Amazon wants to give developers big reasons to build for its Appstore for Android. Today Amazon announced a major incentive program for developers interested in building for the Amazon Appstore by promising premium placement, 500,000 mobile ad impressions, credits for Amazon Web Services and the ability for users to earn digital currency for purchasing the apps.
Amazon has been pushing hard over the last year to get developers to build for its Appstore that serves apps and games to its Kindle Fire tablets. The new “Appstore Developer Select” program is an extension of that agenda. The rewards are bountiful… if developers build premium Kindle Fire apps.
To qualify for the program, developers need to go whole hog into Amazon’s developer environment. That means using Amazon’s APIs for Fire OS (the forked version of Android that Amazon uses for its Kindle Fire) including consumer features such as Amazon’s GameCircle, In-App Purchasing and Mobile Ads. Amazon Appstore apps available for the program must be able to render natively on high-definition screens.
Users that buy these premium apps will receive 250 Amazon Coins and receive 30% off the purchase of future Coins. Amazon Coins are a digital currency that Amazon users can return for digital goods within an app.
Incentivizing Developers With A Push Towards A Smartphone
Amazon is not the first company to offer major incentives to developers to build for its platform.
Microsoft has long been known for the practice, having outright paid developers cash to build apps for Windows and Windows Phone but also (more commonly) offering developers resources such as cloud computing and storage and other tools to build for Windows. In the early days of Apple’s Appstore and Google Android Market (now the Google Play Store) both companies offered developers support for building for their platforms. BlackBerry had a similar program this year called “Built For BlackBerry” that gave developers premium placement in its app store.
Amazon’s incentive program comes as rumors of two Amazon smartphones surface once again. Amazon has been rumored to be building a smartphone for several years but none of the rumors have come to fruition. Amazon is reported to be working on two smartphones—a low-to-mid range device and a high-end device with a 3D capable screen—in its California gadget lab that has produced the company’s Kindle Fire and e-reader tablets. The rumors are too precise and too prevalent for Amazon to not be at least testing out smartphone concepts. Whether the rumored devices ever make it to the consumer market is a different story.
Amazon is not naïve. The company is well aware that it will need a robust application ecosystem already in place if it hopes for a successful entry into the smartphone wars dominated by Apple and Samsung. Amazon knows that it cannot release a smartphone with a vague promise that “apps are coming” in the same way that Microsoft and BlackBerry have struggled to build developer attention to their mobile platforms.
Amazon also released two new Kindle Fire tablets that have a major hardware bump over the previous generation. The Kindle Fire HDX has a 1920x1200 display on its 7-inch screen and sports a quad-core 2.2 GHZ processor.