Move over Google Maps, Amazon Maps has come to the Kindle Fire. The default map service on your tablet might soon Amazon’s.
In an announcement, Amazon said that the Maps API is now open to all developers. The API was first launched as public beta in September. Amazon said that developers such as Hipmunk, Evernote, Trulia, and Zillow now used the Amazon Maps API on Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD.
Amazon Maps for Kindle coming soon
The API is included in Amazon’s Mobile App SDK and will reportedly make it easy for developers to integrate interactive maps into their apps for Amazon's devices.
The release said, “The Amazon Maps API has two core features:
- Interactive Maps. You can embed a Map View in your app for customers to pan, zoom and fling around the world. You have the option to display a user’s current location, switch between standard maps and satellite view, and more.
- Custom Overlays. You can display the locations of businesses, landmarks and other points of interest with your own customized markers and pins.“
Amazon’s Kindle family now includes the Fire HD with either a 8.9-inch or a 7-inch screen, as well as the standard Fire, which also has a 7-inch screen.
In July, Amazon acquired 3D mapping startup UpNext, indicating increasing competition between the world's largest Internet retailer and tech rivals such as Google and Apple. UpNext founders Raj Advani, Vik Advani, Robin Har, and Danny Moon were even reported to have moved from New York to Seattle, where Amazon is based, to lead the e-commerce company's mapping efforts.
Maps are increasingly being seen essential for app development. With Amazon’s entry into mapping services dominated by the bigwigs of the game such as Google, Nokia, Apple, and Microsoft, the race is only heating up. This release also shows the chasm between Amazon and Google widening. After the price war between the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7, the Maps release is a crucial move, and all eyes are on Amazon now.
Just earlier this month, in an unprecedented move, Nokia Drive Maps was rebranded as Nokia Here, and an iOS version of the app was announced. The iOS app for Nokia Here is available for free on the App Store.
Some of the major features of the app include the ability to pick the map you need from map view, live traffic view, public transport line view, or satellite view. Another feature is the ability to save maps for offline use. The app is also integrated with Nokia Here's community-based features such as the ability to access community maps created and updated by users.
One more major feature that is making its way into the iOS app is Collections, which will allow you to store locations in collections. The locations can be accessed later with a Nokia Account or Facebook login. This will allow the user to access his or her Collections anywhere.
Users are hoping fervently that this doesn’t turn out to be a dud like the iOS Maps that got many associated with it in a soup.
You can request access to the API on Amazon's developer web site, but the company has not said how much, or indeed if, it will be charging for the service.
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