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Summary:

With multiple Amazon Kindle Fire tablets that differ in screen size, display resolution and even hardware capabilities, how will developers manage their mobile apps across the platform? A new “device targeting” feature will help and it supports Android devices through Amazon’s app store as well.

Kindle Fire HD

Amazon added a new developer feature called “device targeting” on Monday, which will making it easier for device owners to find the right applications for their particular smartphone or tablet. Mobile app developers can use device targeting to build multiple versions of their software so that the correct version is installed from Amazon’s Appstore for Android, regardless of the device. By allowing this, Amazon can help reduce or even eliminate any potential application fragmentation of software that works on some Kindle Fires, but not on others.

Here’s how Amazon explains it:

“While it is easy to support optional APIs and device capabilities within a single binary, you may decide that it is easiest for your apps to generate different binaries for the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD.   For each title, you can now offer separate APKs for Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD 7″, Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, and general Android (all non-Amazon) devices. “

This type of feature is needed now more than ever for Amazon. Why? Because instead of just supporting various Android phones and tablets with different hardware and screen sizes, the company has recently expanded its own line of devices. The original 7-inch Kindle Fire is now supplemented by a higher resolution Kindle Fire HD in both 7- and 8.9-inches.

Developers could simply try to manage the variances from within a single application so that their software automatically works in the proper combination of resolution and screen size, but Amazon is now supporting the ability to create apps specific to the different hardware combinations. This could mean vastly better tablet apps for the higher resolution Kindle Fires similar to the improved iPad apps that iOS developers made instead of scaled-up iPhone software.

Amazon says this new device targeting support helps in three ways:

  • Better search relevancy for your app. Instead of having multiple apps (i.e. an HD version and a SD version) for a single title, your app’s Customer Reviews, page views, downloads, etc. are consolidated to a single app—pushing your app up in search and relevancy rankings.
  • Reduced customer confusion. Customers won’t be confused by multiple device-specific versions of your app.
  • Device-specific feature optimization. You can tailor your APK for screen size and density, OpenGL compression format, and API version.

From a consumer standpoint, this should improve the Amazon Appstore for Android experience, and not just on Amazon’s Kindle Fire. Any Android device that has the Appstore loaded will benefit, which could in turn lead to more app sales for developers along with additional app revenues for Amazon. That’s important as Amazon has previously sold its Kindle Fire near cost, if not below, in order to get consumers to make Amazon-related purchases.

  1. Adams Brautigam Monday, September 24, 2012

    As a a mobile app developer I am happy that Amazon is taking this kind of initiative in helping customers get the most compatible app for their phones/tablets.
    Sincerely,
    Larry Addles
    http://www.abmobileapps.com

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  2. “While it is easy to support optional APIs and device capabilities within a single binary, you may decide that it is easiest for your apps to generate different binaries”

    OR…. you may actually have a good platform that already incorporates this functionality so that developers do not have to worry about it.

    Windows runs on zillions of combinations of monitors/videocards/nics/usb devices/ etc… Have you ever heard any developer having to issue multiple versions of their apps for each hardware combination? Windows Phone supports many different resolutions and hardware capabilities? Was there ever a need to publish multiple apps for different phones? iOS also has different (although much limited) devices with different resolutions and processors.

    Android is a disgrace. It is a cancer, plague of the industry. It is surviving because it is “free” (as in beer) (well not even that with all the patent violations) and must be eliminated before it brings back dark ages.

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    1. It is not necessary to support every Android phone. In fact it is probably better for developers to focus on a specific market and a handful of dominating phones and/or tablets.

      At this point forget anything below ICS.

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    2. A Different Doug Thursday, October 4, 2012

      “Android is a disgrace. It is a cancer, plague of the industry.”
      I love it.

      Seeing that one Android device has an app and that another does not, doesn’t give a lot of confidence in the platform. With all the choices out there, you never know if you’re purchasing a device that will run the same apps that another Android device does. What is the point in that?

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