Amazon is looking to improve the gaming experience for owners of its Kindle Fire tablet with the introduction of a new social platform dubbed GameCircle. This is essentially Amazon’s answer to Apple’s Game Center on iOS to help game developers keep their users involved. Through a series of APIs released today developers will be able to add achievements, leaderboards and cloud syncing to their games.
Achievements will allow players to track all earned trophies, badges, awards and more while they're playing games on their Kindle Fire. Players won't have to leave a game to receive messages, get updates or see what their friends are up to. Instead, a simple pop up launches when you've been awarded something and closing it out lets you go right back to your game, or you can pause and access it without having to pop out of the game.
The leaderboards screen provides an in-game view of score comparison information and percentile ranking, allowing players to quickly and easily check standings against top players or competitors.
But perhaps the more exciting -- and telling -- feature is the ability to synchronize game progress with Amazon’s servers so you can pick up where you left off even if you re-install the game in question or switch Kindle devices. The latter is particularly interesting as it seems Amazon may be laying the groundwork for the much rumored Kindle smartphone as well as new Kindle Fire tablets.
Last we heard, the popular online retailer had multiple Kindle Fire 2 variants and a smartphone in the works, aiming for a release in time for Christmas 2012. A Wall Street Journal report today claims the company is already testing the handset with partners and expects it to have a 4- or 5-inch display.
Amazon sent a wave crashing through the mobile industry when it announced its Kindle Fire would land with a price of $199. This is likely the best value in a tablet on the market, and will make tablet computing accessible to many people that either couldn't afford an iPad or couldn't tolerate Honeycomb tablets.
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