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Android Tablet App Money War Widens

By Ryan Kim, GigaOM

The Kindle Fire and Nook Color are built to run on custom versions of Android, and their apps are essentially Android apps. But that hasn’t stopped Ansca Mobile, which makes a cross-platform app development tool called Corona, from releasing a software development kit today that supports the Kindle Fire and Nook Color separately. With one SDK, Ansca is helping developers build once to cover the increasingly fragmented Android market.

Ansca is making the argument that it makes sense for developers to treat those devices as separate opportunities because each platform has sufficient differences, and each has substantial money-making potential. The company, which has helped developers make more than 6,000 mobile apps, is extending support beyond iOS and Android to the Kindle Fire and Nook Color for all its paid Pro subscribers.

Ansca Mobile Co-Founder Walter Luh said differing hardware specifications, app review systems and app stores mean developers will already have to tweak their apps for each platform. For example, the Kindle Fire doesn’t come with GPS or a camera and can’t connect to native Google services like Gmail and Google Maps. Other things devs will have to tweak include adjusting Nook and Kindle Fire apps to use Barnes & Noble’s and Amazon’s own check-out systems for in-app purchases, plus submit their content to the respective retailers for editorial review.

Luh said leveraging the Corona SDK to hit iOS, Android, Kindle Fire and Nook Color not only simplifies the work developers need to do; it helps them take advantage of the potent selling opportunity on Kindle Fire and Nook Color devices. He said those devices are more like iPhones and iPads in their ability to get people to pay up for apps.

“Amazon and Barnes & Noble are forking [Android], and there will be slight differences that will be more manageable if you think of these devices as a different platform,” Luh said. “I think if you’re a developer trying to monetize, you’re going to be looking at iPhone and Amazon and possibly the Nook first because those are places where customers are proven to be willing to pay money.”

I wrote about the early results developers are seeing on the Kindle Fire, and it backs up Luh’s contention. Developers of paid apps do seem to be getting a boost because the Kindle Fire is purpose-driven to get people to buy things.
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