Amazon names initial apps, lights 'fire' under developers

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Yelp are among the apps being developed for Fire, said Amazon

Many of the most popular mobile apps look set to be available on Amazon's new Fire smartphone when it launches on July 25.

The company said Wednesday that versions of Twitter, Facebook, Pandora, Skype, Dropbox, Instagram, Yahoo, Uber and Yelp are among those being developed for Fire. The phone runs on a modified version of Google's Android OS and relies on the Amazon Appstore -- something that means the full catalog of Android apps won't be available to users.

But with Wednesday's announcement, which came hours after the Fire was announced at a news conference in Seattle, Amazon is apparently trying to avoid the problems experienced by Microsoft and BlackBerry, which faced criticism and bad publicity when they launched new phone platforms with major apps missing.

Amazon is giving mobile developers a month to prepare and submit their apps if they want them included in the Amazon Appstore on launch day. The company said Wednesday that apps submitted by July 18 will make it into the Appstore for July 25.

"Fire is based on Android so if an app runs on Android it can run on Fire with little to no work," according to Amazon.

Others in development for Fire include Candy Crush, Chase banking, iHeartRadio, Flixster, MapQuest, Mint.com, NBC News, Orbitz, Pinterest, Snowspin, Stage Dive Legends, SquareHub, StubHub, Terreria, The Walking Dead, USA Today, The Washington Post, wine app Vivino, WebMD, WhatsApp and Zillow.

It should be noted that the development work on an app doesn't guarantee it will be available, but Amazon is expressing confidence that they will be.

Amazon also published software development kits (SDKs) that will allow developers to access two of the Fire phone's key technologies for their apps: Firefly, which recognizes items in the real world, and Dynamic Perspective, which adds peek, tilt and zoom effects to the screen.

Amazon said Zillow, a real-estate listings app, is using the dynamic perspective SDK to allow users to "use their head to zoom in on a bedroom or peek to see what's around the kitchen corner." The system utilizes cameras on the front of the phone that track the user's head and allow the display to be adjusted depending on that head movement.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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