70% higher than Android and 15% higher than iOS. Similarly, Crittermap saw superior results using the Amazon Mobile Ads API. Creators of BackCountry Navigator PRO, they earned higher eCPM than on other ad networks.

Fire tablets also support Amazon Mobile Ads, a cross-platform service to display banner, interstitial, and rich media ads inside your apps. You are paid for ad impressions, not just ad click-through events. Use it to monetize app sessions across Fire tablets, Fire phone, and all Android and iOS devices.

Amazon Mobile Ads is just one of many APIs available in Amazon’s Mobile App SDK, which also provides support for In-App Purchasing, A/B Testing, Maps, Login with Amazon, and GameCircle Achievements, Leaderboards, and Whispersync for Games. Build with our Mobile App SDK to get these services up and running quickly, and then use them to engage new customers, understand and improve their experience with your app, and increase revenue.

Learn more about Amazon’s monetization APIs on our website, where you will find Quick Start Guides and sample code to help you integrate them into your apps quickly.   

Your Apps & Games: Now Available on More Devices

The Amazon Appstore has never been available on a broader range of devices and platforms. It’s no wonder 65% of the surveyed developers also say that the Total Revenue achieved on the Kindle Fire is similar to, or even better than, what they experience with other major platforms.

The Amazon Appstore is preloaded on Kindle Fire tablets, Fire TV, and Fire phone devices.  And recently, we announced that Fire TV is available in the UK and Germany. Amazon Fire TV 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.

Back in April, we announced the expansion of the Amazon Appstore to 41 new countries, including Egypt, Indonesia, Singapore, and Turkey. Publishing your Android app on Amazon means you can reach customers from around the world, including those in countries that were previously inaccessible.

The Amazon Appstore is not just available on Amazon devices; hundreds of thousands of customers have already downloaded the Amazon Appstore for Android. This announcement expands the distribution of Amazon Appstore apps and games on Android devices. And coming this fall, the Amazon Appstore will be preloaded on BlackBerry 10 devices, giving you access to another new global customer segment.

Now Is the Time to Submit Your Apps

Download our Mobile App SDK today to get started developing for Fire OS and Amazon’s entire device family. You can even test your existing Android apps with our App Testing Service to see how they will actually work on Fire tablets and Fire phone. As the Amazon ecosystem grows, so does your potential audience.

-peter (@peterdotgames)

 

September 09, 2014

Paul Cutsinger

AWS re:Invent is sold out!  This is going to be the biggest AWS re:Invent yet. This year’s conference will feature three tracks of content to help mobile app and game developers build apps, engage customers and monetize more effectively. 

Here are 6 reasons you should check out AWS re:Invent 2014:

Launch Your Own Start-up at AWS re:Invent

In 2013, five start-ups launched at re:Invent in a session emceed by Amazon CTO Werner Vogels, and we’re doing it again this year.  If you’re in stealth mode, you can use re:Invent to launch your AWS-powered mobile app or game to the world.  If you’re already launched, you can announce a new major feature on stage with Amazon CTO Wener Vogels.  The application deadline is 5:00pm PST on September 30thapply today.

Deep Technical Content

AWS re:Invent is a learning conference with breakout sessions covering a broad range of topics and technical depth. All sessions will be delivered by subject matter experts, engineers, or expert customers who can share their real world experiences and lessons learned.  Want to get a taste of what to expect?  Check out the 2013 re:Invent recap featuring sessions on mobile game architectures, and coding tips to help you distribute your HTML 5 apps on mobile devices.

Amazon Fire Device Track

Come learn from customers and Amazon experts how to create Fire phone, Fire TV and Kindle Fire apps. We’ll go into depth on how to create applications that react to customer actions with Fire phone’s Dynamic Perspective and Firefly technologies. You’ll also hear how to reach new audiences with Fire TV. Top mobile developers will share their tips on monetizing and you’ll get behind-the-scenes details from the Amazon engineers who build our technologies. You can see a full list of tracks here.

Gaming Track

In this track, you’ll learn how AWS services can enable you to scale your game from 1,000 to 1,000,000 players. We will cover common features such as leaderboards, game analytics, asynchronous gameplay, online multiplayer servers, multi-region deployments, and cloud streaming. Game companies using AWS to power their games will share best practices. Click here to see the full list of tracks.

Mobile & Connected Devices Track

Whether you are a mobile developer, a connected device solution builder, or a business trying to be “Mobile-first”, AWS can help you to build fast and scale more easily. The Mobile & Connnected Devices track will give you a detailed look at services like our cross platform mobile push notification and Amazon Mobile Analytics and improve customer experience across platform. We’ll have examples from companies that have already used AWS to power their mobile apps to share their lessons learned.  Click here to see the full list of tracks.

Hackathon: Help Non-Profits Solve Big Problems

Start your AWS re:Invent experience early.  On Tuesday November 11 from 8:00am until midnight, join developers, AWS engineers and Amazon mobile app experts to hack on big problems in support of a worthy cause.  Bring your team, we’ll provide everything you need to get started. Space is limited – only 200 hackers allowed – so register today to reserve your spot.  We’re doing this 24 hours before the first keynote, so don’t worry – you won’t miss anything!  Click here to learn more.

Sign Up for the Live Stream

Join AWS re:Invent from the comfort of your home or office. We are live streaming our keynotes and selected breakout sessions on November 12 and 13. Watch the keynotes and hear the latest announcements from AWS executives and key customers.

@PaulCutsinger

 

 

 

 

September 08, 2014

Emily Roberts

Today, Amazon announced the availability of Fire phone, Amazon’s first smartphone, in the UK and Germany. Fire phone is currently available in the US and will ship on September 30, 2014 in Germany and the UK. 

Fire is the only smartphone with Dynamic Perspective and Firefly. Dynamic Perspective is an entirely new sensor system that responds to the way a customer holds, views and moves the phone. The Dynamic Perspective SDK gives developers access to algorithms that identify the X, Y and Z coordinates of the head, enabling a whole new class of apps and games. Firefly quickly recognizes things in the real world—web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, movies, music, and millions of products, and lets the user take action in seconds—all with the simple press of the Firefly button. 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 identify. For more information on the Fire phone SDKs, click here.

Getting Started

Optimizing Your Apps

Have an Android app already but not sure where to start with Fire phone?  We offer plenty of tips and tricks to get your app quickly up and running on Fire phone.

A great way to get started is by using the app widget in Fire phone’s enhanced carousel, which enables you to expose content from your app directly on the home screen. Our enhanced carousel is not just limited to launching an app anymore. You can create app widgets that display actionable content below your app’s icon on the carousel. This experience makes your application more visible and accessible to your users. Users can immediately jump to any area within your app that you define or get important information they care about without having to open your app directly. Learn more.

Resources

 

September 03, 2014

Lauren Stark

Today, Amazon announced the availability of Amazon Fire TV in the UK and Germany. Amazon Fire TV is the best-selling streaming box on Amazon in the US since it launched in April, and 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. With this expansion to customers in the UK and Germany, you’ll be able to reach even more customers on Fire TV. 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.

Fire TV is currently available in the US and retails for $99. Fire TV will ship on September 25, 2014 in Germany (€99) and October 23, 2014 in the UK (£79).

Here are some resources that we’ve published to help you get started with Amazon Fire TV.

Getting Started with Fire TV

  • Amazon Fire TV Overview: Put Your Apps and Games on More Screens: A video overview of Amazon Fire TV and the opportunity that it brings for game developers. (May 29, 2014).
  • Tips for Getting Your Android Apps Looking Good on Amazon Fire TV: Looking to get your Amazon App or Game on the new Amazon Fire TV?  We showed you how to get started and covered the top things you will need to know to be successful on TV. This included understanding Amazon Fire TV video outputs, updated Android layouts, TV overscan and colors, navigation, notifications and handling web content (April 17, 2014).
  • ADB Debugging: How to Test Your Android APK on Fire TV. We released a video that walks through ADB debugging on Amazon Fire TV (May 29, 2014).

Game Development for Fire TV

  • Building Responsive Game Design: Making Games That Scale across Desktop, Mobile and TV: We talked about responsive game design and what you can do to have your game run across multiple platforms and form factors like Tablets, Phones and now Amazon Fire TV (April 30, 2014).
  • Building for the next Generation of Gamers with Fire TV: We covered how the Amazon Fire TV now offers you access to an entirely new generation of kids growing up as gamers. While traditional console game development is still out of reach for most, the Fire TV enables developers to target the casual gaming audience right now. It’s also an opportunity to be one of the first TV-based games that kids play (April 22, 2014)
  • 10 Tips for Remote and Controller: We shared 10 Tips for adding remote and game controller support to your Amazon Fire TV games. One of the most exciting prospects of publishing your game on Amazon Fire TV is that you can run Android games directly on the TV. If you are already building games for Android, you can use the same codebase you currently have, and make that game playable on Amazon Fire TV (April 10, 2014).

In addition to the resources I’ve included above, be sure to check out these additional resources:

Purchase an Amazon Fire TV in the US, UK or Germany

Amazon Fire TV SDK Frequently Asked Questions

Amazon Fire TV SDK

Device Specifications

Display and Layout

User Interface

Design and User Experience Guidelines

Android Developer Multiple Screen Guidance

Supporting Different Screen Sizes

Supporting Different Densities

 

August 25, 2014

Mike Hines

Since the launch of Amazon Coins in 2013, customers have already spent hundreds of millions of Amazon Coins, representing real savings for customers and real dollars to developers who still received their full revenue share.

Today, we’re expanding the Amazon Coins program to Japan and Australia.  Now customers in Japan and Australia can use Amazon Coins on apps, games, and in-app items from their Kindle Fire, Android phone or tablet, and on amazon.co.jp and amazon.com.au.  Customers can enjoy apps and games for less by purchasing Amazon Coins, and the more they buy, the greater the discount.

For a limited time, every Kindle Fire owner in Japan and Australia will find 500 Yen/$5.00 AUD worth of free coins deposited into their Amazon Account. And as an additional incentive, customers can also purchase coins in bulk and receive a discount of up to 20% to spend on apps and games in the Amazon Android Appstore (regular discount is 10% off apps and games).

Developers Maintain Their Full Revenue Share

For developers, Amazon Coins gives customers more ways to buy, and more incentives to download and use your apps and games.  While customers can save up to 10% when they pay using Amazon Coins, Amazon Appstore developers continue to earn their standard 70% revenue share.  Customers enjoy real savings, while developers get their full revenue share.

We have already seen developers benefit from customers using their Amazon Coins to buy apps, games and in-app items. For many Indie developers, coins have accounted for the majority of their revenue since the US launch last year. Check out results from Halfbrick, PepiPlay, and textPlus to learn more.

Next Steps

  • To download the Amazon Appstore, click here.
  • To buy Amazon Coins in Australia click here.  In Japan click here.
  • Create a free Amazon Developer Account here
  • Test to see if your Android APK will run on Fire OS devices by going to this page, or by dragging and dropping into our tool on the Dev Portal home page here.

 

Amazonコインのサービスを日本とオーストラリアで開始しました。

Amazonコインは2013年にローンチ以来おかげさまで好評を博しており、お客様はお得な価格でアプリを楽しむことができるようになる一方、開発者の方々にはより一層のマネタイズの機会を提供してきました。

本日、Amazonコインのサービスを日本とオーストラリアで開始いたしました。日本とオーストラリアのお客様はamazon.co.jpamazon.com.auにおいて、Kindle FireタブレットやAndroidスマートフォンやタブレット上でアプリ、ゲーム、アプリ内課金のお支払いにAmazonコインをお使いいただくことでアプリ・ゲームをお得な価格で購入することができます。

サービス開始を記念し、Kindle Fireタブレットシリーズをお持ちのお客様には500円相当のコインがアカウントに無料でプレゼントされます。さらに、期間限定で、Amazonコインのまとめ買いをさらに割引価格で販売しており、Amazonコインを使ったアプリやアプリ内課金アイテムの購入が最大20%お得になります(通常は10%の割引になります)。

 

開発者様の収益配分は変わりません

Amazonコインはお客様にアプリ・ゲームをよりで多くご購入いただけることで開発者様のアプリビジネスを支援します。お客様は最大10%の割引を受けられる一方で、開発者の皆様はお客様がAmazonコインを使ってお買い求めた場合であっても、これまでどおりアプリの70%の収益配分を得ることができます。

米国やヨーロッパにてAmazonコインのサービスを開始した折に同様のプロモーションを実施いたしましたが、開発者の皆様からは好意的なフィードバックをいただいております。特にインディーズの開発者の方々は昨年の米国ローンチでAmazonコインからの大きな収益がありました。HalfbrickPepiPlaytextPlusの事例をご覧ください。

Amazonアンドロイドアプリストアの利用方法

  • Amazonアンドロイドアプリストアの利用方法はこちらをクリック。
  • Amazonコインを日本で購入するにはこちらをクリック。
  • Amazonの開発者登録(無料)はこちらをクリック。
  • お手元のAndroidアプリのAPKファイルがFire OSで動作するかを確認するにはこちら。開発者向けポータルサイトでドラッグ&ドロップをするだけです。

August 20, 2014

Peter Heinrich

GameCircle has provided an Adobe Native Extension (ANE) since its first release, making it possible for mobile developers to create GameCircle-enabled games using Adobe AIR.

That ANE has now been updated to support features and improvements introduced in the latest version of GameCircle, including:

  • Expanded coverage for Android, Kindle Fire, Fire TV and Fire phone devices
  • The latest version of Whispersync for Games
  • Support for UI string localization and other UI improvements
  • Social APIs
  • Analytics on player achievements
  • Consistent Security Profiles and API Keys

Compatible with Flash Professional and Flash Builder 4.7, the GameCircle ANE can be used with the Adobe AIR SDK version 4.0 or higher.

The new GameCircle ANE is bundled in the Amazon Mobile App SDK. For more information, see the GameCircle 2.4 for Adobe Air documentation

How to Upgrade

If you’re updating from the GameCircle ANE version 1.0 to 2.4, here’s a brief step by step. See the full documentation for additional help.  

Step 1: Update the ANE File

Replace your local com.amazon.extensions.GameCircle.ane file with the latest version from the Amazon Mobile App SDK.

Step 2: Set the API Key

When building with the extension and targeting Android, you'll need to include a file named api_key.txt in the assets subfolder of your package. The contents of the file should be your project’s API Key. 

Step 3: Change the Application Descriptor

Make sure that you are using the AIR 3.5 SDK or higher (set this in your application descriptor file, application.xml), include the extension in the app descriptor file, and add your GameCircle-specific data to the <android>/<manifestAdditions> element, as appropriate. For a working example, see example-src/app.xml.

Step 4: Update API Calls

Update your code to reflect these changes in the GameCircle API:

  • The method create() no longer takes any parameters.
  • The method submitAchievement() is now updateAchievementProgress().
  • The method loadScores() no longer takes the parameters startRank and scoreCount.
  • The GameCircleEvent class now has subclasses specific to each API call.
  • The data type of all score-related values has changed from int to number. This includes GameCircleScore scoreValue; SubmitScoreCompleted score, newAllTimeScore, newDailyScore, and newWeeklyScore; GameCirclePercentile score; and LoadLocalPlayerScoreCompleted score.

Step 5: Update Whispersync for Games Event Handling

In version 1 of the AIR extension, when using the Whispersync SharedObject, you handled conflict resolution with the whisperSyncRevert() and whisperSyncSynchronizeProgress() methods. In version 2, progress syncs automatically in the background, and conflict resolution has been simplified. If you‘re working with Whispersync SharedObject, follow the instructions on how to use the SharedObject with Whispersync.

Step 6: Add New API Functionality

The new version includes these new methods:

  • showSignIn() displays the GameCircle sign-in page.
  • loadLocalPlayer() gets the current player’s GameCircle profile.
  • showLeaderboards() displays the GameCircle overlay showing all leaderboards for a game.
  • loadAchievement() gets data for a single achievement.
  • loadPercentiles() gets percentile ranks for a leaderboard.

For More Information

There has been a lot of interest in an ANE supporting all the latest GameCircle features, and this update makes it that much easier to take advantage of them in games you create with Adobe AIR. See the online documentation for more information about the update, or explore the examples included in the Amazon Mobile SDK.

-peter (@peterdotgames)

 

August 14, 2014

Russell Beattie

The Amazon Appstore now provides web app developers with the option to submit self-contained, packaged web apps. Developers only need to wrap the assets for their web app (i.e. HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images etc.) into a standard zip file and Amazon will offer that web app to millions of Kindle Fire and Amazon Appstore customers.

This new service expands on our previous web app solution, which enabled hosted mobile web sites to publish apps to the Amazon Appstore. This works well for thousands of mobile web developers who are already serving content to the web, and we'll be continuing to offer hosted web apps in the future. But for many other developers, hosted apps aren't an ideal solution - they might not have a server, don't want to deal with the extra burden and cost of maintaining a server-side host for their app, or want their app to work seamlessly while offline.

Amazon's packaged web app solution solves this problem by letting web developers bundle all the files needed for their app into a zip file. Similar to other pure HTML5 solutions, web developers can submit apps to the Amazon Appstore without any need to worry about native packaging or distribution. Developers can concentrate on creating cutting edge web apps that take advantage of the advanced capabilities of our Chromium-based Amazon WebView available on our Kindle Fire tablets, or create more cross platform web apps that run on any device where Amazon Appstore is installed.  Web developers can focus on creating great apps, and Amazon takes care of the native app creation and hosting process. 

How to Package Your HTML5 Web App

Creating a new packaged app is as simple as creating any other type of zip file. Make sure the app has an index.html file as its starting page, or indicate the path to the app's main launch page when submitting the app.  To ensure the app works offline, include all those assets as well.

A packaged HTML5 app project looks and works like a normal web project folder on a server. For example:

./project/index.html
./project/js/main.js
./project/js/libs/jquery.min.js
./project/css/main.css
./project/images/logo.png
./project/images/picture.jpg
...
etc.

You can use a GUI application like WinZip, or using zip from the command line. This command for zipping a folder will result in the basic zip file you need:

$ zip -r project.zip ./project
 
adding: project/ (stored 0%)
adding: project/css/ (stored 0%)
adding: project/css/main.css (stored 0%)
adding: project/images/ (stored 0%)
adding: project/images/logo.png (deflated 7%)
adding: project/images/picture.jpg (deflated 1%)
adding: project/index.html (deflated 47%)
adding: project/js/ (stored 0%)
adding: project/js/libs/ (stored 0%)
adding: project/js/libs/jquery.min.js (deflated 65%)
adding: project/js/main.js (deflated 69%)

Testing Your Packaged Web App

The Amazon Web App Tester has been upgraded to handle packaged web apps as well. If you're not familiar with the Web App Tester, check out this blog post, Getting the most out of the Web App Tester, which shows you how to use it to test your web app before submission, including enabling and using the Remote Development Tools and other tips and tricks.

In addition to entering URLs for hosted web apps, developers can now load their zipped web app files on to the device, which will be pulled in by the Web App Tester for viewing/debugging. Using the Android File Transfer tool, copy the zipped web app files you want to test to a folder in the root of the device:

/amazonwebapps

The app package file should then show up in Web App Tester, where you can click Extract and use the app as per normal.  You can also enter a URL pointing to a packaged zip file instead and follow the same steps above.

Submitting your HTML5 Packaged Web App to the Amazon Appstore

Developers need to follow the following simple steps to submit their web apps:

1. Create a Free Amazon Developer account. 

2. Go to the New Web App Submission page and provide details about the packaged web app:

  1. General Information (title, category, support details, privacy URL)
  2. Availability and Pricing  (release date and base list price)
  3. Description
  4. Images and Multimedia (screen shots, icons)
  5. Content rating

3. Choose whether or not to submit a hosted web app or a packaged web app. (In this case, the latter).

4. Upload the web app files (HTML, JavaScript, CSS, content files/resources) as a zip file.

5. Submit!

Final Thoughts

That's it! Creating HTML5 packaged apps for the Amazon Appstore is straight forward, but if you have any problems, be sure to check out the web app support forum, where you can find answers or post questions.

Amazon's packaged web apps are a great step forward for the open web. Creating cross platform apps using HTML5 technologies will enable a whole new class of apps created by a whole new generation of developers. We're excited to launch this new functionality and can't wait to see what developers do.

-Russ

August 13, 2014

Paul Cutsinger

In house testing with side-loaded apps is great for isolating and fixing bugs, but it’s not enough. To be certain that your customers are getting the experience you want them to have, you have to test your app against a production environment. 

We’re excited to announce a new tool for mobile developers called Live App Testing. Live App Testing allows you to quickly distribute your apps in the Amazon Appstore to a pre-defined set of testers before you go live.  The testers will be able to sample the full suite of Amazon services - including in-app purchasing - against our production environment, so you can ensure your app is working as expected.  This allows you to gather feedback, improve quality, increase stability and optimize the experience before you push your app live for all customers to download.

What is it?

Live App Testing allows you to create a version of your app that is only distributed to select testers of your choice. You invite testers by adding their email address to Live App Testing.  Once testers are invited to test, they will receive an email with instructions to download the test app and begin testing against Amazon’s production environment.  Only invited testers will be allowed to download and test your app.  As a part of Live App Testing, you can test your apps on any Android or Amazon Fire device.

What does Live App Testing Include?

  • Test your app against Amazon production environment before distributing to everyone:  You no longer need to wait until after your app is launched to get real world testing.  You can now distribute your app to a set of testers you define, which gives your more control over the test.  And, you can quickly test against a production environment (yours and Amazon’s), ensuring a higher quality app when you release to the general public.
  • Tester Management: Easily define the list of testers you want to be able to test your app.  You don’t need to keep track of who you have invited to test your app.  Amazon takes care of the complexity of ensuring that only the set of testers you defined are the ones that are testing the app.
  • Test on all Android and Amazon devices, including Fire TV and Fire phone:  You can choose to test your app against all Android and Amazon devices, including the Fire TV and Fire phone. 

Step by Step guide

1.  Go to the Amazon Developer Portal and select “My apps”. You’ll need to sign into your developer account. If you don’t have one yet, the sign up is easy and it’s completely free.

2.  Select an existing app or click on “Add a New App”.  If “Add a New App” is selected, go to step 3, otherwise, skip to step 4.

3.  After selecting “Add a New App”, select “Android”.  Click next and fill out the New App Submission information.

4.  Select Live App Testing to begin to setup a test for this app.  Once on this page, click on “start your first test run” to begin the process of setting up your first test.

5.  Fill out all of the required tabs

In this step, you will be adding the metadata and the APK that you want to test.

6.  Once you have filled out each tab, you can either submit your app (without assigning testers) or go to the dashboard and add testers.

If you are not ready to add testers at this time, you can select “Submit” and submit the app for publishing.  This process can take up to a few hours.

If you would like to add testers before submitting your app, select “Go to Dashboard” to add testers following the steps below.

7.  On the dashboard, click on “Add Testers” to add testers to the test.

8.  On the testers page, click on “Add Testers”.

9.  Either upload a list of tester email addresses or add the testers individually.  I recommend you add yourself as a tester so you can get the invitation email which will signify that the binary is available to download and test.

10.  Once you add the testers, select save.

11.  You will notice on the dashboard that you have 1 tester assigned to the test.  At this time, select actions (the sprocket icon) and select submit.

You’re all done.  Testers will receive an email to join your test once the app is live.

Managing Your Test

Once your app is running, you can either end your test, or promote your test to an upcoming version.  By promoting your app to an upcoming version, you can make some finishing touches such as upload final screenshots or metadata before going live.

Tests that you have ended will appear on the Live App Testing Dashboard under the “Past Tests” section.

You can also easily see the crashes that have occurred during this test in the Live App testing Dashboard.

Try Live App Testing Yourself

The new Amazon Live App Testing helps you manage testing to help you publish higher quality apps in the Appstore with fewer errors. Creating a new test is easy through the Amazon Developer Portal, at no cost to you. Click here to get started.

Click here to get a free Amazon developer account.

 

July 31, 2014

Peter Heinrich

Now available in 41 additional international locations, the Amazon Appstore has expanded its global presence to 236 countries and territories. Publishing your Android app on Amazon means you can reach customers from around the world, including those in countries that were previously inaccessible.

Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Oceania

This expansion represents an opportunity for Amazon developers to target new areas in Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, including some of the most populous and connected nations in the world. Singapore, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, and Turkey are just a few examples.

Local Restrictions

All apps will not be approved to be published in all countries, based on local restrictions. As always, you should familiarize yourself with any content guidelines or rules that may be imposed by specific governments in the countries in which you select to distribute your apps.

Impact on Existing Apps

For apps that are already live on the Amazon Appstore (or that you are in the process of submitting), distribution to these new areas will be enabled automatically if:

  • You selected In all countries and regions where Amazon sells apps when asked where you would like the app to be available; and
  • The app complies with the local restrictions described above.

As before, you can also fine tune where your app is distributed in each geographic region by selecting countries and territories individually.

More Countries, More Potential Customers

As the Amazon Appstore expands its presence around the world, your potential customer base expands with it. With the ability to publish your Android apps and games to 236 countries and territories around the world, Amazon helps you reach a truly global audience.

Here are the newly added locations (see Countries & Territories Eligible to Shop for Apps for the complete list of all accessible areas):

Algeria

Djibouti

Kazakhstan

Mauritania

Qatar

Tunisia

Azerbaijan

Egypt

Kuwait

Morocco

Saudi Arabia

Turkey

Bahrain

Eritrea

Kyrgyzstan

Niger

Senegal

Turkmenistan

Bangladesh

Gambia

Lebanon

Nigeria

Sierra Leone

United Arab Emirates

Brunei Darussalam

Guinea

Malaysia

Oman

Singapore

Uzbekistan

Burkina Faso

Indonesia

Maldives

Pakistan

Somalia

Yemen

Chad

Jordan

Mali

Palestinian Territories

Tajikistan

 

-peter (@peterdotgames)

 

July 29, 2014

Rena Watanabe

If you’re attending GDC Europe, be sure to check out the Amazon Developer Day on Tuesday, August 12th from 10am-6:30pm in Rheinssal West, 1st Level. Anyone with an Expo pass can attend, so plan to join the Amazon team to learn how you can build, optimize, and monetize your games for Amazon’s Fire devices and Fire OS, an Android-based platform.

Come learn more about developing for our latest devices, including Fire phone and Fire TV. Fire phone lets you create games that respond to customers in a whole new way with Dynamic Perspective. Fire TV makes it easy for Android game developers to reach a new audience in the living room. We’ll provide details on the SDKs, show you how other developers are using these features and help you get started. You’ll also hear more about the AWS services that will help you evolve your game and Appstore APIs that can help you make more money and engage more customers on our devices.

Technical evangelists from Appstore and AWS will be on hand to answer questions. We’ll also have devices for you to explore and test your games – be one of the first developers in Europe to play with Fire!

Agenda:

10:00-10:45
Reach Cross-Platform with Amazon Appstore for Android
The Amazon Developer day at GDC EU is the place for game developers to learn about building for the Amazon Appstore. Learn about the platform's reach and scale, Amazon's Fire OS, an Android-based platform, and our latest devices and services in Europe.

11:00-12:30
Engage More Customers with Immersive Game Experiences
Fire, the first phone designed and produced by Amazon, enables you to create new experiences that respond to the way the customer holds, views and moves the phone, and helps customers engage more deeply with your gamethrough the enhanced carousel. First, you'll get acquainted with Fire's hardware and the Dynamic Perspective and Firefly SDKs. Then you'll hear from experienced game developers about building innovative new games for Fire.

12:30-13:15
Lunch

13:15-15:15
Increase Your Reach by Engaging Customers in the Living Room
Fire TV can help you increase your customer base by putting your existing game in the living room, in front of people who enjoy entertainment and may not have seen your games before. Learn more about Fire's capabilities and the SDK, hear from game developers about their experience with Fire TV, and learn how to port and optimize your game for the big screen, including how to implement controller support.

15:30-17:30
Architect Your Games for Maximum Profitability, Scale and User Engagement
You'll hear about the AWS services that will help you evolve your game to take advantage of cloud patterns such as in-game asset download, saving games to the cloud, online gameplay / stats, and game analytics. We'll also teach you how to publish HTML5 games to Fire phone, and discuss services that can help you engage more customers and make more money.

17:30-18:30
HAPPY HOUR | Q&A

Register now to attend the Amazon Developer Day at GDC 2014 and come meet the Amazon team.

 

July 25, 2014

Nora Kelly

Fire, Amazon’s first smartphone, is now available at AT&T stores throughout the US and online at www.att.com/firephone or www.amazon.com/firephone.   

Fire is the only smartphone with Dynamic Perspective and Firefly. Dynamic Perspective is an entirely new sensor system that responds to the way a customer holds, views and moves the phone. The Dynamic Perspective SDK gives developers access to algorithms that identify the X, Y and Z coordinates of the head, enabling a whole new class of apps and games. Firefly quickly recognizes things in the real world—web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, movies, music, and millions of products, and lets the user take action in seconds—all with the simple press of the Firefly button. 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 identify. 

If you’re ready to get your app on Fire phone, you can test your app today. For more information on the Fire phone SDKs, click here.

Here is a quick recap of all of the Fire phone posts on the Amazon Apps & Services Blog.

Wednesday, July 16th

Adding Dynamic Perspective to Your Unity Games
We walked through how to quickly add Dynamic Perspective to your existing Unity game.

Thursday July 10th

Top 10 Tips for Optimizing Your Android Apps for Fire Phone
Have an Android app already but not sure where to start with Fire phone?  We offer plenty of tips and tricks to get your app quickly up and running on Fire phone and how take advantage of its new capabilities.

Wednesday, July 9th   

90 Seconds to Find out If Your App Is Ready for the Fire Phone
We covered testing your Fire phone app with our free App Testing Service.

Thursday July 3rd

Extend Amazon Fire’s Home Carousel: Make a Great First Impression
We covered Fire phone’s new enhanced home carousel and how you can expose content from your app directly on the home screen.

Wednesday June 25th

Firefly: Connecting Your Apps to the Physical World
We posted examples of how developers are taking advantage of Fire’s new Firefly capabilities.

Tuesday, June 24th

Limited Time Offer: Earn a Guaranteed $6 CPM on Interstitial Ads from the Amazon Mobile Ad Network
We talked about new Amazon Mobile Ad Network incentives for developers distributing qualified apps on Fire phone.

Monday, June 23rd

Amazon Fire: Design Best Practices for Dynamic Perspective
We covered some of the design principles behind the Fire UX and what you need to know to design the best customer experience possible.

Friday, June 20th

Appstore Developer Select Benefits Expands to Fire Phone: 500K Amazon Coins Offer per Qualifying App
We announced Fire Phone extra benefits for our Appstore Developer Select program.  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 (up to a maximum of 3 awards/developer). 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.

Wednesday, June 18th

Announcing the Amazon Fire Phone: App and Game Experiences Never before Possible
We unveiled Fire, the first phone designed by Amazon.  Fire is the first and only smartphone with Dynamic Perspective and Firefly. With Fire Develop SDKs available now, these new technologies enable you to create more immersive experiences in your apps and games that increase user engagement. Now is the time to submit your apps and games! Apps that are approved by July 18 will be in the Amazon Appstore when Fire ships on July 25th.

 

 

July 22, 2014

David Isbitski

Today, Amazon announced that Amazon Appstore selection has nearly tripled over the past year, and since Fire phone launched, the rate of app submissions to the Amazon Appstore has more than doubled. Read the press release to learn more about innovative new apps and games from developers—including Camouflaj, Craigslist, eBay, Fandango, Fluik, Kik, Magmic, Trove, TV Guide, and WhitePages—all using Fire phone’s unique technical capabilities.

In addition, yesterday, Amazon Game Studios announced two exclusive new games—Saber’s Edge and To-Fu Fury—for Amazon’s new Fire phone. Saber’s Edge and To-Fu Fury are co-developed with partners, Hibernum and HotGen as part of Amazon Game Studios’ mission to build fun, immersive games from the ground up for Amazon devices. These new games were created exclusively for Fire phone and take advantage of Amazon’s groundbreaking Dynamic Perspective.

Ready to get your app on Fire phone? Test your app today.

Here is a quick recap of all of the Fire phone posts on the Amazon Apps & Services Blog.

Wednesday, July 16th

Adding Dynamic Perspective to Your Unity Games
We walked through how to quickly add Dynamic Perspective to your existing Unity game.

Thursday July 10th

Top 10 Tips for Optimizing Your Android Apps for Fire Phone
Have an Android app already but not sure where to start with Fire phone?  We offer plenty of tips and tricks to get your app quickly up and running on Fire phone and how take advantage of its new capabilities.

Wednesday, July 9th   

90 Seconds to Find out If Your App Is Ready for the Fire Phone
We covered testing your Fire phone app with our free App Testing Service.

Thursday July 3rd

Extend Amazon Fire’s Home Carousel: Make a Great First Impression
We covered Fire phone’s new enhanced home carousel and how you can expose content from your app directly on the home screen.

Wednesday June 25th

Firefly: Connecting Your Apps to the Physical World
We posted examples of how developers are taking advantage of Fire’s new Firefly capabilities.

Tuesday, June 24th

Limited Time Offer: Earn a Guaranteed $6 CPM on Interstitial Ads from the Amazon Mobile Ad Network
We talked about new Amazon Mobile Ad Network incentives for developers distributing qualified apps on Fire phone.

Monday, June 23rd

Amazon Fire: Design Best Practices for Dynamic Perspective
We covered some of the design principles behind the Fire UX and what you need to know to design the best customer experience possible.

Friday, June 20th

Appstore Developer Select Benefits Expands to Fire Phone: 500K Amazon Coins Offer per Qualifying App
We announced Fire Phone extra benefits for our Appstore Developer Select program.  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 (up to a maximum of 3 awards/developer). 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.

Wednesday, June 18th

Announcing the Amazon Fire Phone: App and Game Experiences Never before Possible
We unveiled Fire, the first phone designed by Amazon.  Fire is the first and only smartphone with Dynamic Perspective and Firefly. With Fire Develop SDKs available now, these new technologies enable you to create more immersive experiences in your apps and games that increase user engagement. Now is the time to submit your apps and games! Apps that are approved by July 18 will be in the Amazon Appstore when Fire ships on July 25th.

 

 

July 17, 2014

David Isbitski

The Amazon Mobile Ads API lets you place high-quality display ads from the Amazon Mobile Ad Network in your app, helping you better monetize your apps and gain access to highly relevant ads from brand advertisers, including Amazon and its subsidiaries. Starting today, both Interstitial and Banner ads can now be displayed across iOS devices in addition to Android and Fire OS devices.  Beginning on July 25, 2014, ads can also be displayed on the Fire phone.  As a developer, you can now monetize your apps with the Amazon Mobile Ads API across iTunes, Google Play, and the Amazon Appstore while taking advantage of multiple targeting features.

With this release, we are also expanding ad serving to users in Spain and Italy across Android and iOS. Starting today, the Amazon Mobile Ad Network is serving ads to Android and iOS users in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

 “Amazon Mobile Ads API is consistently delivering 20% higher eCPM on both Android and iOS platforms compared to other ad networks. In addition to increased earnings, the high-quality tailored ads provides an engaging experience for our users achieving 25% higher CTR.”*

                                                                            - Tim Oswald, Co-Founder & CEO of Harpan LLC.

* Your results may vary.

Getting Started with the Amazon Mobile Ads API

If you are already using the Amazon Mobile Ads API in your Android apps today you can skip to the Integrating with Your iOS Apps section below.  Otherwise, to get started with the Amazon Mobile Ads API, follow these quick steps:

  1. Sign in or register for a free developer Amazon Apps & Games Developer Portal account. If you do not already have one, you will be prompted to create an account.
  2. Submit your payment and tax information. (Skip this step if you have already submitted this information).**
  3. Get an Application Key by navigating to the Mobile Ads tab under ‘APPS & SERVICES’ and clicking on “Register New iOS App”.
  4. Download and integrate the Amazon Mobile Ads API here.
  5. Submit your app to iTunes.

**If you are performing services for the Amazon Mobile Ad Network outside of the US, please complete the Amazon Services Statement so we report your tax obligations accurately, and do not unnecessarily withhold taxes we are required to collect from developers who perform services in the US. 

Integrating with Your iOS Apps

The Amazon Mobile Ads API for iOS requires iOS 6.0 or later and assumes you have Xcode 5.1.1 installed. After completing the Getting Started steps above, you can integrate iOS support in three steps.

1.       Reference the AmazonAd.framework in your existing XCode Project

2.       Set up your provided Application Key by calling into the AmazonAdRegistration setAppKey class method. You must set your app’s Application Key in order to receive ads. This allows Amazon to track your impressions and clicks, and associate them with your account. Here is an example of calling setAppKey:

3.       Load an ad Using AmazonAdView. You can also set a number of optional parameters, including whether this is a test request. Test requests always return an ad and don’t count as part of your metrics. Here is an example of a loadAd call:

For more detailed information on integrating iOS support, check out our iOS Quick Start Guide here.

Note - During integration and testing of the Amazon Mobile Ads API, you should set the testRequest option to true. This indicates that the request is for testing. Here is an example:

Test requests will not show up in your metrics. Test traffic that doesn’t include this flag could result in blocked requests, fraud investigation, and potential account termination.

Ad Size and Targeting Options for iOS

The Amazon Mobile Ad Network supports Interstitial Ads as well as banner ad sizes of 300x50, 320x50, and 300x250 for phones and 300x250, 728x90, and 1024x50 for tablets. Your app should request a device-appropriate size. Please see the following chart for recommended sizes by device:

For additional information on Ad Sizes in iOS, click here.  For more information on Interstitial ads click here.

Just like Android and Fire OS, there are a number of targeting options you can include in the requests you send to the Amazon Mobile Ad Network. In addition to ad unit size above, you can specify geolocation (US only), age and gender. For more information on ad targeting in iOS, check out our guide here.

Increased Reach & Monetization Opportunities

The Amazon Mobile Ad Network allows you to participate in highly targeted campaigns with premium advertisers. The Amazon Mobile Ads API can serve both banner and interstitial ads across Amazon Appstore, iTunes and Google Play. For a limited time, when you send the first ad request from a qualified app, you will receive a guaranteed $6 CPM on interstitial ads (up to a maximum of 1 million impressions per app per month). Qualifying apps now include iOS apps. Please find more details here. The opportunities to monetize your apps have never been better!

To learn more about the Amazon Mobile Ads API, check out our developer portal here, the Quick Start Guide for iOS, as well as our blog with tips on ad mediation and tracking ad events inside your apps.

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

July 08, 2014

Peter Heinrich

In-App Purchasing (IAP) is gaining in popularity with developers as it continues to be a reliable revenue generator for mobile apps and games. It is the basis of Free-to-Play, eliminating up-front costs but allowing customers to purchase upgrades and add-ons they find valuable. The Amazon Appstore platform is designed to manage these transactions, and we have enhanced our In-App purchasing API to make it easier for you to manage the purchases your customers make.

Improved Customer Experience

With this update, the In-App Purchasing API improves the receipt process to provide better visibility into the fulfillment status of your customers’ in-app purchases.

The updated API replaces PurchaseToken with a unique receipt identifier called ReceiptId. The ReceiptId value allows you to:

  • Determine fulfillment status and reconcile transaction records with your Amazon earnings report.
  • Identify duplicate transactions to prevent over-fulfillment of digital content.
  • Receive notification of transactions that cancel orders.

Getting Started

The updated API is backward-compatible, which means that your existing applications will continue to work without modification. We recommend that you migrate to the latest version, though, so that you can benefit from these improvements.

  • If you are adding in-app purchasing to your app for the first time, simply build your project with the Amazon Mobile App SDK, which includes the latest version of the In-App Purchasing API.
  • If your app already uses an older version of the API but you’re not ready to migrate from PurchaseToken to ReceiptId, you can still update to the latest version. Your app will work without modification, so you can prepare for the switch and follow through with the actual migration when you’re ready.
  • If you are ready to use ReceiptId now, simply follow the migration guide available on our Developer Portal.

Additional Resources

For more details on in-app purchasing and how to implement it in your mobile projects, check out our Developer Portal and blog. Dive deep on the new API, or explore related topics such as increasing conversion, digital item sales in desktop and web-based applications, and managing promotions and discounts.

 

July 01, 2014

Peter Heinrich

Starting today, there will be a single, centralized place where customers can easily find discounted apps on the Amazon Appstore, called Deal Center. Deal Center makes it easy for customers to discover deals set up through the Developer Promotions Console, as well as promotions offered through Amazon’s Appstore Developer Select and Free App of the Day programs.

Reach New Customers with Deal Center

Deal Center is a special section of the Appstore on Kindle Fire HDX and HD devices dedicated to promotions and discounts. It is designed to help developers acquire new customers. Deal Center is implemented as a collection of widgets, each of which displays a different type of deal or product. Customers can see several offers at a glance and follow links to browse all discounts that are available.

Discounts that were previously visible only from the detail page associated with your app are now easier to find, and feature individual Buy buttons to simplify purchase. Customers can install apps right from Deal Center without having to navigate to the detail page for each app.

Deal Center is the home for all promotions across the Appstore, so apps that feature Amazon Coins back offers as part of the Appstore Developer Select (ADS) program are prominently visible. The Free App of the Day will also have a new home on Deal Center.

 

How Do I Participate?

You don’t have to do anything special to benefit from Deal Center’s high visibility and eye-catching placement of deals and discounts. Discounts set up through Developer Promotions Console will be featured on Deal Center without any additional steps required. If you are an ADS developer, Coins back offers on your apps will be featured on Deal Center in addition to being featured on the Appstore on Kindle Fire.

For more information about setting up price adjustments and promotions, see Easily Manage Pricing & Discounts: Developer Promotion Console.

-peter (@peterdotgames)

 

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