The thing I’ve enjoyed most in the past year is connecting with so many amazing app devs. We’ve talked in person and on this blog about monetization, opportunities on FireTV, Fire Tablets, Fire phone and some cool new features. But, one line of questions consistently tops the list…
“How hard is it to get into the Amazon Appstore?”
While it’s easy to respond with “It’s easy, in fact most apps just work — it’s Android”, it’s always more fun and informative to say “Let’s try it right now!” Frankly, it’s the only way for an app developer to really know. As a dev myself, I’ve heard “it’s easy” a million times when it’s really a more complicated answer and depends on my specific situation. So, maybe a better question would be “What’s the minimum amount of work that I need to do to understand the true cost of publishing my app to Amazon." (hint: it’s easy!)
With that in mind, I’d like to highlight a set of blog posts that help you answer that question by giving you specific answers for your specific app in minutes.
All you need is your APK. Drag and drop it into the tool’s website. We’ll run a test pass and in minutes you’ll get a report including specific action items (if any), links to the documentation you need for each action item and screenshots of your app on device.
I’ve sideload apps with many developers and each time it’s really cool to see them light up when their app fires up. There’s a whole new set of Amazon Appstore customers available and it’s so close. Here’s how you can enable ADB and sideload on each of the Amazon devices and see your app running for yourself.
Happy New Year!
Paul Cutsinger (@PaulCutsinger)
Recorded live at AWS re:Invent 2014 this free video will introduce you to Fire the first phone designed by Amazon. You will learn about the new customer experiences it enables and how top developers have updated their Android apps to take advantage of Fire phone. Learn about the hardware, the services, and the development SDK including Enhanced Carousel, Firefly and Dynamic Perspective, Appstore Developer Select, submitting to the Amazon Appstore, and Best Practices for developing great Fire apps.
Create immersive apps that respond to the way a customer holds, views and moves the phone. We have updated Appstore Developer Select, Amazon Mobile Ads API, and Amazon Testing Services with more incentives:
For more information about getting started with Fire phone, check out the following additional resources:
On September 3rd, we announced the availability of Fire TV to customers in the UK and Germany, and this week we released Fire phone to customers in both countries. German developer HandyGames launched titles on both Fire phone and Fire TV when these devices were announced in the US and have leveraged the new technological features to create engaging user experiences.
Recently, we had the chance to sit down with Chris Kassulke, CEO and co-founder of HandyGames, and our interview was the perfect opportunity to learn insights and tips for new developers that want to explore opportunities on Amazon devices.
HandyGames is a developer and publisher of mobile games based in Giebelstadt, Germany. Founded in 2000, HandyGames has released more than 150 games on a multitude of mobile platforms, utilizing a wide range of technologies. With a strong focus on researching and developing new technologies as a way to be part of the next evolution in gaming, they develop games on Android, iOS, Windows Phone smartphones, Windows 8, OUYA, Tizen, wearables and tablet computers.
When Chris and his team got a first glimpse of Fire phone, they were wowed. Immediately, they started brainstorming for game ideas that use the new technologies to its fullest. Fascinated by the head-tracking feature, Dynamic Perspective, Chris and his team tested its effectiveness and started building a game around it that creates an optimized device experience to delight customers.
“The head-tracking feature was really unique and we wanted our game to provide some kind of unique gaming experience that you won’t get with any other phone out there.”
The result was Stage Dive Legends, a brand new game that launched as a 2-week exclusive Fire phone game before being released on Kindle Fire HDX devices or any other Android platforms.
“Stage Dive Legends is one of the first games that you can navigate completely without touching the phone itself. That’s so unique, it’s something completely unreal.”
For HandyGames, it is paramount to really explore new technology like Dynamic Perspective. According to Chris, it is up to the developers, not the distribution platforms, to advance and evolve the field of gaming. At the end of the day, if developers do not take advantage of the technology available to them, customers will not be able to experience it. Chris goes on to explain that it is HandyGames’ mission to explore the possibilities offered by distribution platforms and device manufacturers, and use it in a way that delights and surprised the end-user.
“You need to understand the platform. The users are expecting something new. They will be asking ‘Where’s the added value for me?’ And that’s what we do.”
With Dynamic Perspective, the user experience changes because people will not only be playing the game, they will be showing it to their friends. Due to the innovative technology, users will go back to a game to show off its capacities, where they would have otherwise moved on to a new game. Thus, novel technology can help sell the game through word-of-mouth marketing as well as keeping customers coming back to the game more often.
In addition to launching on Fire phone, HandyGames quickly jumped onboard to launch games on Fire TV with titles like Ninja Hero Cats, Farm Invasion USA and Save the Puppies.
Constantly seeking innovative ways to reach customers in the most effective way, HandyGames are moving away from a tablet/smartphone-only strategy, and seek to take advantage of the big screen experience.
“For us it was really important to be on Fire TV, because of our beyond-mobile strategy”.
As Chris explained, this strategy entails that the end-consumer should have access to their games, whether they are on the go or at home in the living room, and is the reason why HandyGames optimized all of their games for Fire TV. Chris adds that this makes a lot of sense for HandyGames, since their games are perfectly designed for the big screen with large graphics, and because they are easy to play with the game controller.
“As a next step, we will be optimizing all our future games for Fire TV, so the end-consumer can look forward to lots of exciting new content from us.”
It’s free to register for an Amazon Appstore developer account and to download and use the SDKs for Fire TV and Fire phone. Fire TV has the power to make your Android games shine on the big (home) screen; take advantage of the opportunity to publish them directly to the living room. Check out our online documentation and blog posts about developing for Fire TV. Fire phone allows you to extend your Android app beyond today’s flat user interfaces. Fire apps can take advantage of the new Dynamic Perspective and Firefly SDKs - two new breakthrough technologies that allow customers to see and interact with the world through a whole new lens. If you have existing Android or HTML5 apps, you can easily and quickly get your app up on Fire phone. Most Android phone apps will already work on Fire. To determine your app’s compatibility, simply submit your app using our updated testing service and get compatibility test results within 90 seconds.
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.
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 30th – apply today.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you haven’t noticed, we are doing a lot to make the Amazon Appstore the ideal place to publish games. With a wide range of form factors covering tablet, phone, TV and dedicated game services, we want our platform to be the next stop for your title.
If you have been thinking about expanding your game’s user base, there has never been a better time to publish on the Amazon Appstore.
Our platform is the perfect fit for any developer publishing Android games. We’ve found that most Android apps we tested just work on Fire mobile devices. Chances are good that you will not have to change a single line of code to get your game running on our devices. We also support all the major game frameworks such as Unity, GameMaker, Unreal, Corona and Air. In addition, we even offer tools to help you publish HTML5 games just like native ones. Basically, if your IDE outputs an APK we can run it! So if you are developing for Android and looking for a new opportunity to expand your audience on mobile, tablet and TV you should check out our device lineup.
For the first time in Amazon’s history, we have a complete device ecosystem for publishing your game. Our devices are powered by Fire OS, a custom build of Android optimized to run exclusively on our hardware.
Got a mobile game? Try out our Fire Phone which features top end specs, dedicated GPU, 2gb of ram and unique features such as Dynamic Perspective and Firefly.
Building for tablet? We have several tablets, including two high-end versions called the Kindle Fire HDX, which come in both 8.9" and 7” sizes. Each tablet has blazing fast processes as well and high-resolution HD displays. Our Kindle Fire HD lineup also has great performance at a more affordable price point for customers.
Want to build your games for the big screen? Target Fire TV, which allows you to take Android games and publish them for the 10-foot living room experience.
Each of these devices has you covered no matter where you are coming from. In addition to the hardware, we do even more to create one cohesive developer experience with our gaming services.
We have services designed exclusively for game developers such as GameCircle. It’s integrated into the Fire OS and offers leader boards, achievements as well as cloud syncing of game data across devices. With cloud syncing we make it easy to not only backup your player’s game data but make it available on all of our platforms to better leverage Amazon customers with multiple Fire OS devices.
Anyone who owns a Fire OS enabled device has access to his or her own gamer profile. It moves with them across different Fire OS enabled device. This allows them to maintain their player stats and achievements no matter how they want to play. If your current game has leader boards, achievements and cloud syncing it shouldn’t take long to migrate over to our APIs. We even support Unity and other 3rd party game frameworks.
In addition to GameCircle, we also offer more APIs critical for building a successful game such as:
The Amazon Appstore is the main vehicle for you to distribute your game on our platforms as well on other Android devices. While the Amazon Appstore comes built into every Fire OS powered device, Android users can also download the store to access our library of apps and games. The Amazon Appstore offers customers a way to buy a single game across our devices or you can configure different APKs per devices via our multiple binary uploader. You have full control over how your game shows up on the store. If you are already building for Android, why not grow your reach with Amazon customers?
It’s completely free to publish your games to the Amazon Appstore. To become a developer, simply sign up at the top of the developer portal and create your own account. Once you submit your app, it goes through an approval process. This ensures that it works correctly on our devices before going into the store. Once in the store, you’ll have access to millions of Amazon customers looking for great games.
- Jesse Freeman (@jessefreeman) is a Developer Evangelist at Amazon focusing on HTML5 and Games for the Amazon Appstore.