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Showing posts by David Isbitski

August 04, 2014

David Isbitski

Here is a quick recap of new posts for weeks ending July 25th and August 1st on the Amazon Apps & Services Blog.

Tuesday, July 22nd

Intro to Phaser Part 2: Preloading, Sprites Displaying Text and Game State

We published the next part in a free tutorial on creating a casual game with Phaser, a popular HTML5 game framework.

Publish Your App to Amazon’s New Fire Phone

We announced 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.

Wednesday, July 23rd

Intro to Phaser Part 3: Obstacles, Collision, Score, Sound and Publishing

We published the final part in a free tutorial on creating a casual game with Phaser, a popular HTML5 game framework.

Friday, July 25th

Fire Now Available at AT&T and Amazon

We announced Fire, Amazon’s first smartphone, is now available at AT&T stores throughout the US and online.

Tuesday, July 29th

 

Amazon Hosts Developer Day at GDC Europe – August 12th, 2014

We announced a free Amazon Developer Day on Tuesday, August 12th at GDC Europe.  If you are attending the conference stop by and join the Amazon team to learn how you can build, optimize and monetize your games for Amazon’s Fire devices.

Wednesday, July 30th

 

 

Adding Dynamic Perspective to Your HTML5 Games Tutorial

We walked through the process of adding Fire phone Dynamic Perspective to a Phaser based HTML5 game.

Thursday, July 31st

 

Amazon Appstore Expands to 41 New Countries and Territories, including Egypt, Indonesia, Singapore and Turkey

We announced expansion into 41 additional international locations, making the Amazon Appstore’s global presence now 236 countries and territories.

 

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and our YouTube channel.

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

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 21, 2014

David Isbitski

Here is a quick recap of new posts last week 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 17th

Amazon Mobile Ad Network Adds iOS Support Giving Developers Increased Reach and Monetization Opportunities

We announced iOS support for the Amazon Mobile Ads API along with ad expansion into Spain and Italy.  With this launch developers can now serve ads to Android and iOS customers in the US, UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

Friday, July 18th

Harpan Increases eCPM by 20% across Platforms with the Amazon Mobile Ad Network

We shared the success Harpan has seen with the Amazon Mobile Ads API in their games across the Amazon Appstore, Google Play and iTunes.

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and our YouTube channel.

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

July 18, 2014

David Isbitski

Harpan, the developer of popular games Solitaire, FreeCell, Sudoku and Pyramid Solitaire, distributes more than 12 gaming apps on iTunes, Google Play and the Amazon Appstore. Harpan was interested in a cross platform mobile ads solution, which can provide the needed earning lift without compromising their user experience. In order to focus more on app development, Harpan needed a solution that was easy to integrate and could help track app performance.

Harpan decided to use the Amazon Mobile Ads API for monetizing their apps across platforms. Tim Oswald, co-founder and CEO of Harpan shared that Amazon was their solution of choice.  The Amazon Mobile Ad Network delivered higher eCPM, provided a great experience for their users with high-quality tailored ads, and enabled app optimizations through actionable performance tracking and reporting.

20% higher* eCPM versus other ad networks

Harpan’s earnings increased with the Amazon Mobile Ad Network.  The biggest factor driving this was the payment structure.  Amazon pays on ad impressions served instead of clicks on ads. “With the Amazon Mobile Ads API, we are consistently getting 20% higher eCPM on our Android, iOS and Kindle Fire apps compared to other ad networks. We were extremely pleased to see the Amazon Mobile Ads API performing better than other ad networks on iOS, said Tim Oswald.

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25% higher* CTR on ads delivered by Amazon Mobile Ad Network

The quality of ads was very important for Harpan to provide a great experience for their users. Tim explained, “While we want to increase our earnings, we don’t want to compromise our users experience. Amazon provides an engaging experience for our users by delivering relevant ads from Amazon and brand advertisers. We are seeing 25% higher CTR on ads delivered by the Amazon Mobile Ad Network compared to other ad networks.”

Easy integration & tracking

Harpan was able to integrate the Amazon Mobile Ads API in minimal time and focus their efforts on app development. Tim shared, “Enabling the Amazon Mobile Ads API in all their apps was very easy and took just few minutes to integrate the API. We really liked the integrated tracking, which helped us in monitoring and optimizing the performance of our apps in real-time.”

To learn more about the Amazon Mobile Ads API check out our Developer Portal here as well as our blog with tips on ad mediation and tracking ad events inside your apps.

*Your results may vary.

 

July 14, 2014

David Isbitski

Here is a quick recap of new posts last week on the Amazon Apps & Services Blog.

Tuesday, July 8th    

Better Manage IAP Purchases with Amazon’s API Enhancements

We announced improvements to the receipt process for our In-App Purchasing API giving an improved customer experience.

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.

Come Join Us at Casual Connect in San Francisco on July 21st

We announced a free, developer pre-day event at Casual Connect filled with information on the latest Amazon devices including Fire phone and Fire TV.

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.

Friday, July 11th

Intro to Phaser Part 1: Setting up Your Dev Environment and Phaser

We published a free tutorial on creating a casual game with Phaser, a popular HTML5 game framework.

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and our YouTube channel.

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

July 10, 2014

David Isbitski

With the launch of the Fire, Amazon’s first Android-based phone, you can now create experiences where customers interact in an entirely new way with your apps. With Dynamic Perspective, apps can have peek, tilt and zoom capabilities all based on customer head movements. You can also use the Firefly button to identify virtually anything and enable actions your customers can take based on what they identify. By enhancing or optimizing your apps for Fire, you have the opportunity to enable experiences that combine realistic visuals and bring new depth to what customers can do on a phone. And while you think about the new experiences you can offer your user, you can get the current version of you app running on Fire with little or no modification. Here are 10 tips to help you get your apps running on Fire phone today!

Tip 1 – Register for a Free Amazon Developer Account

Fire uses the Amazon Appstore exclusively, and we’ve streamlined the process to make it easy to submit your app. Registration is free, fast, has no annual subscription cost, and supports both free and paid apps. Once your Fire phone app is submitted you also have the option to distribute the apps across Kindle Fire, Fire TV and Android devices simply by selecting those device targets in the developer console. The boxes indicating your intent to publish on other devices will be pre-checked in the console. Most Fire apps will also work on Kindle Fire tablets and Android devices, so just keep those checked if you are not sure. To get started:

  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 if you intend to sell a paid app or offer in app items for purchase.

Tip 2 – Download the Fire SDKs

Fire phone development APIs fall into two categories: Dynamic Perspective SDK and Firefly SDK. Both SDKs are available through the standard Android SDK Manager as a single add-on and support a variety of programming languages.

To download the add-on simply open the Android SDK Manager from a command line or from within Android Studio and do the following:

  1. Add the following user-defined site, in the Manage Add-on Sites dialog: https://s3.amazonaws.com/android-sdk-manager/redist/addon.xml
  2. Expand Android 4.2.2 (API 17) and click SDK Platform and Amazon Fire Phone SDK Addon.

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  1. Accept license agreement and install the packages.
  2. Set your project up in Eclipse and specify Amazon Fire Phone SDK in the Compile With drop-down.

The SDK includes everything you need to get started including multiple sample projects and Android Studio gradle support.

You also have the option to download the Fire Phone SDK directly without installing the add-on here.

Tip 3 – Test Your APK compatibility with the Amazon Testing Service

Fire is based on the latest version of Fire OS 3.5, which is based on Android API level 17. Android app compatibility is supported on Fire OS, so if an app runs on Android it can run on Fire with little or no effort. Simply drag and drop your Android APK and receive feedback on your app's compatibility within 90 seconds. You will also have access to additional Fire phone test results that enable you to see how your app looks and performs on Fire phone. The test results are presented in 6 hours and include carousel, peek and tilt actions.

Checking APK compatibility and submitting can be done in just a few steps:

  1. Drag and drop your APK to the app-testing control here.
  2. If your app passes testing, you can submit it to the Amazon Appstore right away. If testing reveals any issues, you will see a list of issues to address. 

Tip 4 – Become Familiar with the Fire Phone Design Guidelines

Fire represents a huge leap forward in mobile user experiences. As a developer, you’ll want to design the best customer experience possible for this new platform. To help you achieve that, we’ve outlined the core design principles that will allow you to take advantage of Fire’s unique Dynamic Perspective features in our guide here.

The good news is that if you are an Android developer your app will work on Fire with little or no work, and as you will see, just a few modifications to your app’s user experience will let it better take advantage of all that the Fire SDK has to offer.

For additional best practices for designing Fire phone user experiences check out our blog post here.

Tip 5 - Add the Fire Phone Android Theme to Your App

The quickest optimization you can make is to set the application Theme in your Android app’s AndroidManifest.xml file. This updated Amazon theme will set app fonts, color pallet and skinned controls to match Fire phone’s design guidelines.

Simply set the android:theme argument to the application section of the Android Manifest to Theme.DeviceDefault, as introduced in Android 4.0, and your application will pick up the skinned controls that match Fire phone.

Tip 6 – Utilize the Fire Foundation Controls

The Fire Foundation Controls are included in the Dynamic Perspective SDK and give your app 2D controls designed and built for use with the device. These controls currently include SidePanel, HeaderNavigationBar, TabBar, ToolBar and MediaController. All of these controls can be implemented in three steps just as you would with any Android control.

Step 1: Prepare the Android Manifest
The Android manifest needs to be modified to include a <uses-library> tag to load the Foundation Controls library (in addition to setting the theme as mentioned in Tip 3).


 

Step 2. Place the control in your XML Layout file

In this example Android layout file we are referencing the new header navigation bar and utilizing two additional files. Strings.xml will contain the names of our menu items and header_menu.xml file defines the menu items for the HeaderNavigationBar's actions menu.

XML layout for HeaderNavigationBar inside of a RelativeLayout view:

Strings.xml containing menu item names:

Header_menu.xml containing action menu items:

Step 3. Implementing the Control

All of the APIs for Fire phone will be installed into your <Android_SDK>/sdk/add-ons/addon-amazon_fire_phone_sdk_addon-amazon-17 folder including the SDK samples. To access the controls you will need to reference them from your own app. For example, to implement the HeaderNavigationBar make sure you reference the amazon.widget.* package and implement the control. The following code shows how to inflate the XML layout into a view, obtain a reference to the HeaderNavigationBar, use the reference to set a click listener on the actions menu, and implement up navigation.

In the case of the HeaderNavigationBar we will also disable the Android title bar before inflating the layout. We can also programmatically change menu items by setting properties directly on the HeaderNavigationBar like so:

For more details on implementing Foundation Controls in your Android app check out our Implementing Foundation Controls for Fire phone guide here.

Tip 7 - Implement a Side Panel Layout

One easily identifiable layout characteristic of Amazon Fire apps is the Side Panel layout included as part of the Fire Foundation Controls. Implementing the Side Panel layout will go a long way to giving your app that Fire phone look and feel.

With this control, no matter what the current view in your app, a user can always access your menu or a context aware page just by executing a quick swipe or gesture.

For example, doing a quick right-flick of the phone (or swiping in from the left) can expose a navigation pane. You can also put a context-sensitive pane a flick away in the other direction. In the picture above, the middle content panel is a Music Store. The left panel is a navigation panel, and the right panel is context sensitive, and when the user is looking at music in the content panel, the right panel will show recommendations.

SidePanel Layout works very similar to the HeaderNavigationBar described above. You will need to reference the EAC library in your Android Manifest like above, reference the same amazon.widget library in your java code and then define the left, right and content panels in your XML layout file.

A full Side Panel sample project is included with the Fire SDK under the /Samples/SidePanels folder and you can get more details about implementing a Side Panel layout here

If you don't have a Fire phone you can also use the simulator included in the SDK to test your SidePanel implementations.

Tip 8 – Adding Depth and Perspective to Your Android App Interface

In addition to the 2D Foundation Controls, Dynamic Perspective includes a rich set of APIs and Controls to help developers incorporate peek, tilt and zoom capabilities within their apps while adding a sense of realistic depth and perspective. These controls work behind the scenes with Fire’s advanced camera and sensors to automatically adjust their appearance based on how your application is being viewed. These new UI Controls are part of the Euclid package included in the Fire phone SDK.

For the most part, Euclid controls are very similar to their Android and Foundation Controls counterparts. Euclid controls retain the name of the original base control, but with a "Z" prepended to the name. For example, a Button control becomes a ZButton control.

       

Figure 1- Example of Euclid Controls. From left to right: ZCheckbox, ZButton, ZSwitch and ZRadioButton

Euclid simplifies the process of adding 3D effects to your Android apps. Because most Euclid layout and widget classes are derived from either standard Android or Amazon Foundation Control classes, you are probably already familiar with the most common methods and attributes of Euclid controls and should be able to convert your app to use the new Dynamic Perspective UI with few code updates.

The following aspects of a control remain unchanged when you swap a stock Android control for its Euclid equivalent, such as changing a Button to a ZButton:

  • Click handler methods: User interaction is handled via your existing onClick() method or View.OnClickListener object.
  • Screen position methods: Layout in the X and Y planes follow the same rules as 2D widgets.
  • Layout methods: Euclid controls follow Android rules for scaling, sizing, and padding, and auto-resize based on layout parameters.
  • Support methods: Euclid controls often inherit Android widget support for testing, accessibility, and localization.

The biggest difference between Euclid and 2D widgets is how their visual assets are produced and rendered. These differences provide new behaviors but also set some limits on what you can change. Euclid widgets are artist-created textured mesh files, including collections of vertices, edges and faces that define the shape of 3D objects.

Although you can set the color of a 3D widget, you cannot add a border, set a custom background, or make changes in View.OnDraw(). However, 3D controls do provide the same access to behaviors such as animations and head tracking without additional code.

The following summary highlights the changes between 2D and 3D controls:

  • Layout parameters: 3D object layout parameters include depth in addition to height and width. While 2D Android layouts are a nested hierarchy of flat rectangles, 3D layouts are a nested hierarchy of rectangular boxes.
  • Delegate classes: All 3D methods are passed to delegate classes to handle 3D operations, such as layout and animation. You do not need to extend the delegate classes unless you want to modify the stock control animations or layout.
  • Missing or overridden class methods: Some 2D Android base class methods have been removed from the 3D controls because these methods are either not relevant to a 3D environment or have been replaced with true 3D paradigms. For example, stock Android controls support rotation using a faux 3D mode, whereas Euclid replaces these methods with a simplified 3D orientation method.
  • Draw method: Because they are not rendered dynamically, 3D controls do not directly use the Draw method. Instead, you must build a tree of transformations and execute a drawing command using ZSceneNode and ZRenderable. This retained approach better matches the model of the underlying 3D graphics library. Note that this change is transparent if you are using the stock 3D controls in the toolkit.
  • Unsupported base class attributes: Some 2D base class attributes are not supported in 3D, such as the Android faux shadow parameter. See the API reference documentation for information about specific control attributes.
  • 3D-specific methods and attributes: 3D controls have 3D-specific methods and attributes, such as the ability to supply layout attributes using orientation_Zin a linear layout or depthGravity.

For more information on implementing Euclid controls be sure to check out our Dynamic Perspective UI Migration Guide here. For suggestions on when to use the standard Android widgets, 2D controls and the new Euclid controls check out our comparison matrix here.

Tip 9 – Firefly SDK: Apps that Discover the World around You

With the Firefly SDK, developers can build apps that recognize real world objects - QR and bar codes, artwork, songs, movies and more - and let customers interact with them. Firefly combines Amazon's deep catalog of physical and digital content with multiple image, text and audio recognition technologies to quickly identify over 100 million movies, TV episodes, songs and products. It can also recognize URLs, email addresses and phone numbers. Customers simply press the Firefly button to discover helpful information and take action in seconds. You can use the Firefly SDK to supplement item identification or build actionable options for customers after an item is recognized. For example, iHeartRadio used the Firefly SDK’s built-in music recognizer and music database to identify a song playing. Then they built their own Firefly action to create a station based on the song Firefly recognized.

Integration with Firefly requires the creation of a plug in. You can get complete details on implementing a Firefly plugin on our developer portal here.

Tip 10 – New Developer Incentives for Fire Phone Apps

The immersive apps you create for Fire phone are also eligible for new developer promotions. We have updated Appstore Developer Select and Amazon Mobile Ads API with more incentives. 

  • Appstore Developer Select: Optimize your apps for Fire phone and get enhanced merchandising and 500,000 Amazon Coins incentives for your customers. Get the details here.
  • Amazon Mobile Ads API: Developers earn $6 for every thousand interstitial ads displayed across any supported device in August and September (up to one million impressions per app per month) when they distribute their apps on Fire phones and send the first ad request from a qualified app. Get the details here.

Now is the time to submit your apps and games! Apps that are submitted and approved by July 18 will be in the Amazon Appstore when Fire ships on July 25.

Be sure to check out these additional Fire phone developer resources:

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

July 07, 2014

David Isbitski

Here is a quick recap of new posts last week on the Amazon Apps & Services Blog.

Tuesday, July 1st    

Appstore Developer Select Benefits Expand to UK, Germany, France and Spain – Submit Today

We announced expansion of Appstore Developer Select program benefits to include the UK, Germany, France, and Spain, in addition to the US.

Deal Center Displays Discounts in One Convenient Location

We announced a new single, centralized place where customers can easily find discounted apps on the Amazon Appstore, called Deal Center.

Wednesday, July 2nd   

Build the App Your Customers Want: Beta Test with Amazon A/B Testing Service

We walked through the free Amazon A/B Testing Service and how you can use it to evaluate user satisfaction within your app.

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.

Friday, July 4th

Amazon Mobile Ad Network Expands to Germany and France, API Now Supports Android Advertising ID

We announced expansion of the Amazon Mobile Ad Network in Europe to Germany and France as well as support for Android advertising ID.

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and our YouTube channel.

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

June 30, 2014

David Isbitski

Here is a quick recap of new posts last week on the Amazon Apps & Services Blog.

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.

11 Developers from 8 Different Countries Share Their Experiences with the Amazon Appstore

We showcased new video in which developers across Europe and the United States share their experiences with the Amazon Appstore.

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.

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.

Friday, June 27th

Come Join Us at MoDev in Washington D.C. July 12, 2014

We announced a new Fire TV and Fire phone hands-on workshop next month for developers in the Washington D.C. USA area.

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and our YouTube channel.

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

June 27, 2014

David Isbitski

If you’re in the Washington D.C. area, please come out and join Amazon Appstore for a workshop on building apps and games for Fire phone and Fire TV.  Learn more on how to get your app into the living room or create apps that respond in all new ways. This MoDev exclusive event is on Saturday, July 12 from 10am-4pm. Bring your laptops and join Amazon Developer Evangelists and Fire phone product experts for a hands-on workshop designed to get you started with Fire phone and Fire TV.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

10:00AM – 4:00PM

Artisphere

1101 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA (in the Ballroom off of lower town hall)

Want to attend this event?


Whether you have an existing app or are looking to launch a new app, this is an opportunity to work directly with our team for hands-on development support. Plus, you can test your apps on Fire phone and Fire TV.

Agenda

10:00AM – 10:30AM  Check-In & Breakfast
10:30AM-11:30AM     Fire TV Overview
11:30AM-1:00PM    Getting Started with Fire TV
1:00PM-1:30PM    Lunch
1:30PM-2:30PM Fire Phone Overview
2:30PM-4:00PM    Getting Started with Fire Phone

Program Details

Fire TV

  • Introduction to Fire TV
  • Best practices for developing for the 10-foot experience 
  • Working with the remote & controllers
  • Setting up your environment & publishing to the Amazon Appstore

Fire Phone

  • Introduction to Fire phone
  • Exploring the Dynamic Perspective SDK
  • Connecting the phone to the physical world with Firefly
  • Setting up your environment & publishing to the Amazon Appstore

Giveaways + Gaming Fun & Happy Hour

We’ll cap the afternoon with giveaways, gaming fun and a happy hour for attendees and evangelists to network.

We look forward to meeting you at the Artisphere in July!

 

June 23, 2014

David Isbitski

We recently had the chance to talk to developers from across Europe and the United States about their experience with Amazon. They shared their insights on monetization, customer acquisition, ease of submission, and the marketing of their apps.

You can also check out some of the highlights from the video below:

Developers like Pixowl are Seeing Higher ARPU than on Other Platforms

According to an IDC survey of 360 developers sponsored by Amazon, 74% of the surveyed developers said that Average Revenue per App/User is the same or better (38%) than other platforms. Sebastien Borget, CEO and Co-founder at Pixowl, and Stephan Berendsen, Founder and President at BBG Entertainment, were excited to see their apps monetize better on a per-user basis than on competing platforms.

‘Revenues Per User on Kindle are for us up to 4x times higher than on Google Play’ Sebastien Borget, CEO and Co-founder, Pixowl

Stephan points out that Amazon customers are used to paying for content and that the standard Amazon one-click payment method makes purchasing apps even easier for customers.

Reach More Customers with Amazon Marketing Tools

To tap into this customer pool and leverage the monetization potential, Ben Howard from Viewranger actively uses the Amazon Appstore capabilities available and has added the Amazon Appstore badge to their website to leverage the Amazon brand with its customer base.

“It’s a very unique device and comes with a lot of brand recognition. We get to use the Kindle Fire logo, we get to say that the app is available on their platform, which just means that more and more people are going to use our app.” Ben Howard, App Marketing and Sales Executive, Viewranger

Submit your App Today

The IDC survey also noted that 65% of surveyed developers are experiencing total revenue on the Kindle Fire on par or better than other platforms. And since most Android apps just work on Amazon Appstore without any additional development, it’s a great time to get started. Sign up for a free developer account here.

Additional resources on getting started

 

June 23, 2014

David Isbitski

Here is a quick recap of new posts last week on the Amazon Apps & Services Blog.

Tuesday, June 17th

Getting Started with the Cordova Push Notifications Plugin for Amazon Fire OS

We walked through how to send messages to Kindle Fire Devices using Amazon Device Messaging and the Cordova Push Notifications Plugin project.

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.

Thursday June 19th

Amazon Developer Day – GDC 2014 Videos

We posted the GDC 2014 session recordings from the Amazon Pre-Conference Developer Day.

More Big News! Amazon Appstore to Be Preloaded on Blackberry 10 Devices

We announced that the Amazon Appstore will be preloaded on BlackBerry 10 devices this fall giving developers an expanded opportunity to reach more customers.

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.

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and our YouTube channel.

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

June 18, 2014

David Isbitski

Today in Seattle, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos unveiled Fire, the first phone designed by Amazon. Fire is the first and only smartphone with Dynamic Perspective and Firefly. Dynamic Perspective is an entirely new technology that responds to the way a customer holds, views and moves the phone. For example, Zillow is using the Dynamic Perspective SDK to create the ability to zoom in on pictures within their app by just moving the phone closer to the user. The revolutionary Firefly technology already recognizes movies, music and more and 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 can identify. As a developer, these new technologies enable you to create more immersive experiences in your apps and games that increase user engagement.

The Fire SDKs are available now, and make it easy for developers to take advantage of these features in their apps. These SDKs were designed to offer developers power and flexibility with pre-built controls, low level APIs, and complete UI frameworks. You can download both SDKs here.

How Developers Are Using Dynamic Perspective

Fire apps are built with the same familiar Android development environment you are used to. Fire provides a powerful set of hardware to bring your apps alive. With 2 gigabytes of RAM, a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Quad-core 2.2 GHz CPU and an Adreno 330 GPU, Fire will support the high performance game experiences customers crave. For detailed technical specifications of Fire, click here.

Zillow used the Dynamic Perspective SDK to integrate real-time information into their app’s user experience. In the Zillow app for Fire, customers can view new listings or nearby homes for sale and rent, right on the Fire carousel without having to open the Zillow app. In addition, Zillow brought a new photo experience to the device so users can use their head to zoom in on a bedroom or peek to see what's around the kitchen corner. “Real estate shopping is an inherently mobile experience so any chance we have to bring listings or new information to a home shopper while they're out on the go is a great thing,” said Jeremy Waxman, Vice President of Marketing and Mobile, Zillow. “Photos are incredibly impactful for home shoppers—it is the most common activity for users of our app. We are thrilled to be able to go one step beyond static images and offer our users the opportunity to zoom in on the photos and then peek around the room with the Dynamic Perspective SDK.”

Ezone.com, the creators of Snowspin and Crazy Snowboard, used the Dynamic Perspective SDK to allow a customer to navigate the endless runner game with just their head—no tapping on the screen necessary. Using head and hand movements, users can control direction and speed. Users can interact with games in a more immersive way – without their hands getting in the way of game play. Additionally, Ezone.com created a special flip jump in Snowspin currently exclusive to Fire customers with just a flick up of the head. “Porting our existing Android versions of Snow Spin and Crazy Snowboard to Fire couldn’t have been easier, and we were able to add new innovative game moves such as a double backflip with just the flick of your head, enabling even higher scores,” said Simon Edis, CEO of Ezone.com. “The Amazon team had all the tools ready to go, making it super easy for us to just drop them in our games and publish.”

CrowdStar used the Dynamic Perspective SDK to create the ability for Covet Fashion users to select their favorite fashion choices for their model. Using zoom and tilt, players can see details of outfits to vote on looks. “Dynamic Perspective is so innovative we’ve just begun to figure out how to take advantage of all the technology has to offer. The simplicity of the user interface and design around a one handed experience will really allow us full creativity as we look ahead in our portfolio of apps and games,” said Jefferey Tseng, CEO of Crowdstar. “Dynamic Perspective has unlocked capabilities we’ve always wanted to create in our game—incorporating zoom and pan in an incredibly natural way without having to touch the screen, is the first example.”

Firefly – Experiencing the World around You

Firefly understands your surroundings, instantly helping you to learn more, discover new things, and take action on the world around you. It can scan physical objects, identify them, and obtain related information about them. Everything from book covers, album covers, bar codes, QR codes, movies, television shows, songs and more. Developers can use the Firefly API to supplement item identification or build actionable options for customers after an item is recognized. For example, iHeartRadio used the Firefly SDK’s built-in music recognizer and music database to identify a song playing. Then they built their own Firefly action to create a station based on the song Firefly recognized.

Go beyond Touch with Shortcut Gestures

Because phones are often used with only one hand, Fire also offers one-handed shortcuts that go above and beyond touch. These shortcut gestures allow you to simply angle the device and “peek” into additional information that your apps can display on screen. For example, customer ratings in the Amazon Appstore instantly appear over each app’s icon when the device is tilted. Navigation is enhanced with gestures: moving back is as simple as flicking up on the screen with a finger, while tilting the device in either direction brings up two additional panels for navigation and contextual information. Gestures can even be integrated inside your games so that users can experience the game in a more intuitive way. Imagine moving a character on screen simply by titling the device instead of having to cover what’s on the screen with your finger.

Creating Multi-Dimensional Experiences inside Your Apps with the new SDKs

Fire enables new ways of interacting with your phone by simply rotating the device around X, Y and Z axes. These gestures were designed to be used with only a single hand, a common scenario when using a phone. We’ve created a framework that integrates directly with these gestures and Fire’s new sensors, making it a simple process to integrate within your own apps.

Fire SDKs and APIs

The underlying technology for Dynamic Perspective and Firefly is sophisticated, but Amazon makes it simple for developers to harness their capabilities. See a full breakdown of the SDKs and their contents here.

Dynamic Perspective SDK

The Dynamic Perspective SDK includes a series of APIs and Controls to help developers create peek, tilt and zoom capabilities within their app based on customer head movements, create multi-dimensional game play, or provide quick navigation menus by tilting the device to the left or right. These experiences are created through a variety of visual effects including adding shadows, depth and tracking head and motion gestures. For example, you could create an app that allows you to peek at how many pages are left in the book you are reading, or browse your apps as if you were flipping through a physical file drawer. Flat cartoonish icons and graphics could be replaced with realistic visuals that use lighting, shadows and motion to create an experience you would want to show off at every opportunity.

Firefly SDK

With the Firefly SDK, developers can build apps that recognize real world objects—music, movies and more—and let customers interact with them. As a developer you can create more immersive experiences that increase both engagement and the frequency of app use. The Firefly SDK comes with built-in recognizers and databases for products, music, movies, URLs, and websites, as well as built-in actions such as dialing a phone number, looking up an object on Amazon or going to a website. Developers can use the Firefly SDK to take advantage of the built-in recognizers, databases and actions.

Fire is Android Compatible

Fire is based on Fire OS so if an app runs on Android it can run on Fire with little to no work. For a developer who just wants to get started with Fire they can do a simple port, or they can use the Fire SDKs to easily integrate UI features such as shadows or hovering images within the app or game, or creating left and right panels based on Fire’s three-panel UI design.

Fire uses the same familiar Android development environment, and while Android Studio is fully supported IDE, you can also use Eclipse and other IDEs. Android Studio Gradle support is also supported for builds. An API simulator for the Side Panels and Carousel is included to test code on stock Android emulators and devices without needing a physical Fire device.

We know that many Android apps and games are built with various technologies so the Fire SDK includes support for those as well. Unity, HTML5 and C++ are all supported. For additional details on using third-party frameworks click here.

Now Is the Time to Submit Your Apps for Fire

By optimizing your apps for Fire, you have the opportunity to create compelling experiences that combine realistic visuals, with both depth and perspective allowing customers to use their smartphone in ways never done before. Starting today we are updating Appstore Developer Select offerings, Amazon Mobile Ads API, and Amazon Testing Service with special Fire incentives.

Amazon Developer Select: 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. 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. For more details on the Amazon Developer Select program for Fire click here.

Amazon Mobile Ads API: Developers earn $6 for every thousand interstitial ads displayed across any supported device in August and September (up to one million impressions per app per month) when they distribute their apps on Fire phones and send the first ad request from a qualified app. For more details on the Amazon Mobile Ad Network Interstitial CPM Offer promotion click here.

Amazon App Testing Service: We have also expanded our testing tool to Fire. Developers can now test their Fire apps before submitting them to the Amazon Appstore. Developers simply drag and drop an app and most will receive feedback about their app’s compatibility within 90 seconds. Additionally, registered developers have access to additional Fire test results that check the app’s experience. These tests enable developers to see how an app looks and performs on an actual device sitting in an Amazon device lab.

With the launch of Fire, Amazon now offers a complete device and apps ecosystem spanning across tablet, phone and TV. Customers pay for your apps once and interact with the experiences you create across all their screens. As a developer, you only need to submit your app once and with few changes make it available to your customers across all Amazon devices. Now is the time to submit your apps and games!

Additional Fire Developer resources:

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

June 16, 2014

David Isbitski

Here is a quick recap of new posts last week on the Amazon Apps & Services Blog.

Wednesday, June 11th

How Many Subtle Brand Clues Can You Pick up On?

We chatted about how important good design and the right screenshots are to your app.

Friday, June 13th

Extreme Reality Incorporates Dolby Audio API Enhancement for Kindle Fire Dance Game

We talked about the Extreme Motion SDK from Dolby Digital and how it can enable motion control in your Kindle Fire games.

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and our YouTube channel.

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

June 10, 2014

David Isbitski

Here is a quick recap of new posts last week on the Amazon Apps & Services Blog.

Wednesday, June 4th

Scanner Radio Increases Ad Revenue 43% by Adding Interstitial Ads

We chatted with the creator of Scanner Radio and the success he has seen with the Amazon Mobile Ads API.

Thursday, June 5th

IDC Survey Highlights the Case for Developing Apps for the Amazon Appstore

We shared a recent report from IDC that surveyed developer interest in the Amazon Appstore.  65% of developers said they saw Amazon Appstore total revenue similar or better than other platforms.

Friday, June 6th   

Partner Spotlight: Nextpeer – Adding Multiplayer to Your Games on Amazon Appstore

We had a guest screencast from the team at Nextpeer covering multiplayer support in your games for the Amazon Appstore.

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and our YouTube channel.

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

June 02, 2014

David Isbitski

Here is a quick recap of new posts last week on the Amazon Apps & Services Blog.

Tuesday, May 27th

Get More Revenue by Implementing Interstitial Ads

We walked through implementing Amazon interstitial ads in your app.

Wednesday, May 28th

Farlex Earns $1.25 eCPM for US and $1.36 for UK Banner Ads with Amazon Mobile Ads API

We chatted with Farlex about their recent success using the Amazon Mobile Ads API.

Thursday, May 29th

Amazon Fire TV Overview: Put Your Apps and Games on More Screens

We released a video overview of Amazon Fire TV and the opportunity for game developers it brings.

Friday, May 30th

GameCircle 101: Improving Player Experience and Retention

We released a video overview of the Amazon GameCircle API and how you can use it to increase player engagement within your games.

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and our YouTube channel.

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

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