With the release of the Kindle Fire HD family of tablets and the all-new Kindle Fire, you may wonder how to ensure your apps run well and look great on the new devices. The good news is that out of the box, many apps will work as expected. However, we know that developers are eager to give Amazon customers the best possible experience on Kindle Fire tablets, and there are several things we encourage you to think about. This post provides an introduction to how you can prepare your apps for the new Kindle Fire tablets.
The User Experience
For customers one obvious change is the improvement in screen resolution on the Kindle Fire HD family of tablets, which feature stunning 7" and 8.9" high definition displays. The 8.9” screen on Kindle Fire HD features an incredible254 pixels per inch, the highest resolution of any of our tablets. And Kindle Fire HD’s 7” screen has a stunning 1280 x 800 HD display that gives customers deep, detailed contrast and rich, natural color. Apps should support both the existing1024 x 600 pixel display as well as 1280 x 800 and 1920 x 1200 layouts. The Kindle Customer experience Guidelinesdocument offers a detailed overview of the new displays as well as features such as the soft key bar and gestures.
To ensure that customers have a great HD experience on Kindle Fire HD, we have established guidelines to identify the apps that are high-definition. We also encourage developers to review guidelines for marketing your apps as HD. If you believe your apps meet the requirements,please include the notation “please review for HD designation” in the Testing Instructions field when you submit your apps.
Kindle Fire HD includes a front-facing camera which influences the direction in which users choose to use the device. If your apps force landscape orientation, refer to our best practices for information on how to control the orientation for Kindle Fire HD.
Even before you acquire a new Kindle Fire HD tablet, you can preview the customer experience on Kindle Fire HD by downloading the Kindle Fire HD Emulator.
One of the biggest differences between Kindle Fire and the new devices is that the new devices use Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich). For developers, the support for Ice Cream Sandwich and API 15 brings a richer and more robust set of APIs. The Kindle Tablets Development Best Practices document details the new hardware and APIs you can take advantage of. As with any change of API level, it’s a good idea to run through basic regression testing either in the Kindle Fire HD Emulator or a physical device even if you don’t recompile your APK with the new API support. Some of the most common issues you may want to review are support for pause/resume from the Quick Settings bar and not optimizing for the Soft Key toolbar.
One capability you can use is hardware acceleration. By taking advantage of hardware acceleration for graphics, you can present your users with a more fluid experience and save battery life. Implement hardware acceleration by upgrading your tool-chain and application to support the Android 4.0.3 API 15libraries (rather than the Android 2.3.3 API 10 libraries that Kindle Fire used).
To activate hardware acceleration globally, add the following attribute to the <application> tag in the manifest:
<application android:hardware Accelerated="true" ...>
While in most cases this will be sufficient (depending on how your apps make use of the drawing surface) you may also need to test and control hardware acceleration at a more granular level (Activity, Window, or View).
While it is easy to support optional APIs and device capabilities within a single binary, you may decide to generate different binaries for the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD. To handle that, we now support device targeting so you can continue to support existing devices while also taking full advantage of the newer platform.
Get Started Today!
Visit the Mobile App Distribution Portal to integrate the Amazon Mobile App SDK, to join the program, and to submit your apps. Plus, continue visiting our blog, where we’llbe offering more information on optimizing your apps for Kindle tablets.
Whether updating existing apps or submitting new apps to Amazon, this is a great time to refresh your consumer marketing. Review past blog posts for tips on writing an effective app description,submitting visual marketing assets,and adding promotional images.