Targeting Amazon Devices with Your Android Manifest

The Amazon Appstore uses Android manifest specifications. to determine which Fire devices are compatible with your APK. Incompatibilities between your manifest and a device’s capabilities will prevent the APK file from being targeted to that device. This page covers common topics to consider when working with manifests for APKs intended to target Fire devices.

Android and Amazon SDK Levels

Fire devices use Fire OS at the operating system. Since Fire OS is a custom version of Android, each Fire OS version corresponds to a single Android API level. Therefore, the first step in creating your manifest is to specify the proper Android API levels for the Fire devices you intend to target.

See the Tablet Specifications and Fire TV Specifications for the Android and Amazon API levels for various Amazon Fire devices. For example, to target all 2013 and newer tablets, your manifest should contain an entry like this:

<uses-sdk android:minSdkVersion="19" />

A couple of notes:

  • Android API levels for devices change over time as OS updates are deployed. For example, 2014 Fire tablets run Fire OS 4.5, at Android API level 19. When these devices are updated to Fire OS 5.0, the Android API level will update to 22. If your binary is compatible with both versions of Fire OS (most are), ensure that API levels 19 - 22 are within the range specified by <uses-sdk>.
  • The Amazon Appstore also supports the android:maxSdkVersion attribute, but only when determining if the app should be available on a specific device. It has no effect when the user updates their Fire OS to a later version. In most cases, use of this attribute is not needed unless there is a breaking incompatibility with a higher API level.

Common Hardware and Software Capabilities

Once you specify SDK levels, make sure your <uses-permission> and <uses-features> elements are appropriate for the devices you are targeting. Refer to specifications for Fire Tablets and Fire TV for specific hardware and software capabilities.

Implied Features

Many developers are tripped up by implied features. Per the Android standard, specifying <uses-permission> for certain capabilities implies one or more <uses-feature> elements, with android:required="true" assumed. Since the implied features are required, the APK is deemed not compatible with any device that does not provide those features, even if the app is designed to degrade gracefully when features aren’t present.

Consider this scenario: your app uses the device’s current location to find nearby gas stations. The app can get your current location from the device’s GPS, but if GPS is not available, the user can input an address or location. To use the GPS, you should include this element in your manifest:

<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION" />

However, if you don’t explicitly define them, these elements are implicitly defined:

<uses-feature android:name="android.hardware.location" android:required="true" />
<uses-feature android:name="android.hardware.location.gps" android:required="true" />

If you then provide this binary to the Amazon Appstore; then only WAN models of Fire tablets would be compatible, since these are the only Fire devices with GPS capabilities. To be compatible with additional Fire devices, you should include these elements in your manifest, but specify them as not required (provided your app functions correctly without GPS):

<uses-feature android:name="android.hardware.location" android:required="false" />
<uses-feature android:name="android.hardware.location.gps" android:required="false" />

A full list of permissions that cause implied features is here: Permissions that Imply Feature Requests.

Specifying an Installation Location for Your App

Your Android Manifest file specifies the installation location for your app on Fire TV and Fire tablet devices. For most apps, setting this value to External Storage (preferExternal) will provide a better experience for your app’s users. For more information, see Specifying the Installation Location for Your App.

Targeting Fire TV

This section describes certain caveats to keep in mind if you are building and submitting a Fire TV app to the Amazon Appstore.

Known Device Targeting Support Issues for Fire TV

Device targeting via Android manifest for Fire TV apps is not currently supported by the Amazon Appstore ingestion process. If you are targeting Fire TV with your app, you will need to manually specify Fire TV support as part of your submission form. For more information, see Target Fire TV Devices with Your App Manifest.

Touchscreen Support

Fire TV devices do not support touchscreens and multi-touch capabilities. In an Android manifest, unlike other features, the touchscreen is assumed to be required unless explicitly stated otherwise. Thus, most binaries that run fine on tablets would be considered incompatible with Fire TV without a manifest change.

To specify that an app does not require a touchscreen, add the following element to your manifest:

<uses-feature android:name="android.hardware.touchscreen" android:required="false" />

Remove uses-amzn-sdk from App Manifest

If you have the following tag in your app’s manifest, <uses-amzn-sdk>, remove it. This tag relates to the old Fire OS SDK add-on. Check to see if you declare <uses-amzn-sdk> in your AndroidManifest.xml file. If so, remove this tag (and any dependencies on it in your code). The <uses-amzn-sdk> tag is no longer used in apps on Fire TV.

Although your app will still work with this tag in your manifest, removing it will avoid any future incompatibilities. None of the components of the old Fire OS SDK add-on are required to develop apps for Fire devices. Instead, use standard Android APIs and the Amazon Apps & Games Services SDKs.