Amid a slew of developer-focused announcements from Amazon today focused on things like using AWS for app testing, and the arrival of a new API Gateway service, for example, the company also introduced the new “Amazon Fling” service. Available as an SDK for iOS and Android applications, Amazon Fling allows developers to build apps that can send media content to Amazon’s Fire TV as well as work as “second screen” or companion apps to what’s already running on Fire TV.
“Flinging,” which is basically Amazon’s own version of Chromecast’s “casting,” lets a mobile app maker send a video, audio or images from their iOS or Android app to a user’s big screen TV by way of the Amazon Fire TV media player. It does this by simplifying the underlying network discovery and communication technologies that would otherwise be difficult to implement, the company explains.
With Amazon Fling, Amazon made a point to appeal to developers who are already leveraging Chromecast functionality in their apps by making it possible to integrate the new Amazon SDK with an existing Android or iOS Chromecast app. To simplify the process, the company released developer documentation that explains how to modify an existing app that’s using the Google Cast Companion Library to also support Amazon Fling.
In addition to flinging media, the SDK also lets developers build out companion apps that work with Fire TV, says Amazon.
At launch, the company pointed to a couple of examples of apps that were already taking advantage of its new toolkit. One is Karaoke Party, which displays song lyrics and videos on Amazon Fire TV while consumers sing into their smartphone as the microphone. The app developer, Red Karaoke, uses the SDK to send the audio from the phone to the TV.
Another app, Rivet Radio, lets users listen to news on the TV. The app maker in this case has adopted the SDK to allow its listeners to transition between using the app on their phone to letting everyone in the room listen in via the TV.
Developers who have already built an Amazon Fire TV app can use the SDK to both control their app, if it’s already installed, or remotely install it if not. For developers without an Amazon Fire TV app, they’re able to use the Amazon Fire TV media player instead.
The introduction of the SDK expands the possibilities for app developers who build media-focused, consumer-facing apps, as previously, “flinging” was something that Amazon supported between its compatible Kindle Fire devices (Kindle Fire HDX and Fire Phone) and Fire TV. Meanwhile, for iOS and Android users, Amazon Fire TV has supported standards like DIAL, which allows for flinging from services like YouTube, Spotify and Netflix. Fire TV also supported device mirroring from Fire OS and Android devices from Motorola, LG and Google.
But the Amazon Fling SDK makes it easier now for mobile developers to implement “flinging” support for their apps as well as take advantage of two-way communication between the media player and smartphone.