So today was the annual Amazon Developer Summit, this year hosted right next to Liverpool St station in London.
Rather disappointing, there was no goodie bag on entry this year (last year everyone got a free Amazon Fire stick and a load of other Amazon merch), but the registration process did feel far smoother (with the exception of name badges ordered by first name?!)
The big points this year were that while tablet sales generally seem to be plateauing across the industry, Amazon Fire tablet sales are still going great guns. This is largely due to the really cheap price point (less than £150 for a ten inch tablet?!). Amazon don’t make any money on the hardware – it’s all about the apps they monetise. So unsuprisngly, a lot of the event was about encouraging developers to write better and more engaging apps (they put a lot of effort into showing off how great the Amazon ecosystem is for games, including having a session on game design documents and talk by Oscar Clark from Unity). There were plenty of lessons about how to monetise, from practical demonstrations of integration in-app purchases to submitting content feeds to showcase and surface content on Amazon Fire TV. There was also an interesting demo on how Amazon are progressing physical product sales on Fire TV – during some content there’s a small red price tag that enables you to purchase relevent physical products. It feels a bit unatural at the moment, but so did using voice when Amazon Echo launched 3 years ago.
Speaking of which, obviously voice was a big deal this year. From the cool always-on Alexa on the new 10-inch Fire tablet, to the really cool demo by Danilo Poccia on how to build a voice activated security camera using AWS and rasberry pi (do yourself a favour, have a play with Amazon Lex and Polly). Voice control and interaction is definitely here to stay is only going to get better and open up more experiences.
So while these kind of events are always about Amazon pushing hard to get you to write apps to help them support their bottom line, it’s fair to say they have a bunch of interesting tech that you can leverage to make some really interesting and engaging apps that appeal to a large audience that are willing to pay. Which means there’s definitely money in it for you, and more importantly, Amazon will keep earning money so they can afford to throw free events like this. Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch…