Why isn’t Oxygen on Kindle Fire? (The Amazon Saga)

We worked hard, we worked well, we bought a whole bunch of Kindle Fire devices in the office thinking they are pretty awesome. Then we submitted Oxygen to the Amazon Appstore with the expressed hope of getting it on Kindle Fire. Unfortunately, the path for approval is, shall we say, murky.

And clearly, since the Kindle has only 8% of the apps that are available on Google Play, there is something going on. There are insufficient Kindle Fire optimized apps in the market compare to the iPad or even the Nexus 7.

As much as we want Oxygen to be on the Kindle Fire. It isn’t. And this is what happened:

April 17th

Upon our submission to Amazon Appstore, I made sure to inquire whether anything special is needed in order to get on to Kindle Fire. The following response made me very optimistic: “We will automatically review your app for Kindle Fire. … You will be notified by e-mail if we determine your binary needs adjustments to become Kindle Fire compatible.”

April 30th
Our app was accepted by Amazon Appstore and the approval email contained the following line: “…Please note that we may review your app separately for Kindle Fire…”

I noted and waited very patiently for a month. During this period I did not submit new versions in case it might interfere with the process.

May 29th
I wrote to Amazon support: “I was told that our app will be automatically considered for Kindle Fire, however it has been a month and I have yet to receive any feedback regarding it being accepted or rejected. We also would like to submit a new version however I am reluctant to do so in case it will interfere with the acceptance process to Kindle Fire.”

The next day they responded with: “We review each app individually for Kindle Fire. We consider a variety of factors as we evaluate each app, including the quality of experience the app offers on Kindle Fire and compatibility with the device. While our goal is to offer a broad and compelling assortment to Kindle Fire customers, not all apps available through Amazon are currently available on Kindle Fire. We will note your app name and case number, and if we do have additional information to provide, we will reopen this case and reach out to you directly.”

Immediately I followed up: “Your response assumes that my app was rejected from Kindle previously, however I have received no such information. Could you please confirm that it was rejected before and if so then let me know what needs to be improved? If it was never considered before, please consider the latest version I have submitted.”

(By then I have already submitted a new version of Oxygen to Amazon Appstore, seeing that it probably will have no effect on the Kindle approval process.)

Quickly I received the following repetition of the last part: ”…We do not have any further information available at this time. We have noted your app name and case number, and if we do have additional information to provide, we will reopen this case and reach out to you directly…”

June 5th
The new version was accepted by Amazon Appstore, and as always the automatic message said: “Please note that we may review your app separately for Kindle Fire…”

I noted. This time waited a week and wrote back: “I would like to inquire regarding the review of my application for Kindle Fire. Due to the fact that there is no way to check the status online, I have no choice but to apply to support. Is the application in review? Did it fail? If it failed, what steps should I take to fix it?”

The next day the following response awaited in my mailbox: “…We consider a variety of factors as we evaluate each app, including the quality of experience the app offers on Kindle Fire and compatibility with the device. While our goal is to offer a broad and compelling assortment to Kindle Fire customers, not all apps available through Amazon are currently available on Kindle Fire.”

Hmm… Where have I heard this before?

Again, I was not satisfied with the automatic text and responded immediately: “So you are saying that there is no way to receive specific feedback with regard to a particular application? There is no comprehensive way to see the review process for Kindle Fire as there is for the general Amazon App Store? If my application is not up to par to be received in Kindle Fire, I cannot make it better if I do not know why it is not received.”

With diminishing hope I read the response – “…As you are aware, there is an additional testing process for Kindle Fire compatibility – both for apps and for app updates. Not all apps that are offered in Amazon Appstore for Android are currently available on Kindle Fire. I do not have any additional information to provide you, but I have noted your app name and case number, and if we do have additional information that we can provide you, we will reach out to you directly.”

We have not heard back from Amazon ever since. Our issue remains unresolved.

I will say this for Amazon support, they are very quick and polite in their immediate automated responses. But if you want to install Oxygen on your Kindle Fire, you will have to root your device and use Google Play for now…

- Miri Pruzan
Engineering Program Manager aka Queen of Oxygeneering

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