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Latest News from Microsoft and Amazon Regarding Android

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Microsoft Azure now has an Android SDK including notification push to Android devices. Amazon makes available a Mobile Ads API that can be used to display adds from their network on any Android device in parallel with those from Google AdMob.

Microsoft Azure Android SDK

Microsoft has announced an Android SDK for Windows Azure Mobile Services. Mobile Services helps developers connect their Windows 8, WP8, iOS and Android applications to several services running in Microsoft’s cloud in a scalable environment. Currently, Microsoft provides support for creating and managing data tables, authenticating users, and push notifications.

In order to add the above mentioned services to an Android application the developer can create the skeleton of the application through the Azure portal then download the code and load it into Eclipse. More detail are provided in this tutorial.

The Azure Android SDK includes three APIs for:

  • Data – connecting to Azure tables using “a fluent API for queries and automatic JSON serialization/deserialization.”
  • User Identification for Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter or Google accounts
  • Services Filtering creating a filtered pipeline for delivering service requests/responses in order

An interesting new feature is providing push notifications to Android devices through Google Cloud Messaging (GCM). A server running on Azure sends messages to GCM which in turn sends them to a device.

The Android SDK should be available on GitHub along with the other SDKs for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and iOS, but the code has not been uploaded on GitHub at the time of this writing. It will be there probably soon. The SDK supports Android 2.2+.

Amazon Mobile Ads API

Amazon has released Mobile Ads API (beta) enabling developers to display ads from Amazon and its partners. The API targets mainly Kindle Fire/HD but also any Android phone or tablet. The only condition set by Amazon is to publish such an app through its Mobile App Distribution Portal first, then through possibly other channels such as Google Play. Such an app could display both Amazon ads and Google AdMob.

Amazon promises “competitive eCPM” with “high-quality” ads for their own products and other brand advertisers. It remains to see if Google will take any countermeasures by forbidding such apps to be published in the Play Store due to obvious competing reasons.

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