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Debugging on Amazon Kindle Fire - No Thanks to Amazon PDF Print E-mail

Me:  Hey Amazon, can I buy a Kindle Fire to test my apps on before you ship to the general public?

Amazon: No.  BTW, we've forked Android, but to get you started here's a two-paragraphs description of the features of the Fire so that you can create a VM image and "test" your apps.

Me: OK.  I know that you test everyone's apps yourself.  Do you know if my app works on Fire?

Amazon: It does not.  That's as much as we're going to tell you, however.  Good luck, and be sure to see our two paragraphs that describe the features of the Fire.

Me:  That sucks.  How can I test my app on an actual device?

Amazon: We recommend that you buy a Kindle Fire, so that you can develop new apps for the Fire.  Have you seen Angry Birds?  It works on the Fire.  You should get your app to work there too.  Make sure that you update the price of your app.

Me:  OK.  I got my Fire from FedEx today.  I plugged it in and it doesn't seem to have any way enable debugging.  What do you recommend?

Amazon: See our FAQ.  It has a two-paragraph description of the features of the Fire.  Use that to create a VM image on which you can test.  Have you seen Angry Birds?  You should write apps for the Fire.

Me: Hey, XDA, does anyone here know how to debug on the Kindle Fire?

XDA: Sure.  Just do this (http://blog.actlocalmedia.com/2011/11/developing-on-kindle-fire.html).

Hacking the State of the Union PDF Print E-mail

KeyesLabs is excited to release an experimental application, called State of the Union 2011, that is intended to explore the combination of TV and mobile computing devices.   Available immediately on the Google Android Market the app is designed to enhance the viewing experience for those who watch the State of the Union Address.

This is an unusual application in that it has a life span of about one hour.  It is designed for use during the State of the Union Address, which typically lasts somewhere between thirty and ninety minutes.  During that time we're hoping to gather some really interesting information about how mobile devices can enhance and augment the television viewing experience...

Amazon Appstore Shows 30% Conversion Rates PDF Print E-mail

 It's only been a bit over two days, but I'm very encouraged about a couple of things happening over at the Amazon Appstore.  First, it appears that the rankings are very dynamic, changing continually throughout the day.  Rankings have been a complaint of developers selling on the Google Android Market almost from day one.  There have been big changes on the Android Market, but the rankings are still a bit static and just as difficult to understand as they ever where.  There is no more transparency on Amazon, but I like how they call out "Hot New Releases" and "Movers and Shakers" as sub-categories under "Best Sellers".  They offer lots of ways for an app developer to get their app on some kind of temporal and constantly updated list...

Open YouTube Activity project launched by Keyes Labs PDF Print E-mail

Since posting a simple blog article in the fall of 2009 about how to render YouTube videos in an Android application, I've gotten a steady stream of developers downloading and using the Activity.  Since I don't have time to support the component myself, I've recently created a Google Code project as well as a Google Group for discussions.  My hope is that this will allow those that are interested to fix bugs and continue to evolve the software as a community.

Android Market Fragmentation Sucks PDF Print E-mail


The differences between the Google Android Market and Apple's iTunes App Store has been widely discussed.  Being an Android developer is generally not a lucrative undertaking.  Theories on the reasons for Android's lagging application market are many, including piracy, differences in market demographics, fundamentally different business objectives between Google and Apple, black helicopters, and the list goes on.

Development groups focused on Android application sales for revenue are very hard to find.  Now don't get me wrong, I love Android.  As a developer, I love everything about it.  The APIs are navigable and consistent, the documentation is comprehensible, the development environment is productive.  It is a pleasure to write software on this platform.  Google has some absolutely fantastic engineers that are evolving the platform at an amazing pace.  I develop for both iOS and Android, and I am also a user of both platforms.  Android wins for me, hands down.

At the same time, however, I'm becoming more than a little skeptical of the simple "write app, sell app" business model on Android.  KeyesLabs is one of the very lucky few to have attained any kind of commercial success in direct application sales on the Android Market.  We're not talking about buy-a-house success, more like buy-a-Prius success.  Screebl Pro is one of only 245 apps to have broken the 10,000 sales barrier.  That's 245 out of 48,107 paid applications.  With the average purchase price of Android apps being $3.27, another way to say this is that there are only 245 apps that have earned in the neighborhood of $30,000 or more total during their tenure on the Android Market.  Using the same average sales price, there are only 31 apps in the Android Market that have lifetime earnings in the $150,000 range or more.  Don't quit your day job...
A Global Piracy Heat Map PDF Print E-mail



With the release of Google's License Verification Library (LVL) and the subsequent cracking of applications that make use of LVL, the Android development community has been buzzing.  The Android Developers Google Group has several active threads discussing how LVL can be improved and what the best approach to solving piracy on the platform might be.

One Google engineer made an interesting statement in response to my claim that I thought a "culture of piracy" might be developing in the Android user community:

"If you are saying that [there's a culture of piracy] because you think most people are pirating Android apps...  I think your perception of things is probably pretty off.  I know lots of people who have Android devices, and none of them even think of turning on the option to install from external sources, let alone go out and find pirated apps." 

That's actually a really good point.  I don't know anyone that pirates apps.  The statement raised a very interesting question in my mind:  Who actually is pirating Android apps?  In my experience for my apps such as Screebl Pro, I've seen piracy rates that are very high (as I described in this blog posting). Things had gotten so bad, in fact, that we actually developed our own license verification solution some months before LVL in an attempt to stop piracy of our applications. 

But the question remains.  If I'm not pirating apps, and you aren't, and no one knows anyone who is, where is the piracy coming from?  In the case of my app, I thought it would be interesting to try and identify which parts of the world were spawning the most pirates.

Breaking News: iPhone NOT Headed to Verizon PDF Print E-mail



It's been widely reported (most notably by John Gruber) that Apple will begin selling iPhones through Verizon sometime early in 2011, most likely announced in January at CES

This isn't going to happen.  Sorry to burst the bubble of every tight-jeaned fanboy out there suffering from chronic coverage envy, but it's just not.  Here's why...

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