Amazon Improves Android App Compatibility with Device Targeting

With the launch of the Kindle Fire HD Amazon has begun to offer increasingly sophisticated Android tablets with specialized needs and abilities.  And today they made it easier for app developers to target the specific Kindle Fire models as well as other Android devices.

With the launch of our Kindle Fire HD family of devices, we are introducing a new feature called Amazon Device Targeting, which offers you the ability to target APKs to specific devices.  While it is easy to support optional APIs and device capabilities within a single binary, you may decide that it is easiest for your apps to generate different binaries for the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD.   For each title, you can now offer separate APKs for Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD 7″, Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, and general Android (all non-Amazon) devices.

If you’ve browsed the Amazon Appstore then you might have seen some apps which say they were developed for the Kindle Fire, while a similar app from the same developer doesn’t say that. With this new move Amazon is going to make it easier for developers to simply list an app once for all devices. Assuming that the developer uploaded several different versions of the app, Amazon will be able to serve the correct version for smartphones, the Kindle Fire, and the Kindle Fire HD. This move should reduce confusion, duplication, and make it easier for buyers to find the app they want.

This is a good thing for users as well as developers. It should make it easier for app developers to offer simply improvements like graphics customized for the specific screen dimensions of Amazon’s various tablets. This is something I wish they were already doing now; Angry Birds, for example, looks shrunken on the KFHD as compared to the Kindle Fire. The app uses the same graphics on each device so they end up looking smaller on the higher resolution screen.