Amazon's device targeting eases shopping, compatibility headaches

Have you ever been confused by the various versions of an app in Amazon's Appstore?

Amazon hopes you'll be less befuddled with a new tool it's giving developers to consolidate how their programs appear in the app store of the Internet's largest retailer.

The tool, called Amazon Device Targeting, allows developers to tie the Android application package (APK) to a specific device. What that means for Appstore shoppers is a more unified experience when seeking and researching apps at the online outlet.

For example, all information like customer reviews, page views, downloads, and related material will be consolidated under a single title. Previously, that information was scattered among each device-specific title of the app.

That can benefit developers, too, Amazon points out, because consolidating information can improve an app's search and relevancy rankings.

What's more, Device Targeting creates a seamless device-optimized experience if you're using an app on multiple platforms. Best of all, it's invisible to you. You download a title and Amazon does the heavy lifting behind the scenes of choosing the correct version of the app for your device.

So if you own both a Kindle Fire HD and Android phone, for instance, when you go from the Kindle to the phone, the correct APK will be delivered to the handset based on screen and size density, OpenGL compression format, and API version.

"Customers will appreciate not having to sort the differences between Kindle Fire and regular editions of your app," Amazon tells developers in its Appstore blog. "Increasing a customer’s confidence around the correct app purchasing decision for their devices will enhance your app brand messaging, build customer trust and loyalty, decrease your catalog fragmentation, and strengthen your footprint on Amazon."

Kindle Fire HD

Amazon made things more complicated for developers when it introduced its new line of Kindle Fire HD tablets earlier this month. That line includes a 7-inch model ($199), 8.9-inch model ($299) and a 4G LTE model with 32GB of memory ($499).

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