Amazon is hoping the Fire Phone will be a hit with consumers despite the higher than expected price and AT&T exclusivity. To make its case, the retailer is looking to ensure there are plenty of apps and games that take advantage of the device's unique features. Developers can get up to $15,000 in Amazon coins to give away to users if they go along. There are some caveats, of course, but that's a lot of free money.


First of all, it's not a single $15,000 lump for a single app. Amazon is offering 500,000 coins per app ($5,000) and you can do this with up to three apps per developer account. There are also rules about what the app or game needs to do in order to qualify for the payout. Here's what devs have to know.

  • 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 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.

Basically, Amazon wants to see apps and games that aren't Fire Phone compatible in name only. Developers need to add new functionality that takes advantage of Amazon's updated Fire OS features to have a shot at getting the 500,000 coin promo award. Who knows whether or not that'll be enough...


Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    uh, why would a developer need amazon coins?

    • kalo88

      To give to customers by downloading the app.... an incentive to get people to try their app?

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        Oh, they can actually do that on Amazon's store? Cool!

        Too bad Google Play doesn't have such feature because they are using real currency

        • KojiroAK

          Why shouldn't that be possible?
          Gift card amounts are also bound to Google Play.

          It's just, Google doesn't need to do such a thing, developers have far enough incentive to optimize their apps for features found on Google Android devices, just to be more likely bought/used.
          Amazon on the other hand needs to convince developers to actually invest time in this features, when there are just a few potential user.

          Rests to see if 5000$ in Amazon coins developers can give away is considered enough to justify the efforts.

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        • Simon Belmont

          Not exactly the same thing, but I'd love to be able to gift an app to someone. I use my currency but I give the app to someone else.

          Steam allows gifting of games. Shouldn't be too hard to pull off with Android.

        • archercc

          Google does have the advantage of the most widely used mobile OS, so they really don't need to bribe developers to update their apps.

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            Um, what I meant is there is no feature for developers to give a % of the app/game cost back to the consumer as an incentive and a "thank you" for buying it, like if you had a game or an app priced at 4$, you'd buy if for full price, and then the dev would return you 25% of the cost, or 1$, as an incentive

          • Simon Belmont

            Sure they do. App sales.

            You can pretty much achieve the same effect with your $4 app example. Just have a sale and charge $3, and there's the incentive to buy it (the discount).

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            That's kinda different, it has a different impact on the user IMO

          • Simon Belmont

            Different means. Same end.

            Either way the user gets the app for $3. The developer sells an app.

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            The way I look at it - if a new developer puts out an app and puts a 4$ pricetag on it, and then lowers it to 3$ after some time - that probably means that the dev isn't putting out a decent app which is worth spending 4$ on it, and tries to lure more people by lowering the price thus entering an entirely different pricepoint (and I really mean that, people who are looking for apps that cost less or equal to 3$)

            But if the same dev charged you with 4$ but returned 1 just in a way of saying thanks because he actually put some effort and is searching for more people to spread the word (and generosity is a great way of doing so) - it would make the same app really worth the 4$ tag, becasue why the hell not? You'd get 1$ back, and 3$ is less of a loss even if the app is sloppy than 4$

          • KojiroAK

            Give back 1$ they only can use on stuff on Play vs. having 1$ more they can spend anything they want for people who pay by credit card or carrier billing for people who pay by gift cards they both ways have one dollar more to spend on Play.

            Also apps can be brought up to a higher price again after a sale as well. Get yourself App Sales on Android, there you see this happens all the time.
            The only thing not possible on Google Play is, making the app free and revert it back to paid again later.

          • KojiroAK

            For that they just could lower the price.
            And I wouldn't see a really good reason for a developer to give you back money so you can buy other apps which probably aren't from their.

          • guest

            Speak for yourself. It is offensive that Google charges developers $1500 to develop for Glass or $1000 to develop for Tango. They really should be giving developers free hardware to develop for their platform. Either way they will get the sort of developers they deserve...

          • KojiroAK

            By selling the devices for this amounts, they rather make sure, that only developers who have a genuine interest in developing for the device to buy them. It still isn't a waranty but it prevents a big part people who just say they want develope for it to get one and then don't develope at all or just some short tries.

            But I'm pretty sure, if and when Glass hit's the massmarket Google will give some out at a Google I/O.

  • John Moore

    I honestly have no idea what they could possibly do with that many Amazon coins.

    • Clint P

      They can be given to users as an incentive to try out their app.

    • APOI

      give it back to Amazon by buying stuff from Amazon ;-)

      • KojiroAK

        You mean by buying Apps from Amazon and this make it look like their App store is used more frequently?

        • APOI

          You Are A Very Smart Guy , you got it absolutely correctly ;-)

          • KojiroAK

            Nah, I rather would call Amazon smart to come up with such a plot.
            They (want to) bring developers to support their new device by making them make PR for the Amazon Store (and potential concurrents).
            Except for the plan of "Guest" above I think as a developer I wouldn't do so.

    • Guest

      Put out an app with IAPs and buy them.

  • Chad

    Here's the proof that Amazon may not be too sure within itself about whether the Fire will fly or not, they are already spreading incentives to devs.

    • Simon Belmont

      I watched a couple hands-on videos of it. It's cool, but the UI and 3D perspective changing kind of comes off as gimmicky, IMO.

      It's a nice crowd pleaser, but I'm not sure how good it will be to use in practice for long periods of time. I guess I'd have to reserve my final judgment on that and the shaking of the phone to open sub-menus and stuff until I mess with one in person.

      • Chad

        I agree. I wouldn't mind checking one out, Amazon does a pretty good job with hardware. But as you said the UI is something they always seem to struggle with. I don't like the UI on any of the Kindle's either. Not to mention the Amazon Store to me always seemed like a bothersome bratty little cousin to the Play Store, I hate the fact they are all Android apps but between Google Play and the Amazon Store it seems like you have to have 2 different set of apps. Time will tell.

        • Simon Belmont

          Agree on the Fire OS. I've never been a big fan of it.

          Frankly, I liked the Nook Color's stock OS more because it felt more like a regular tablet interface. Plus they let you use the Google Play Store. But everyone voted with their wallets and bought Kindles. Haha.

  • someone755

    Insert cat meme picture:
    Text: I should become a developer

  • Jadephyre

    And why would anyone develop for this expensive piece of kit? For the novelty of four front-facing cameras providing a fancy tilt-effect? You couldn't give this POS to me, even if it meant saving my life with it.

  • NinoBr0wn

    lol I'm Amazon rich son!

  • Aki I.

    They need to get apps worth getting first. The selection stinks. They have been giving away free coins for a while i I can't find a decent so worth getting.

  • fcjan

    desperate much Amazon?

  • JazzEspresso

    deja vu!? remember when Blackberry got Android runtime stuff in their Blackberry playbook and beg developer to port their apps?

    we all know what was the outcome...