Amazon Fling Engages AirPlay And Google Cast In ‘Second Screen’ Dogfight

There's not a ton of separation between streaming set-top boxes and dongles, and even less so now that Amazon announced its new cross-platform Amazon Fling service. Similar to AirPlay and Google Cast, Amazon Fling gives Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick owners the ability to beam images, video, and audio from their iOS and Android mobile apps to their television.

To kick things off, Amazon has made available its Fling Software Development Kit (SDK). The neat thing about the SDK is that it's not limited to flinging media content to Fire TV devices, it also supports two-way communication between Fire TV and mobile apps. This type of functionality opens the door for some unique and innovative two-way experiences.

Amazon Fling Karaoke Party

It's also purportedly easy to use.

"The new SDK is designed to simplify the process of dealing with underlying network discovery and communication technologies that normally make this type of connection difficult to implement," Amazon explains. "The SDK offers a standardized way to communicate between your apps over a local network allowing developers to focus on building new and unique user experiences. Even developers who don’t have an existing Amazon Fire TV app can take advantage of the SDK’s media playback capabilities since a default built-in receiver plays these for you automatically."

Amazon says its SDK is ready to go out of the box -- if all a developer wants to do is enable their mobile app to send URLs of media content to Fire TV, they shouldn't have much trouble. However, there's a potential to do more. For example, Karaoke Party by Red Karaoke leverages Amazon's SDK to display song lyrics and video on Fire TV, while simultaneously tapping into the microphone on mobile handsets to send audio. It's a simple but effective use of what Amazon has made possible here.