Android developers: Go all-in with the Kindle Fire HD

Summary:The Android app landscape is so vast that individual apps have little chance to reach the proper audience. That could be changed with the proper approach to app development. Forget the dozens of Android tablets and target your app at the Kindle Fire HD for maximum effect.

Amazon Appstore jpg (300x202)

The Android landscape is vast with 1.3 million device activations per day. The target audience is big enough to obtain success with good app development, but only if apps get noticed by customers. Given the difficulty in getting an app noticed in the huge Google Play Store, a good alternative is writing apps for the Kindle Fire and releasing it first in the Amazon Appstore.

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What makes Android so attractive to developers is the huge installed user base. There are millions of potential buyers for apps, but that's why there are hundreds of thousands of apps in the Play Store. Very few apps make much money for developers as they are hard for buyers to find in the crowd.

The Amazon Appstore is a viable alternative for Android app developers. The success of the Kindle Fire in less than a year makes the Amazon Appstore more attractive then when it first launched. The Kindle Fire has garnered 22 percent of the tablet market in that short time, making it the biggest selling tablet not produced by Apple. That market share will get even bigger with the new Kindle Fire HDs coming to buyers in time for the holidays.

The Amazon Appstore is preinstalled on every Kindle Fire and the Google Play Store is not present. Savvy users can jump through some hoops and install the Play Store, but most Kindle Fire owners stick with the Amazon Appstore. That makes the Amazon store an attractive option for developers with its big audience and much less competition to contend with compared to the big Play Store.

Even with the hundreds of thousands of apps in the Google Play Store, there are very few written especially for tablets of any size. A good strategy for developers is to write apps especially for the tablet screen. An even better strategy is to write them for the Kindle Fire HD. 

A good tablet app takes full advantage of the display larger than the smartphone screen. A great tablet app senses the display resolution and optimizes the information displayed based on the resolution. The bigger the screen resolution the more information that can be displayed.

Evernote jpg
Evernote with sliding panes

A great method to optimize the display on tablets is to use sliding windows. This method allows the user to display exactly the information desired and permits changing the display on the fly. This method has been used to good effect on the iPad, and a good example of it is the Android Evernote app. Using such apps resonates with the individual and builds a loyal fanbase.

Releasing Kindle Fire apps in the Amazon Appstore first is sure to make Amazon happy. Apps optimized for the Kindle Fire HD tablets will probably be given good promotion by Amazon. It's almost a sure bet that a good Kindle Fire HD app will rise to the top quickly.

Don't forget that apps can be released in the Amazon Appstore and also the Google Play Store. Developers don't give up the right to sell apps in the main Android store when they sell in the Amazon shop. It might be smart to hold off on the Play Store for a while though to allow promotion of the apps as Kindle Fire apps. That increases the likelihood of getting good promotion by Amazon.

To recap, Android app developers should think about writing apps specifically for the Kindle Fire HD tablet. Forget all the other Android tablets and go for the most popular one. Optimize the app for the specific resolutions of the Kindle Fire HD display. Promote your app as a Kindle Fire app, not an Android tablet app. Reach for the largest market segment and you'll most likely get good attention from Amazon in the process.

Ultimately you can release the app in the Google Play Store. Be prepared to spend a lot of time and effort supporting all those different Android tablets when you do so.

Topics: Tablets, Amazon, Apps

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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