Starting today, there will be a single, centralized place where customers can easily find discounted apps on the Amazon Appstore, called Deal Center. Deal Center makes it easy for customers to discover deals set up through the Developer Promotions Console, as well as promotions offered through Amazon’s Appstore Developer Select and Free App of the Day programs.
Deal Center is a special section of the Appstore on Kindle Fire HDX and HD devices dedicated to promotions and discounts. It is designed to help developers acquire new customers. Deal Center is implemented as a collection of widgets, each of which displays a different type of deal or product. Customers can see several offers at a glance and follow links to browse all discounts that are available.
Discounts that were previously visible only from the detail page associated with your app are now easier to find, and feature individual Buy buttons to simplify purchase. Customers can install apps right from Deal Center without having to navigate to the detail page for each app.
Deal Center is the home for all promotions across the Appstore, so apps that feature Amazon Coins back offers as part of the Appstore Developer Select (ADS) program are prominently visible. The Free App of the Day will also have a new home on Deal Center.
You don’t have to do anything special to benefit from Deal Center’s high visibility and eye-catching placement of deals and discounts. Discounts set up through Developer Promotions Console will be featured on Deal Center without any additional steps required. If you are an ADS developer, Coins back offers on your apps will be featured on Deal Center in addition to being featured on the Appstore on Kindle Fire.
For more information about setting up price adjustments and promotions, see Easily Manage Pricing & Discounts: Developer Promotion Console.
Launched in 2010, Soundtracker by South Ventures USA, is described as an app that allows music to connect people by making it easy to discover and play music in real time with friends and anyone nearby. With Soundtracker you can create stations, chat with other users, listen and comment on their latest stations amongst other features. Available on the Amazon Appstore here as well as other platforms, Soundtracker has over 4 million downloads and 1 million active users worldwide across all platforms.
I had the chance to sit down with Daniele Calabrese, CEO and founder, to discuss their experience bringing Soundtracker into the Amazon Appstore and how they’ve managed to leverage different Amazon Mobile Apps APIs to their advantage.
Even though the app itself is available on various platforms, the reason why Daniele decided to bring the app to Amazon Appstore was simple. The “opportunity with Kindle was too good to pass on since we would be able to create an app for two platforms at once.” Daniele says that early on the team realized that the Android SDK was compatible with Kindle Fire, so they decided to build the apps in tandem. The team found out quickly that “the process in getting Soundtracker into the Amazon Appstore was very easy and the results from it has definitely paid off.”
Figure 1- Kindle Fire UI
Besides using Amazon’s In-App Purchasing and Mobile Ads API, Soundtracker also uses Amazon’s Maps API and Device Messaging API as well. For Soundtracker “being able to monetize and engage your users are the most important factor in choosing a platform” says Daniele. The team credits these specific API’s as “the reason why we were able to be so successful in the Amazon Appstore.” By integrating certain APIs you can also qualify for different programs. Daniele says the team is “excited to be admitted into the Appstore Developer Select program,” which provides the team with 500k mobile ad impressions, Amazon Coins rewards to customers, and more.
Figure 2- Nearby feature and push notification
Since Soundtracker detects where other users are, relative to their current location, notifying other users who are nearby is crucial for engagement. The team decided to use Amazon Device Messaging API and Amazon Maps API to help solve this issue. The device messaging and maps APIs allow users to really engage by integrating interactive maps directly into your app, as well as sending out push notifications from the cloud to the user. When your app relies heavily on social interaction, such as Soundtracker’s feature of commenting or discovering other users’ playlist selections, getting a user’s attention is one of the most important factors. By using these APIs, the team was able to see a consistent lift in engagement.
“Engagement in the Amazon Appstore increased by 400% in the last 6 months. Number of sessions, length of sessions, and number of tracks streamed per user increased on a weekly basis.”- Daniele Calabrese
So how long did it take for the team to integrate all these APIs? Daniele says “the process for development and testing altogether took only a week and the process was very straight forward”.
According to Daniele, “since performance has been successful with their current app on Kindle Fire” the team plans to expand even more into the Amazon ecosystem. The next step for the team is “integrating with Amazon’s music offering and getting their app on Amazon Fire TV.” Since the team has already qualified for Appstore Developer Select, the team can now qualify for the Appstore Developer Select Amazon Fire TV benefits as well by optimizing for the Amazon Fire TV. This includes enhanced on-device merchandising and a 500k Amazon Coins offer per qualifying app.
“I would recommend Amazon Appstore to other developers. Getting our app on Kindle Fire was very easy and it gives developers a great opportunity to distribute and monetize their apps.” – Daniele Calabrese
Today, Amazon announced Amazon Fire TV, a new device that makes it easy for users to stream movies, TV shows, and music as well as download apps and play games right on the HDTVs they already own. For developers, Fire TV can help you increase your customer base by putting your app in the living room, in front of people who enjoy entertainment and may not have seen your apps before. To promote rich user experiences, Fire TV enables full-featured game controllers, Dolby Digital Plus Certified surround sound and more. Android developers will find that developing for Fire TV is familiar, and optimizing their apps for the new controllers and TV display will not require learning a new language or new frameworks. Click here to learn more about how to setup your Fire TV developer environment.
A room with a large screen TV and surround sound audio is a great environment for gaming, and Fire TV has the performance to deliver a great gaming experience. From its inception, Fire TV has been designed around optimizing HDTV displays and powering demanding applications. It uses a Qualcomm Quad Core Snapdragon Krait 300 processor with Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB of RAM to support high performance game experiences. (See all the tech specs here).
Fire TV also supports a variety of controllers to let you design the best experience for your users. Fire TV supports a d-pad remote control, along with multi-function game controllers. Multi-function game controllers enable much more engaging gameplay for the TV than a typical d-pad remote can.
Second Screen is a technology that allows your Amazon Fire TV app to interact with other mobile devices using DIAL, an open standard that enables customers to discover and open apps on their television right from their tablet or phone. For example, a user can sit on their couch and use their Kindle Fire HDX to control an app running on their TV screen.
Running apps on a television opens up unique experiences for customers. Users are (on average) 10 feet away from the screen with different viewing habits and expectations. For example, users don’t need to stop what they are doing to view your app. Users can see the TV screen while they are making breakfast, unlike when they’re on phones or tablets. It is also easy for multiple people to have a good view of the TV at the same time, something which can be hard on PCs or mobile devices. There are several ways to use these large-screen characteristics to your advantage. One idea is to use the TV display productively during times it would otherwise be turned off. For example, you could display traffic and weather information on the TV or even show a family calendar or bulletin board app on the TV. Another idea is to use the screen size to support multi-player games in which the users can play concurrently, each able to see the screen without difficulty, each with their own game controller.
There are two kinds of controllers available for the Amazon Fire TV. They are:
The Fire TV remote and game controllers trigger logical default events, so the game controller will work predictably in standard Android UI widgets. For example, the Menu button on the controller will pass through to Android and invoke the Android context menu (OptionsMenu), and the Back button on the controller will be ingested like the back button in the Android UI. Events for the remote and game controller can be customized, and trigger special events you can detect.
Fire TV remote (shown below) comes with Amazon Fire TV. The remote supports the remote input events shown here. The D-pad on the remote fires keycode events (like KEYCODE_DPAD_UP) and navigates through standard Android controls, moving UI focus up, down, left and right. In many cases, navigation around your UI will work right out of the box and won’t require any special event handling. Since the remote is the default controller that ships with Amazon Fire TV, you should test to see that your app is functional with Amazon Fire TV remote, even if you have optimized for a game controller.
The Game Controller - Multiplayer support comes to your TV
The Amazon Fire game controller offers the same level of default support for standard Android navigation controls as the remote does, but optimizing your game for the game controller offers a lot of additional options; just take a look at the game controller controls in the picture below. Up to 7 game controllers can connect via Bluetooth to an Amazon Fire TV at any one time and each controller can be associated with a player ID, so multi-player support is a real option for you.
When a customer buys a Fire TV and registers with their Amazon Account, they are already set up with their verified Amazon Payment profile. Your user is ready to purchase apps or in-app items with no further effort. Amazon Fire TV supports the Amazon In-App-Purchasing API so you can offer consumable items, permanently entitled items, and even subscriptions for sale in your app.
To help you tune your gameplay and monetization implementation, Amazon offers A|B Testing and Analytics tools that can help you hone your app for maximum user retention and optimized monetization. And all of these tools work on Fire OS devices and Android devices, and most will work on iOS devices as well.
To make your app look sharp on a TV, you’ll want to make sure you have a layout for tvdpi and xhdpi to support the resolution on living room TV screens. Unlike most Android devices, Amazon Fire TV will render your app on 720p or 1080p screens of any size, so you should plan for a range of screen sizes. It is also important to remember that your user will typically be 10 feet away from the screen, and may appreciate larger controls and dialog boxes. Common tweaks to make apps look better on TV include:
Because you can use the Android code you’ve already written, getting started is easy.
Here are three steps you take to make your game or app available on Fire TV:
Once submitted and approved, depending on your app’s compatibility, a user may be able to purchase your app on Amazon Fire TV, Kindle Fire, the Amazon Appstore website, or on the Amazon Appstore of other compatible devices. This means that if your app is available for Kindle Fire devices, Android phones, and Amazon Fire TV, your user will be able to purchase your app once on any of those devices and use it across any of the other compatible devices. Not only does this expose your app to new users, it also makes your app available on more screens so it can be in front of your existing customers more often.
When you launch your app on Fire TV, you will be considered for the Appstore Developer Select program. As part of the Appstore Developer Select program, developers who support Fire TV can receive 500,000 Amazon Coins and create campaigns where customers earn those Coins when they purchase apps and games. This is in addition to the regular program benefits that include 500,000 mobile ad impressions, enhanced merchandising, AWS credits, and additional Amazon Coins incentives. See this blog post for more details on Appstore Developer Select.
While you can develop Android apps for Amazon Fire TV without an SDK, Amazon does provide an SDK you can download that includes sample code, Javadocs, two .jar files for controller support and messaging, and guidelines for fine-tuning formatting for HDTVs.
Amazon Fire TV resources
Amazon Appstore resources