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Amazon Developer Blogs

Amazon Developer Blogs

Showing posts tagged with apps

May 23, 2013

Mike Hines

As of today, customers can buy your apps on Amazon in nearly 200 countries worldwide using online and mobile stores in the US, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. It was also announced that Kindle Fire HD is available for pre-order starting today, shipping to over 170 countries on June 13. This is a great opportunity for you to reach millions of new customers who can now discover your apps and games online through the Amazon website and on Android and Kindle Fire HD devices. This launch expands developer reach and monetization potential to Amazon customers around the world. For more information see the press release here.

It’s easy to make your apps available in all of these countries. If you are creating a new app, it will be available in all countries by default. You can select country and territory availability for each of your apps if you want to limit their availability. First, go to the Availability and Pricing tab in the distribution portal then select “Only in the following countries…” at the top of the page. You’ll see a list of continents that you can expand to make your selection. The number of countries you have selected in this manner will show up in parenthesis at the continent level. You can set the list price for your apps for each marketplace where Amazon sells apps, or you can have Amazon calculate a list price for you automatically using your base list price. Finally, to help report on all of this international goodness, your sales reporting now reflects your sales by country.

Please be sure to check that your existing apps are for sale in the countries in which you wish them to be sold, and have fun in all the new countries!

(See the International Program Overview FAQ here for more details.)

May 21, 2013

Mike Hines

Amazon Device Messaging, a free service that allows you to send cloud-based push notifications to Kindle Fire customers, is now out of Beta and is in general availability.

You can use ADM to send encrypted real-time notification to update users on breaking news or let them know that a new game task is available for them to complete. You can also use ADM for instant messaging functionality or social networking notifications within your app.

Messaging Overview

  • Deployment. We have documentation, sample code, tools, and FAQs to help you integrate ADM. Adding ADM to your app is easy. You obtain your ADM credentials and key (remember, this is an encrypted message), include the ADM library as an external JAR file, update your manifest, store your key as an asset, and implement your broadcast receiver. (we have sample code that shows this). To send a message, your server needs the app registration ID and a security token. You can find more implementation details here.
  • Simple. ADM delivers message data to your app on the device, and your app can decide what to do on receipt of that data like download content or display a notice. Your message should be no greater than 6KB in size and sent in the form of JSONObject key:value pairs.
  • Delivery. Messages expiration is one week by default, but can be configured to persist for one month if required. ADM will wake up the device to deliver messages, so messages can be sent and received during off-peak hours when the device is likely to be asleep. We use Amazon Web Services as a backend for this service, so we can scale up quickly and reliably.
  • Compatibility. ADM is supported on Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G, Kindle Fire HD 8.9", Kindle Fire HD 7", and Kindle Fire (2nd Generation) devices.
  • Free. Enough said.

Getting Started

Get started with Amazon Device Messaging by downloading the SDK here and reviewing our documentation, sample code, and FAQs. Submit your ADM-enabled app through the Amazon Amazon Mobile App Distribution Portal today!

Feedback from the Beta

During the ADM beta, we had big and small companies try the service, and we got international developer feedback as well. Here is some of the feedback we received:

From Wooga, a social game developer based in Berlin:

“The decision to integrate Amazon Device Messaging into Diamond Dash was a cinch – it is a clear win”, said Soenke Bullerdiek, Senior Manager Strategic Platform Partnerships, from Wooga, “Even better, it was easy to enable and only took a few days of work to start sending push notifications to our users.”

From Gameloft, a world-wide game developer based in the U.S.:

“We decided to use Amazon Device Messaging as a new way to engage our Oregon Trail American Settlers customers on Kindle Fire.  The documentation and sample code was easy to understand for our studios.” Baudouin Corman, VP Americas Gameloft.

June 19, 2012

Amazon Mobile App Distribution Program

We’re pleased to announce that you can now submit apps for distribution in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, using the Amazon Mobile App Distribution Portal. We’ll begin distributing apps in these countries later this summer (and we have more countries planned in the near future). 

The Amazon Appstore in the U.S. has had a very successful year with millions of customers discovering and downloading apps and games. We continue to welcome new developers onto our platform, and since launch, we’ve grown to tens of thousands of apps—with more coming every day. Our recently launched In-App Purchasing API is already helping developers like Mobile Deluxe, G5 Entertainment, and Social Gaming Network delight their customers and generate significant revenue. Amazon now offers developers the opportunity to experience similar success with app sales outside the U.S.

Now is a great time for new developers to sign up and become familiar with the program. You have the ability to select the countries where you would like your apps to be sold and set your list prices by marketplace. If you are already participating in the program, your apps will automatically be made available for sale internationally by default. And you can easily change international availability for your apps via the Distribution Portal if your apps should not be sold in select countries. Developers allowing Amazon to sell apps internationally are responsible for ensuring their apps comply with all applicable export and import restrictions and the laws of the countries in which the apps are sold.

Though Amazon will not require apps to support multiple languages, we encourage you to consider localizing your apps with language translations and to think of creative ways to deliver great experiences to your international customers. Just as in the U.S., if you sell apps in the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, you will benefit from Amazon’s trusted 1-Click purchasing as well as the easy-to-integrate In-App Purchasing API.

Today we are also announcing two changes to the Amazon Mobile App Distribution agreement. First, building on the success of the April In-App Purchasing Service launch, and to simplify our global terms, Amazon will be aligning the revenue share for paid apps with that for in-app products sold using Amazon’s In-App Purchasing Service. Starting July 1, you will earn 70% of list price on each paid app sale. This is a change from the prior terms under which you earned either 70% of the app’s sales price or 20% of list price (whichever was greater). To put it differently, starting in July, you’ll receive 70% of the list price for all sales, regardless of whether you monetize your apps up front (paid apps) or downstream (using our In-App Purchasing Service).  

Second, we will be adapting the terms of the distribution agreement to provide more flexibility around timing for app submissions. You will now control which apps you will make available to Amazon customers, and when, as well as the countries in which your apps may be sold. As a reminder, it’s your responsibility to ensure your list prices do not exceed the lowest prices at which your apps and in-app products are sold in similar stores. To review the full agreement, including the two changes described above, please follow this link.

If you don’t already have a developer account, it’s easy to join and we’ve waived the annual fee for 2012  it’s free to register for a developer account. Sign up now, and start submitting your apps for international distribution later this summer!

We’re pleased to announce that you can now submit apps for distribution in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain using the Amazon Mobile App Distribution Portal.  We’ll begin distributing apps in these countries later this summer (and we have more countries planned in the near future).   

 

April 16, 2012

Amazon Mobile App Distribution Program

What is code obfuscation?

If you are ready to submit your app to the Amazon Appstore for Android, you might consider obfuscating your code. Obfuscating your code modifies your source and machine code to be difficult for a human to understand if your app gets decompiled. If you are concerned about your app being reverse engineered, using a tool to obfuscate your code can help a great deal.

Caveat

Not all of your source can be obfuscated, however. If you are implementing In-App Purchasing for your app, the Amazon Appstore relies on certain methods being available to call and provide you with information about a purchase request. If these methods get obfuscated and renamed, the Appstore will not be able to send information to your app. This post is a brief walkthrough on adding code obfuscation to your project.

Proguard

For android apps, Proguard is a code obfuscation tool that is provided to you once you download the Android SDK. The program shrinks and obfuscates your source code.

Setting Up Code Obfuscation for your Project

Prerequisites

This walkthrough assumes you have the Android SDK and Amazon In-App Purchasing API installed and your project already completed.

For help on installing the Android SDK, please refer to their website at http://www.developer.android.com/sdk/installing.html. Download the Amazon In-App Purchasing API by going to http://developer.amazon.com/

Enabling Proguard for your App

To enable Proguard for your Android app, refer to the following documentation from the Android SDK: http://developer.android.com/guide/developing/tools/proguard.html

Edit the build.properties file inside of your project, and add the following line (if you don’t have this file in your project directory, make one):

proguard.config = <relative or absolute path to proguard.cfg file>

 ‘Keeping’ the In-App Framework Intact

When incorporating the in-app framework into your library, you will need to specify classes to ‘keep’ and not obfuscate. Add the following lines anywhere in your proguard.cfg file.

-dontwarn com.amazon.**

-keep class com.amazon.** {*;}

-keepattributes *Annotation*

-dontoptimize 

Finalizing and Releasing Your App

Now that you’ve fully set up your proguard.cfg and build.properties file, you can run Proguard through the ant  build script for your project.

Obfuscation with another Program

If you are using another program for code obfuscation, to ensure that in-app functionality is preserved, make sure your program does not obfuscate any class under the com.amazon.* namespace, including method names and identifiers. Your obfuscation program must also preserve annotations.

Conclusion and Additional Resources

The code in this article serves as a walkthrough for enabling and using Proguard for release candidates of your app. Sample apps that include the code from this article are provided in the In-App Purchasing API. Again, you can download the SDK by logging into http://developer.amazon.com/

April 11, 2012

Amazon Mobile App Distribution Program

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.

April 09, 2012

Amazon Mobile App Distribution Program

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!

April 06, 2012

lisamar

If you missed Kindle Fire and Your App(s) Part I and Part II, be sure to check them out!

Venezia-kindlefireapptray13_650x410__V136273826_
 

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:

getWindow().setFlags(WindowManager.LayoutParams.FLAG_FULLSCREEN,WindowManager.LayoutParams.FLAG_FULLSCREEN);

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:

Amazon Appstore for Android Trademark Usage, Brand, and Marketing Guidelines

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.

March 16, 2012

lisamar

KF_image_from_PDP
 

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 2.7.1.1999 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:

  • AAC LC/LTP
  • HE-AACv1 (AAC+)
  • HE-AACv2 (enhanced AAC+)
  • AMR-NB
  • AMR-WB
  • MP3
  • MIDI
  • Ogg Vorbis
  • PCM/WAVE

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.

KF_feature_table
 

March 03, 2011

peracha

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.

February 11, 2011

peracha

While designing and building your apps, you may encounter the question:  Should I create multiple versions of my apk for different devices?  In most instances, the answer should be an emphatic no!  Unnecessarily offering multiple copies of your apk to your customers will not only make your development process more complex and painful, it may also create confusion for your users.  A well-designed app that follows the best practices guidelines will be deployable and usable on almost all Android devices.

Some common scenarios when developers think they need to create multiple apks, but really don’t, include supporting:

If you are concerned about your app being installed on an unsupported environment, follow the best practices guide for Android development to avoid such issues.

After appropriately defining settings in your Android manifest file, you will want to design your app to make the necessary runtime decisions at the lowest levels in your code.  For instance, you may want to implement conditional user interface logic at the latest point possible, such as altering display and layouts based on device screen and density settings.  This is an ideal way to not only lower the total lines of code you write, but it may also reduce the number of bugs in your app and reduce the size of your apk.

There are, however, a handful of situations that justify creating multiple apks.  These include:

  • Pricing differences for certain devices
  • Large resources, such as images and videos, make your apk too big

If you are offering your app for a different price to customers on a smartphone versus a tablet, then submitting a separate apk for each form factor makes sense.  Furthermore, if the apk file size difference is significant and you want to avoid users of your SD version unnecessarily downloading MBs of HD images, then a separate apk may be appropriate. You should consider making this decision when your apk grows larger than 8 MBs.  Under these circumstances, and others that we did not cover, you will need to submit each apk individually to the Amazon Appstore as separate apps. 

In conclusion, unless your reason for creating multiple versions is well-justified, we recommend that you submit only one apk per app version.