G5 Entertainment participated in Amazon Appstore for Android’s in-app purchasing (IAP) beta program because they had successfully launched over 100 games with in-app purchasing on other devices. Larissa McCleary, Director of Marketing at G5 Entertainment writes, “We found that by offering a product with IAP, rather than a traditional "lite" or "full" set of offerings, our conversion rates went up as did our revenue on a per title basis. Although our experience on Amazon has always been great, we are thrilled now that IAP is available. This will allow us to continue our business model, but also to allow other developers to partake as well. Eventually, if more and more developers participate, we think we will experience even higher conversion rates, since players will be more familiar with what IAP is and how it functions, making the play experience even more engaging.”
G5 Entertainment takes the approach that if the game is interesting, customers will be more engaged. The maker of popular games such as Virtual City Playground and Mahjong Artifacts, McCleary tells us, “Our basic strategy has been to make the games as fun as possible. We are working hard to optimize and improve our features on an on-going basis.” How do they decide what will be fun for players? Playing the games themselves, focus testing, and team brainstorms have all led to added content. However, McCleary notes, “In the end we decided that we should let players decide what they want, by giving them as many in-app options as possible.”
The G5 team reported that overall, the integration was quick and simple. McCleary says, “The code was ready in one day, and metadata was entered quickly too.” Comparing their experience to past integrations, the Amazon Appstore compared favorably. “It’s definitely easier to integrate the Amazon IAP APIs than other IAP solutions we have implemented,” notes McCleary.
During the beta program, G5 found their main hiccup in the testing process. G5’s QA team provided feedback that helped the Amazon Appstore improve the testing process by introducing the SDK Tester. The SDK Tester allows a developer to validate common path and edge case scenarios in their app, all without uploading or configuring anything in the Amazon Developer Portal. This approach reduces the friction a developer faces when testing their apps, and allows for rapid testing across any device that supports the Amazon Appstore. Still, the IAP API was well worth integrating for G5, and the G5 team recommends “reading the documents available on Amazon’s Developer Portal and keeping your code simple.”
About G5 Entertainment AB
G5 Entertainment AB is a developer and publisher of high quality downloadable games. G5 started as the leading mobile game development studio working for Electronic Arts and Disney. In 2009 G5 changed the business model to become a publisher of original games developed by G5 and over 30 partner studios in Eastern and Western Europe and the U.S. G5 owns a number of successful game franchises, including Virtual City Playground and Mahjongg Artifacts.
Announcing the availability of our Amazon Appstore for Android SDK and In-App Purchasing API to our developer community. The In-App Purchasing API enables you to offer digital content and subscriptions--such as in-game currency, expansion packs, upgrades, and magazine issues--for purchase within apps.
We created the In-App Purchasing API to make it easy for you to increase customer engagement and monetize your apps on Kindle Fire and other Android devices. With the Amazon Appstore for Android In-App Purchasing solution, you can reach customers with existing accounts who have already bought apps, including millions of Kindle Fire customers. Our simple, secure, and trusted 1-Click purchase experience is easy for customers to use, increasing conversion rates for purchases within your app. Plus, we designed our in-app purchasing (IAP) solution to be simple and easy to integrate so you can be up and running quickly.
It’s easy to get started from the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal, where you'll find documentation, sample code, tutorials, frequently asked questions, and more. In the coming weeks, we’ll also be featuring strategies and tips from in-app purchasing beta program partners, such as Glu Mobile, G5 Entertainment, Storm8, and New York Post, here on our developer blog. You can also learn more about our IAP solution from our Introduction to IAP video.
What do our beta program partners say about IAP on the Amazon Appstore for Android?
“Storm8 coordinated closely with Amazon’s team during the initial launch of its IAP beta test, and within two months of integration, we saw revenue grow by tenfold from our game,” said Perry Tam, CEO and co-founder at Storm8, producer of games such as Restaurant Story, Bakery Story, Farm Story, and Fashion Story. “We immediately brought over additional Storm8 games, and in two weeks, not only did our revenue continue to grow, but we had four of the top five free apps in the Amazon Appstore. With the tremendous initial success, we definitely plan on continuing to invest in the platform and can't wait to bring additional Storm8/TeamLava games to Kindle Fire and Amazon users.”
“Amazon's in-app purchasing solution created a great way for us to reduce friction and drive more revenue from our games, as millions of people already have Amazon accounts,” said Michael Ritter, senior vice president Licensing & Distribution at Social Gaming Network, maker of Warp Rush, Dress Up! Fashion, Bird's the Word, and Night of the Living Dead Defense. “Kindle Fire already has a well-integrated storefront and marketplace to distribute mobile games. By enabling in-app purchases we are able to be more flexible in pricing. We can release free games, provide updates, and enhancements, and continue to monetize.”
“We found that by offering a product with IAP, rather than other monetization types, our conversion rates went up as did our revenue on a per title basis,” said Larissa McCleary, director of marketing at G5 Entertainment, Inc., creator of Virtual City Playground and Mahjong Artifacts. “Although our experience on Amazon has always been great, we are thrilled now that IAP is available. This will allow us to continue our business model, but also to allow other developers to partake as well. Eventually, if more and more developers participate, we think we will experience even higher conversion rates, since players will be more familiar with what IAP is and how it functions, making the play experience even more engaging.”
We look forward to seeing how you integrate the API into your apps!
How do you get a high-resolution icon for your app to display on Kindle Fire?
The icons on Kindle Fire are dynamically pulled from the Amazon Appstore for Android. Side-loaded apps cannot use this feature. Once you've submitted your app, and it's live in the Amazon Appstore, your app's appropriate icon will automatically be displayed.
You set up an emulator per the specifications in the Kindle Fire FAQ but the screen is being recognized as an x-large screen instead of a large screen, and loading assets accordingly. How do you fix this?
The default Android emulator mis-identifies the screen size as x-large instead of large with the standard emulator configuration. To override the configuration, complete the following on your activity onCreate method (before loading layouts or anything else):
final Configuration config = new Configuration(context.getResources().getConfiguration()); config.screenLayout = (config.screenLayout & Configuration.SCREENLAYOUT_LONG_MASK) + Configuration.SCREENLAYOUT_SIZE_LARGE; context.getResources().updateConfiguration(context.getResources().getConfiguration(), context.getResources().getDisplayMetrics());
Taking this action will ensure the emulator configuration properly uses the large screen size and loads the appropriate assets.
How do you keep the soft key menu on Kindle Fire visible at all times, instead of partially hidden?
To keep the menu bar present at all times, remove any code in the activities that enables full screen mode. The soft key bar at the bottom will then be visible at all times. Sample code to remove:
How do you connect Kindle Fire to Android Debug Bridge (ADB)?
To connect Kindle Fire to your Android Debug Bridge (ADB), follow the instructions in this PDF. Kindle Fire has USB debugging enabled by default.
Your app requires access to Google Mobile Services. Will it work on Kindle Fire?
Apps that run on Kindle Fire do not currently have access to Google Mobile Services (GMS). If your app currently requires access to GMS apps or services, we recommend that you either remove the features that require these services or modify them to degrade gracefully when invoked (e.g., with an error message such as: "This feature is not currently available on this device.").
Your app is optimized for the Motorola Xoom (Honeycomb 3.0-based Android). Will it work on Kindle Fire?
In general, apps optimized for a tablet experience will work on Kindle Fire. To increase the probability that your app will be compatible with Kindle Fire, you should only use APIs that are backwards compatible with Gingerbread (Android 2.3 OS).
What are the dimensions of the status bar (time, battery, signal strength, etc.) on Kindle Fire?
The status bar is 40 pixels in height.
How can you promote your app to Kindle Fire users?
We encourage you to promote your app's availability on Kindle Fire and in the Amazon Appstore for Android using Amazon-approved marketing assets. Developer Portal account holders can find Amazon approved marketing assets and brand, trademark and marketing guidelines here:
How do you get your app marketed on Kindle Fire?
All apps in the Amazon Appstore for Android are discoverable by millions of Amazon customers. Amazon's automated and targeted marketing and merchandising algorithms provide a unique and personalized shopping experience for every Amazon customer.
The Free App of the Day is our premier promotion in the Amazon Appstore for Android. Each day, the app we select is featured in some of the most visible placements in the Amazon Appstore. These placements and the exposure they provide drive significant traffic to the featured apps and allow the developers to quickly grow their installed base. In fact, it is common for apps to be downloaded more than 150,000 times on the day they are featured in the Free App of the Day. That volume of new users can not only generate great word-of-mouth publicity for your app, but can also provide a compelling opportunity for you to monetize your apps downstream through features like in-app purchasing and advertising.
If you'd like to submit your app for inclusion in the Free App of the Day program, please complete this form.
This post discusses how Android apps can use Amazon Web Services (AWS) to send e-mail without additional infrastructure. The sample code presented here uses Amazon Simple Email Service to record feedback from users but this same method could be used in the following scenarios:
Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES) is a highly scalable and cost-effective bulk and transactional email-sending service for businesses and developers. Amazon SES eliminates the complexity and expense of building an in-house e-mail solution or licensing, installing, and operating a third-party e-mail service.
This post shows a sample for the Android platform. The complete sample code and project files are included in the AWS SDK for Android. A link to the SDK is available at the end of this post.
To use the AWS SDK for Android, you will need AWS credentials, that is, an Access Key ID and Secret Access Key. If you haven't already signed up for Amazon Web Services, you will need to do that first to get your credentials. You can sign up for AWS here. After you sign up, you can retrieve your credentials at this page.
The sample application described here demonstrates how Android apps can record feedback from their users through Amazon SES. It requires that you already have a verified e-mail address; this address will be used as both the sender and recipient of the message, so it is not necessary to get production access to Amazon SES before using this sample application. You can verify an e-mail address on the AWS console and read more about verification and production access in the Amazon SES Getting Started Guide. Amazon SES can also be used to create other types of e-mails not shown here.
Making requests to Amazon SES requires creating a client for the service. The code below shows how to create a client on both the iOS and Android platforms.
AWSCredentials credentials = new BasicAWSCredentials( PropertyLoader.getInstance().getAccessKey(), PropertyLoader.getInstance().getSecretKey() );AmazonSimpleEmailServiceClient sesClient = new AmazonSimpleEmailServiceClient( credentials );
SES will accept both regular and raw e-mails. Our application makes use of the regular method, meaning we do not have to construct our own headers. Regular e-mails require a source, destination (list of to, cc, and bcc addresses) and a message, which itself comprises a body and subject. The code below shows how to create the various parts of the email on both the iOS and Android platforms.
String subjectText = "Feedback from " + nameField.getText();Content subjectContent = new Content(subjectText); String bodyText = "Rating: " + ratingBar.getRating() + "\nComments\n" + commentsField.getText();Body messageBody = new Body(new Content(bodyText)); Message feedbackMessage = new Message(subjectContent,messageBody); String email = PropertyLoader.getInstance().getVerifiedEmail();Destination destination = new Destination().withToAddresses(email);
Once we've constructed our e-mail components, it simply becomes a matter of creating a
SendEmailRequest and passing this to the SES client we created earlier. The code below shows how to create a
SendEmailRequest and send it with Amazon SES on both the iOS and Android platforms.
SendEmailRequest request = new SendEmailRequest(email,destination,feedbackMessage);SendEmailResult result = clientManager.ses().sendEmail(request);
A sample application that includes this code is provided in the AWS SDK for Android. The download link can be found on the following pages:
For more information about using AWS credentials with mobile applications see the following article:
Please feel free to ask questions or provide comments in the Mobile Development Forum.
A few months ago, Amazon introduced Kindle Fire and, here on the blog, we talked about how you can get your app(s) onto Kindle Fire. We endeavor to provide our developers with useful, relevant information to help you develop your app(s) and we continue to get queries about developing for Kindle Fire. We have more information to share!
Your app requires an SD card—does Kindle Fire have one?
Kindle Fire has an internal SD card that your app can write to. Kindle Fire's SD card is internal and is not removable. You should not have to change your app for Kindle Fire if it currently stores data on the SD card. Using getExternalStorageDirectory() will enable you to write to the internal SD card on Kindle Fire.
Your app uses Adobe Air—will it work on Kindle Fire?
Yes, Adobe Air 22.214.171.1249 is pre-installed on Kindle Fire. If you wish to create and publish Adobe AIR 3 applications, you may do so by packaging them as 'captive runtime' apps. Note that captive runtime apps will not support on-device debugging.
Your app needs the support of an e-mail client—is that a feature of Kindle Fire?
Kindle Fire has a pre-installed e-mail client that will respond to both mailto links and e-mail intents.
How do you configure the supports-screens element for compatibility with Kindle Fire?
To ensure your app is compatible with Kindle Fire, specify <supports-screen android:largeScreens="true"/> in your manifest file.
Your app has audio—what audio playback does Kindle Fire support?
Kindle Fire supports the following audio formats natively:
You plan to upgrade your app to Android v4.x (Ice Cream Sandwich)—will your upgraded app work on Kindle Fire?
To increase the probability that your app will be compatible with Kindle Fire, you should only use Android 4.x APIs that are backwards compatible with Android 2.3 Gingerbread.
Your app has lots features—what specific features does Kindle Fire support?
Kindle Fire supports the features in the following list. To ensure your app is compatible with Kindle Fire, it should only use features found in this list.
Amazon is excited to announce an update to reports within the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal. Reports provide developers with important historical and trend data for sales and earnings. Improving the developer interface and strengthening service capability were two of the most important factors we focused on for this update.
During the past two months, we beta tested the update with more than 500 developers. Many of these developers provided valuable feedback that we incorporated into the final design.
Starting today, we will begin rolling out this update to all developers on the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal. You will notice the following changes:
We encourage developers to explore the new reports and provide feedback via the Contact Us link on the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal homepage or by clicking on the Submit Feedback flag on your Reports page.
One great benefit to having your app on the Amazon Appstore for Android is cross-promotion. Cross-promotion is a form of marketing where customers of one product are targeted with promotion of a related product. Amazon.com has millions of customers, and those customers purchase tens of thousands of products every day. With so many great products (and customers), we have the unique ability to employ cross-promotion, even across product categories.
So, what do you need to do? Nothing! By default, apps that are published in the Amazon Appstore qualify to get picked up in the cross-merchandising widgets and promotions.
In the below image, you’ll see the product detail page for an Android app. In the Customers Who Bought Related Items Also Bought widget right below the general app information, you see that our site is automatically recommending a USB cable to the customer who is interested in this app—simply because other customers purchased similar items.
Similarly, in the following image, you can see the Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought widget. This form of cross-promotion allows customers to make informed decisions about which apps they purchase while also showing them additional apps that might interest them.
Another Amazon widget that can benefit your app is the What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item? widget. Below, the widget is appearing on the product detail page for a tablet device and is advertising an app that was purchased by a customer who also purchased the tablet.
All of the above-mentioned widgets are automated, but we also have the ability to manually cross-promote your app. In the following image, note that on the product detail page for a hardcover copy of this Dr. Seuss book, we’ve added a recommendation for the related Android app.
Cross-promotion means customers can discover your app in a number of ways—not just by searching on the title or category. And over time, your app sales have the potential to increase, purely based on this cross-promotion. That’s never a bad thing, right?
Recently Amazon released Kindle Fire, our newest addition to the Kindle family that showcases a color touch display and provides instant access to the Amazon Appstore for Android and Amazon’s massive selection of digital content, as well as free storage in the Amazon Cloud.
Kindle Fire puts Amazon’s digital powerhouse of content at customers’ fingertips. In addition to the thousands of popular apps and games available in the Amazon Appstore for Android, customers can also choose from over 18 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, and books—and all of their Amazon content is automatically stored in the Amazon cloud, free of charge. Web browsing is simple and fast with Amazon Silk and an even better experience because of the Kindle Fire’s vibrant color touchscreen with an extra-wide viewing angle. All this, plus a fast, powerful dual-core processor, and an unbeatable price, make us proud of this newest member of our Kindle family.
Don’t take our word on it though—we’re not the only ones admiring Kindle Fire!
The first easy-to-use, affordable small-screen tablet, the Amazon Kindle Fire is revolutionary...I can't emphasize this "ease of use" thing enough. More than anything else, that's what's been holding non-iPad tablets back. Amazon cracked it. End of story." - PC Mag
"The Kindle Fire is a 7-inch tablet that links seamlessly with Amazon's impressive collection of digital music, video, magazine, and book services in one easy-to-use package. It boasts a great Web browser, and its curated Android app store includes most of the big must-have apps (such as Netflix, Pandora, and Hulu). The Fire has an ultra-affordable price tag, and the screen quality is exceptional for the price." – CNET
How do you get your app onto the Kindle Fire?
Submit it! Simply join the Amazon Appstore Developer Program, if you haven’t already, and submit your app using the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal just as you would if you were submitting to our store for any other supported Android device. All apps will go through regular Amazon Appstore testing, as well as testing for Kindle Fire.
What are the requirements for your app to work on Kindle Fire?
For your app to work on Kindle Fire, it needs to be compatible with the device's specifications. At a high level, it must be optimized for non-Google Mobile Services (GMS), Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread), and a 7" screen with a resolution of 1024 x 600. Your app cannot require a gyroscope, camera, WAN module, Bluetooth, microphone, GPS, or micro-SD to function. In addition, your app must not be a theme or wallpaper that manipulates the user interface of the device. As with any other app submission to the Amazon Appstore for Android, your app will also need to comply with our Content Guidelines. For additional information, please visit our Kindle Fire FAQs.
What if your app was already submitted - will it be considered?
Yes. If you already have an app published in the Amazon Appstore for Android, we will automatically review the app for Kindle Fire compatibility. We're currently in the process of testing our entire catalog of published apps to ensure each app provides a high-quality customer experience on Kindle Fire.
What if you want to test your app(s) prior to submitting?
We strongly recommend you test your app on your own and submit an update if you discover any problems. It is possible to configure a standard Android emulator to simulate the Kindle Fire device platform. You should configure your emulator with the following characteristics:
With the rise in popularity of bar code-reader apps, QR Codes have become a convenient way of transferring text from media to mobile devices. A report published recently by MGH indicates that a growing number smartphone owners use the two-dimensional images to gain access to products and promotions.
A QR Code is a square, black and white image that contains standardized patterns to store text, in the same way that bar codes contain patterns for alphanumeric characters. The amount of encoded text can vary depending on the size of the QR Code image, but typically the text encoded is relatively short and takes the form of a URL. You may have seen the following options on our Get Started page to quickly give you access to the Amazon Appstore on your Android device:
As mentioned in a previous post, you can link directly to apps in the Amazon Appstore with a mobile-friendly URL. The URL can be represented as a QR Code, which can then direct potential customers on your website or blog to your app on the Amazon Appstore mobile client. For instance, the following link and corresponding QR Code will send users to the detail page for the Amazon MP3 App for Android:
The following URL will invoke a search to find MP3 related apps on the Appstore:
Any QR Code generator that meets the ISO requirements will suffice. Some websites that can do this for you include Delivr, bit.ly, the URL shortening site, and Google.
If you own a Kindle, you’ve experienced the power of having a Digital Locker and the ability to download your purchased content to just about any device. The notion of “buy once, read anywhere” will now also apply to your Android apps purchased through the Amazon Appstore.
Customers who purchase an app will retain an entitlement to their app even if they decide to replace their current Android device and/or purchase new devices, as long as the new devices meet the installation requirements of the app. This provides insurance to customers that their purchased apps will be available for use on all supported devices, even if the customer has uninstalled or otherwise removed those apps in the past.
The digital locker service combined with a robust Digital Rights Management (DRM) solution not only make managing apps easier for customers, they also address one of the biggest concerns developers have: unauthorized copying and distribution. An authorized user can now install your app on any of their supported devices; however, if you chose to apply DRM on your app at submission time, your app will not run on unauthorized devices.
Any app that has Amazon DRM applied to it will require users to have installed and signed-in to the Amazon Appstore client to access the app. When an app is accessed by the user, it will verify with the Amazon Appstore device service as to whether the user has an entitlement to the app. If the user does not sign in or does not have an entitlement to that app, then the app will not be usable. However, any user can gain an entitlement by purchasing the app through Amazon.
We will be posting more updates on Amazon DRM over the next few weeks on the Amazon Appstore Developer Blog. We will cover additional topics, such as sharing data between apps and signing your app after Amazon DRM has been applied.
Update: In response to your questions, we’d like to take this opportunity to provide a few clarifications.
Do I have to use Amazon DRM if I sell my app through Amazon.com?
No, it is not required. When you submit your app you can choose to offer your app DRM free or you can apply Amazon DRM.
Do customers need to have internet access to use an Amazon DRM-enabled app?
No. Once an app is installed, a user can use the app without having internet access.
How can you verify that the user has an entitlement to the app without internet access?
During the installation process for an app, the Amazon Appstore client downloads a small token that grants the user the right to access the application. A valid token permits the user that purchased the app to access their app offline. The Amazon Appstore client will periodically communicate with Amazon servers to refresh the token.