Amazon unveiled two new Kindle Fire HD devices last week, a 7-inch and an 8.5-inch tablet set to begin shipping in November. Developers who are looking to capture a coveted feature status for their Kindle apps may want to consider optimizing their apps for Kindle Fire HD, and soon. It's probably safe to assume HD-targeted apps will get feature status over other apps not yet optimized for the Kindle Fire HD
Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD has a clear advantage over Google’s Nexus 7, with its healthy market penetration among existing Amazon App Store users and owners of the flagship Kindle Fire. This happens to be Amazon's value proposition to app developers:
"Millions of Kindle Fire customers have already bought apps, and customers who buy Kindle tablets are pre-registered, so they can immediately begin downloading and playing apps. Because our 1-Click purchase experience is secure and easy to use, it increases conversion rates for your apps, thereby delivering a strong return on investment."
Amazon also enticed developers with its updated SDK and other resources, such as, international distribution, localization, AWS support and device targeting to name a few. The Amazon App Store Developer program is currently free to join, with its $99 annual fee being waived for 2012. Royalties are still 70 percent for paid apps. It should also be noted that the Google Play store offers the same payout, but requires a one-time $50 developer registration fee. Developers are not tied to either store since both allow non-exclusive distribution.
Under the hood
Kindle Fire HD devices run on a modified version of Android 4.0.3 (ICS). This is a welcome upgrade from the Gingerbread (Android 2.3) base of the original Kindle Fire. Even with the move to Android 4.0.3, the new Kindle Fires still do not support push notifications. There are a few other additions worth mentioning: gyroscope, compass, Bluetooth, GPS, Dolby Digital Plus audio post-processing and more. The high quality Android tablet market is heating up. Now is a good time to format apps for the upcoming November release. What iOS apps would you like to see on an Android tablet in HD?