With Amazon.com's Android-powered Kindle Fire tablet scheduled to begin shipping on Nov. 15, the online retailer states it is currently testing all applications in its Amazon Appstore for Android to guarantee each one delivers a quality user experience on the device. According to the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal FAQ, all apps available for download to Kindle Fire users must be optimized for non-Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Mobile Services Android 2.3.4 and a seven-inch screen with a resolution of 1024 x 600. "Your app cannot require a gyroscope, camera, WAN module, Bluetooth, microphone, GPS, or micro-SD to function," Amazon states. "In addition, your app must not be a theme or wallpaper that manipulates the user interface of the device."
In the event that an app requires access to Google Mobile Services, Amazon.com recommends that developers either remove features requiring 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')." Because Google's in-app purchase mechanisms rely on Google Mobile Services, the option will not be available across Kindle Fire apps--Amazon states it is at work on a solution that will enable developers to monetize in-app content using its own merchandising and payments technology. The solution is currently in beta and available on an invitation-only basis.
Amazon.com formally unveiled the Kindle Fire late last month. The tablet is perhaps most notable for its price: $199--more than half off the price of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) cheapest iPad, and also less than rival Barnes & Noble's seven-inch Nook Color and Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry Playbook. The Kindle Fire is also significantly cheaper than existing Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and HTC Flyer. In addition to Amazon's Appstore for Android, the Kindle Fire offers consumers access to the Kindle e-book catalog and the Amazon Instant Video and Amazon MP3 digital storefronts--it also touts a customized browser, Amazon Silk, that interfaces with Amazon's EC2 cloud server to accelerate the data consumption experience and also supports Adobe Flash.
Analysts are expecting big things from the seven-inch Kindle Fire. Forrester Research anticipates Amazon will sell approximately 3 million units by the end of 2011, even though the Kindle Fire doesn't start shipping until Nov. 15, considered late in the context of the holiday shopping season. "Amazon will sell millions of tablets, and the rapid-fire adoption of the Kindle Fire will give app developers a reason--finally--to develop Android tablet apps," Forrester senior analyst Sarah Rotman Epps writes. "Apple's place as market leader is secure, but Amazon will be a strong number two, and we expect no other serious tablet competitors until Windows 8 tablets launch."
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