Developer Console
Amazon Developer Blogs

Amazon Developer Blogs

Showing posts tagged with Amazon Appstore for Android

July 15, 2011

johnjord

Distinct dev image Recently, we announced a new improvement to the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal:  User Permissions (Developer Portal User Permissions).  This feature allows your organization to assign roles for different responsibilities on your team.  One organization that has fully embraced this tool expansion is game developer DistinctDev, Inc.

DistinctDev, Inc., is a small and energetic development house creating highly-addictive casual game titles – most notably, The Moron Test. 


Recently, DistinctDev Co-Founder and CTO, Steven Malagon, and his brother, Berkeley MalaThe Moron Test smallergon – also the President and CEO – took advantage of structuring their organization using the new permissions.  The only rivalry that existed between these two siblings was one that revolved around Developer Portal access: Berkeley, a self-described “data junkie,” was completely reliant on his brother Steven to “get signed in using his personal Amazon account.”  Without global visibility to all the great functionality of the Developer Portal, it became Steven’s role to debrief the team.  Needless to say, the entire team was very excited to receive the announcement for User Permissions.

Steven said, “The setup was super easy, and it literally took me seconds to enter email addresses and send out the invites for assigned roles.” Berkeley Malagon sees this as “a scalable solution as we move forward and grow as a company…adding new users and assigning access.”

The team at DistinctDev also sees the new User Permissions functionality as a great sign for things to come with the Amazon Appstore.  “The improvements really make it even simpler, organizationally, to upload new titles, and it makes us feel like our feedback is really taken seriously,” stated Berkeley.

This is all good news for Amazon customers as well, who have taken a liking to great quality games, like The Moron Test.  The DistinctDev team cannot wait to see what new enhancements are to come and encourage everyone participating in the Amazon Appstore to take advantage of setting up their permissions.  Berkeley said it best, “User Permissions is spot-on.”

June 29, 2011

alanaamazon

Note: Effective 08-26-2015 Free App of the Day (FAD) has been replaced with Amazon Underground.

One of the most high-profile features of the Amazon Appstore for Android is the free paid app of the day, or FAD. The primary benefit to you of having your app selected for a FAD spot is increased visibility. First off, there’s the 24 hours of visibility both on mobile and online. Each FAD promotion is complemented by a Facebook post and Twitter tweet the same day. After your app’s time in the FAD spotlight is over, it benefits from being included in the “Most Recent Free Apps of the Day” shoveler on the Amazon Appstore for Android homepage.

Fad 02
 

In addition to this direct visibility, your app will continue to get post-FAD exposure throughout the store. Because of the increase in app downloads typically associated with FAD, you app is more likely to show up on the product detail pages of other apps in the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” feature. The recommendations engine is one of Amazon’s strongest shopping features, helping connect customers with the right items across multiple categories. FAD apps also tend to register higher in Amazon Appstore for Android Bestsellers lists.

Fad 03
 

Apps that can be launched on Android exclusively at the Amazon Appstore for Android or that offer something extra to Amazon customers that they can’t get anywhere else make for particularly intriguing FADs.  Developers with strong brands and a solid portfolio are eligible for multiple FAD inclusions.  For some high-profile apps and games, we may send an e-mail to our customer base.

If you’re interested in recommending your app for FAD promotion, there are a few things to remember:

1.       Only the most recent version of an app will be considered, and your app should appeal to a wide audience.

2.       To maintain a positive customer download experience for non-wifi apps, only apps of 20MB or less will be considered, and no “stub” apps that require additional content download will be considered.

3.       We want to make sure customers know which devices the app will work on, so the app must pass Amazon’s internal testing.

If you’re interested in recommending your regularly paid app for FAD promotion, please completely fill out the Marketing Proposal Form. Pay particular attention to the Proposal Description field, sharing any additional details you believe would help elevate your app in the selection process. In addition, let us know:

1.       How many downloads your app has to date.

2.       The list price of your app.

3.       Any reciprocal marketing (social media, blogs, Amazon Appstore badging, etc.) you are able to offer.

4.       That you understand the requirements for approval.

Our FAD calendar fills up quickly, so be sure to submit your proposal early. Letting us know about an app launch weeks or even months in the future will help us plan accordingly.

If your app is a contender, someone will contact you to offer more details about FAD inclusion and what to expect as your app goes through the approval process. You will only be contacted if your marketing request is under consideration. Please enter a specific marketing request only once.

Free app of the day – it’s more than just a passing FAD.

June 22, 2011

amberta

Since we launched, we’ve been seeing an influx of developers submitting their app(s) to the Amazon Appstore for Android – which is great!  After apps are submitted, before they can be published in the store, we run the app through technical and content-focused testing.  The vast majority of apps pass testing quickly and with no issues…to maximize the chances that your app will similarly move through our validation process quickly, we will be posting some best practices for helping your app fly through testing. 

 Let’s take a quick look at the most frequent reasons why apps don’t make it through:

  1. Functionality - The app contains general usability issues that make it difficult to use or prohibits the intended functionality
  2. Interrupts - The app has difficulty handling interruptions, like an incoming phone call, changing the orientation, or random input 
  3. Incorrect Linking - The app links to a store other than the Amazon Appstore for Android
  4. Stability - The app has a memory leak, pegs the CPU, or otherwise Force Closes with frequency
  5. Security - The app requires access to sensitive information, or takes too many liberties with the requested permission set
  6. GUI Issues - The app has a less than ideal user experience; perhaps it does not properly scale to different resolutions or other UI elements do not display properly when interacted with

Because many developers have their Android apps published in other stores and are simply re-using their existing apk, incorrect linking can be an area of confusion.  Apps submitted to the Amazon Appstore must have links pointing to the Amazon Appstore (vs. other Android storefronts).  To help your app(s) fly through testing, incorrect linking is an area you can validate and fix quickly before submitting.

Now, how do you ensure your links point to the Amazon Appstore?  Easy, just follow these simple rules:

  • Identify any intents that open an application’s details page in another app store, such as the following snipper that opens a page in the Android Market

Step1

  • Then simply change the URI as specified in the intent.setData call to point to the Amazon Appstore.  Note, this format is useful if you are not sure the user has the Amazon Appstore installed on their device

Step2

  • Alternatively, you can use the Amazon Appstore intent and link that way.  This is a more convenient format for developers.

Step3

Doing a quick check through your code before you submit your app will ensure you don’t get delayed.  In addition, there are a number of ways you can replace the actual String in the URI call so that you can keep one code base and not have to maintain separate code structures for each store you choose to sell your app in.

We hope you keep the scenarios above in mind as you code, and look forward to even more great apps being submitted.

June 01, 2011

amberta

Kevin Barry, the developer behind WidgetLocker, was one of the early developers to submit his apps to the Amazon Appstore for Android – and we’re glad he did! 

WidgetLocker is an app that lets customers customize their lock screen. Users can select from various slider styles or place their own custom sliders and widgets. They can also configure which buttons, such as volume or trackball, are active when the phone is on but locked.

Kevin first heard about the Amazon Appstore in the Android rumor mill. Right around the time he picked up on the buzz, he received an e-mail from us asking him if he’d like to submit his app to our new store. “After I first started engaging with the Amazon Appstore team, I was already impressed,” Kevin said. “They were, and are, always responsive and were able to help me with technical questions. In the Android Market I need to rely solely on the forums for help.”

We decided to run a promotion with WidgetLocker. Here’s what we looked at before selecting this app for a promotion:

  • Was the category popular with our customers? WidgetLocker is in Utilities, which has been a very active category since launch.
  • Did we like the app? While we test every app included in the store, there are some that our team of merchandisers use regularly and like. This was one of them.
  • Did the app already have a few reviews? We can make assumptions about what our customers may or may not like based on overarching behavior in the store, but there’s nothing like hearing directly from customers and what they do or don’t like.

WidgetLocker is also “Test Drive” enabled. This is by no means a requirement for apps we select for promotions, but it is compelling for customers.

Widget-locker
 

Although WidgetLocker doesn’t come with a hefty price tag, it is a paid app. We decided to mark the app down for a limited period of time to entice customers to act NOW. We marked WidgetLocker from $1.99 down to $0.99.  When we do markdowns, it’s not because we want to slash prices – we want to drive behavior. In this instance, we wanted to drive downloads of the app.

After the promotion wrapped, Kevin told us, “To be honest, I didn’t think marking the app down would make a big impact. I’m happy to say I was wrong. The discount seemed to drive a lot of sales. I think if I had just lowered the price to $0.99, it wouldn’t have made the same impact – it was the perception of a sale combined with the marketing around the sale.”

On top of marking down the price, we sent an e-mail about WidgetLocker, along with a selection of other app deals, to a targeted list of customers who had already expressed interest in receiving information regarding Utilities and Productivity apps.

Widgetlocker-email
 
The results were great – during the promotion, WidgetLocker’s sales spiked and they climbed the ranks:

Charts
 

**the app was also #1 overall during the promotion.

On an ongoing basis, we’re monitoring customer activity to merchandise the site and select deals and promotions. Our goal is to keep our customers happy and coming back and to keep our developers happy by getting exposure for their apps as well as driving revenue.

May 31, 2011

amberta

Following on the heels of our Android exclusive launch of Chuzzle, today we released Plants vs. Zombies for Android which, for the next couple weeks, Android users can only get in the Amazon Appstore for Android.

Square-banner

If you’re not familiar with Plants vs. Zombies, it’s one of game developer PopCap’s most popular titles.  A mob of fun-loving zombies invades players’ homes and the only defense is an arsenal of  zombie-zapping plants.

In a blog post about “Marketing apps on Amazon.com,” we talked about how we occasionally market apps from our store in other Amazon storefronts, and gave TurboTax as an example.  In addition to featuring apps for Android in other storefronts and, of course, automated marketing, we have a few marketing levers that help apps get discovered.  The big daddy of them all is something we call a “Brand Store.”

Popcap-store

Brand Stores are a collection of products by a given brand used across categories at Amazon.com.  Because PopCap sells apps for Android, video games, and now digital video games on Amazon.com, we worked with them to create a destination to show all of their goods in one place thus making it easier for PopCap fans to find all of PopCap’s gems (and Chuzzles, and Zombies, and …) in one place.

Brand Stores are appropriate for bigger vendors.  That said, we are constantly working to showcase lesser known vendors and their apps on the Amazon Appstore and other Amazon.com destinations.  We are doing this through promotions, targeted emails, promotions on related items’ pages, and more.  We are dedicated to helping expose small developers' apps. 

So why do we keep banging the drum with these big vendors and better known apps?  It’s simple – we think that by giving our customers exclusive content, great deals, and the brands they know and love, we’ll be able to drive more traffic to the Amazon Appstore and inherently to every app in the Amazon Appstore.

May 17, 2011

amberta

How to update your app:
To update details about your app (including images, videos, app descriptions, etc.):

  1. Go to “My Apps” (do not click on “Add New App”) and click “Edit App Details” button for your Live, Pending Action, Incomplete, or Ready to Submit app
  2. You can make changes and save them in each section
  3. You must click “Submit App” when finished – this will allow Amazon to validate and publish your  changes live on the website


To update your APK:

  1. Click “Create new version” near your Live, Approved, or Rejected app
  2. You can upload a new binary on the next screen
  3. Put release notes in the “Upload Binary” section after you upload your APK
  4. Click “Submit App” to notify Amazon about your new version of the app

May 13, 2011

amberta

Angry-birds-rio-icon If you’ve seen or heard of the movie Rio, you may have seen that Blu isn’t in his cage anymore – no mirror, no little bell.  He’s ready to hit the beach.  And with Blu gaining his freedom, Rovio has released an updated Android version of Angry Birds Rio exclusively in the Amazon Appstore for Android with 30 new levels and, you guessed it, Blu is a playable character filled with feathered fury. 

Angry-birds-rio-blu

What does this mean for you?
The more customers we engage, the more opportunities we have to monetize your apps.  When we launched, we had the Android version of Angry Birds Rio exclusively in the Amazon Appstore.  As part of our launch marketing we advertised the Amazon Appstore and leveraged an Android exclusive of Angry Birds Rio as a hook across Amazon.com online, in mobile advertising, in social outlets, and more.  The results have been tremendous.
 
There will also be another marketing campaign surrounding the update of Angry Birds Rio exclusive on the Amazon Appstore.  Angry Birds Rio has a large and loyal fanbase, many of whom will come to the Amazon Appstore get the update and ultimately purchase other apps. 

When to consider updates:
There are many things to take into consideration when updating your app.  Here are some high level things to consider:

  • Does the customer want the update?  Customer forums can really help you here – check out what customers are saying and if there are themes (e.g. technical problems or content requests / suggestions) you should consider them.
  • Will the update improve the usability of the app?  This goes to the technical point above.
  • Is the update timely?  Angry Birds Seasons did a great job here.  Outside of holidays, other things to consider in timing are seasons – an update to a music app with built in holiday tunes could be cool in December, for example.

March 23, 2011

amberta

We are excited to announce the US launch of the Amazon Appstore for Android. If you’ve already submitted your app(s) – thank you! We couldn’t have launched this store without your support. From Games to Utilities, we have apps to suit our customers’ many Android app wants and needs. 


Appstore-homepage
 
Over the past few months we have been sharing quite a bit of information about what you as a developer can utilize in the Developer Portal and in the Amazon Appstore itself. As you can see, we built the store to make it easy to find, discover and buy Android apps. We believe a more compelling customer experience will in turn result in better monetization.


Amazon Appstore highlights:

In true Amazon fashion, we’re making discoverability easier, which gets your apps in front of more customers. Specifically, we are offering a few unique features such as recommendations based on customers’ browse and purchase history. This is one of the automated marketing features we discussed previously.  Automated marketing includes placements in search results, browse based results, bestsellers, and more. We will also be doing ongoing promotional activity designed to attract new and repeat customers to the Amazon Appstore like the paid app for free promotion on the homepage. We have been working with many of you to line up quality apps for these programs, and we look forward to continuing to work with you to promote your titles.


Reporting in the Developer Portal:


Now that we’re live, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with Amazon Appstore reporting. You can find reporting once you log into your account in the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal. To view your reporting, log into the Developer Portal and click on the “Reports” tab.  You will see a page that looks like this:

Dev-portal-reporting

 
You should also submit any new apps or app updates. We encourage you to take advantage of the launch momentum to get your app(s) in front of customers as soon as possible.

January 06, 2011

amberta

You’ve taken the first step in submitting an app to the Amazon Appstore – you’ve created a compelling app or game for Android!  Either that or you’re reading this post to learn more about what’s to come in the store itself – we understand, it’s exciting.  Regardless – if you’re an app developer or you’re just plain old curious, we’ll bottom line the submission process for you.  It’s straight forward – you did the hard work and we want to make submitting to the store easy.

There are three steps to getting your app into the Amazon Appstore for Android: create an account, submit your app, and make your app available.

The first step is creating an account.  This is the easy part – you can create an account directly on the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal For a limited time, we’re waiving the $99 program fee to make getting started even easier (or at least cheaper … free) . It’s free to register for a developer account. Go to the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal to create your account. 

You’ll be asked for the following information:

  • Profile Information: this is the information we’ll associate with your account and use to talk about you, the developer; in the Profile Information section is a “Developer Info” field – this is public facing and should be a short blurb about who you are
  • Acceptance of our agreement (you can also print and save the agreement from the Portal)
  • Payment Information: this is what we need to be able to pay you based on app sales

After setting up your account, you’ll need to submit your apk file as well as marketing materials that complement your app.  Marketing materials include details about your app, images, and video.

We will ask for the following details about your app:

  • Application Information: The application title, category, and description will help with the marketing of your app and may show up on product detail pages.  If there are keywords you think will help with the discoverability of your app, include them!  Do make sure the keywords are relevant, though (don’t put multi-player if it’s truly a single player app).
  • Product Availability Schedule: This information lets us know the earliest we can display an application in the store as well as when/if we need to pull the application down. 
  • Application Support: The contact that Amazon should work with to troubleshoot any problems with the application.  This information will not be listed with your app.
  • Content Maturity: When you post your app, you will select different content ratings as applicable.  We’ll also check these when we’re testing the app.  Some developers have ESRB ratings for their app – if you have one, include it!  That too will help with the marketing of your app.

You can find out more about what’s specifically required for images and video online here.   It’s important that the images and video you submit are yours (you have the rights to use these images and video) and that they’re reflective of the app itself.  An image with some upset birds for a finance app that helps with taxes wouldn’t do anyone any good.

That’s it – after you open up your account and submit your assets you’re app and details will be in review.  You can track the approval status of your app at any time by logging into the Developer Portal and finding your app in the “Dashboard” on the portal home page.