December 19, 2014

Amazon Adds HTML5 App Support to Fire TV and Fire TV Stick

Amazon recently announced that it has added full support for publishing HTML5 apps for the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. The company hopes this will create many new opportunities and encourage apps developed specifically for the platform, and not simply ones adapted from the more prevalent mobile device segment. However, developers with existing apps are more than welcome to convert theirs to an Amazon Fire TV or TV Stick-friendly format.

Official HTML5 support grants users access to a much broader range of content for their TVs, as well as a new method of working with existing applications that were developed for Android (NewsAlert)-based Amazon Fire tablets and the Amazon Fire smartphone. Amazon has expanded its WebView tools, which allow developers to push existing hosted HTML5 Web apps onto its line of Fire TV devices using essentially the same workflow.

Developers can now use JavaScript to access Amazon's In App Purchase API, and are provided with a starter template optimized for what Amazon has dubbed the "10 foot experience." In addition to the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV stick remotes, the WebView tools provide access to analog input from the Amazon Fire TV Game Controller.

The Amazon WebView supports everything that is expected from the mobile version of Chromium, such as WebGL, GPU-optimized CSS3 Transitions and blindingly fast JavaScript code execution. It also supports the Gamepad API and accelerated canvas for high-quality Web games. The company suggests developers sell their Web apps for a premium price, use its API for In App Purchases and distribute them alongside native Android apps and games.

"In addition to our launch partners, we are excited to see what developers come up with to help push HTML5 forward onto the big screen," Amazon wrote in its announcement. "Through the Amazon Appstore on Fire TV devices developers can now deploy Web apps and games to a whole new audience. HTML5 is a great cross platform choice for developers and we are now enabling them to reach even more customers than before."

Developers with apps already optimized for the 10-foot experience can get started with making it available for TVs by downloading Amazon's Web App Tester on a Fire TV or Fire TV Stick, and entering the app's name and URL.

Edited by Alisen Downey


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