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Amazon adds testing tools to app developer's arsenal

07 Dec 2012
Amazon's new Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD tablets

Amazon has unveiled a testing feature for developers working on apps used in the Amazon AppStore.

A/B testing allows for app developers to simultaneously test out different variants of apps in a marketplace. The tool is used as a way for developers to find out what features work best for their app.

"Apps are living products continuously being updated, modified and improved, and with millions of potential active users, developers know that seemingly small changes can have a large impact on customers," said director of Amazon Games Mike Frazzini.

"Our A/B Testing service is essential for developers because it will help offload the overhead costs of building, maintaining and running scalable tests. We've drawn from our years of experience conducting and refining our own A/B testing on to bring developers a testing product that will give them the capability to perfect their apps, retain customers, and grow their business."

A/B testing is a developer practice that aims to make it possible for developers to update apps on the fly. By using the tool developers can set two slightly adjusted apps into the wild and see how certain features react with consumers.

Once apps are in the wild developers can see statistics from both variants and judge which app works best in real-time. As an example, Amazon shared how a developer could change their apps home screen to see if a certain adjustment would lead to more in-app purchases.

Amazon's offering is unique for the mobile app world. Apple's App Store requires third-party workarounds to implement A/B testing because of the long wait time involved in Apple app approvals. Android's Google Play store also only offers A/B testing through third-party channels.

Amazon's decision to offer A/B testing tools internally adds to the firms continuing attempts to get more developers into the Amazon app marketplace.

The internet giant currently offers developers tools like Kindle Fire emulators and localisation support on top of A/B testing.

During its announcement Amazon also claimed its AppStore has grown over 500 percent on a year-to-year basis. The news could be a boon for Amazon, which has to contend with the much larger ecosystems of rivals like Android and iOS.

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James Dohnert

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club,, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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