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Up To $15,000 in Incentives Offered To Amazon Fire Smartphone Developers

Amazon.com Inc. is offering up to 1.5 million Amazon Coins -- equivalent to $15,000 -- to developers who build qualifying apps optimized for the company's new Fire smartphone.

To bolster the number of apps in its Appstore, Amazon is offering 500,000 coins -- the equivalent of $5,000 in real currency -- for each qualified paid app or certain apps capable of in-app purchasing. Developers can collect the virtual cash incentives for up to three apps, for a total of 1.5 million Amazon coins, the equivalent of $15,000. The coins can be spent on Appstore merchandise

The company also announced new SDKs for the phone's special capabilities.

After releasing the Fire smartphone last week with advanced features such as 3D display capability, Amazon is seeking to bolster the quantity and quality of its Appstore.

Ahead of the launch, Amazon courted developers by reporting strong Appstore growth and monetization opportunities.

The store has about 154,000 apps that work on the phone, compared to about 1.2 million for the Google Play store and the Apple App Store. The Appstore includes some 240,000 total apps, many running on other devices such as the Kindle.

The new incentive program is offered as part of the Appstore Developer Select merchandising program.

To qualify, paid-for apps (free apps aren't eligible) must meet several requirements. As listed by Amazon in a developer blog post, criteria include:

  • All apps must implement an app widget using the Home API to display contextual information when the app is brought to the forefront on the device Carousel.
  • Non-game apps must implement either (or both) of the left and right panels using Foundation Controls or the Dynamic Perspective SDK.
  • Games must use the Dynamic Perspective SDK to create an in-game experience that responds to a user’s motion relative to the device. Note that games that merely replace swipe-based controls or gyro functionality with head tracking will not qualify. The game must use head tracking to implement an in-game experience. Examples include the ability for a user to pan and zoom the field of view in a game by moving the device back or forward or the ability to rotate the device about any axis to change the viewing angle of the surroundings.

Amazon said developers who are awarded the coins can use the company's Promotions Console as incentives for consumers to purchase their apps or make in-app purchases.

Applications for the program are due by July 18 in order to be approved and available in the store by the official launch of the Fire one week later.

The vast majority of apps listed in the first 60 Appstore offerings sorted by "new and popular" are free. Of the few paid apps, Minecraft has the most downloads, with more than 19,000, and the highest price, $6.99.

Amazon is offering further help to developers via a mobile ad API that will provide cash rewards for displayed ads and an app testing service. The company also last week announced Dynamic Perspective and Firefly SDKs to help developers target the new platform and take advantage of its unique features.

"The Dynamic Perspective SDK includes a rich set of APIs and Controls to help developers do a number of things, such as incorporate peek, tilt and zoom capabilities within their app based on customer head movements, create immersive game play that includes depth, or provide quick navigation menus by tilting the device to the left or right," the company said.

"With the Firefly SDK, developers can build apps that recognize real-world objects -- QR and bar codes, artwork, songs, movies and more -- and let customers interact with them," Amazon said. "The Firefly SDK comes with built-in recognizers and databases for products, music, movies, URLs and Web sites, as well as built-in actions such as dialing a phone number, looking up an object on Amazon or going to a Web site. Developers can use the Firefly SDK to take advantage of the built-in recognizers, databases and actions."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for 1105 Media.

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