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Amazon tool aims to help you 'fling' shows onto Fire TV

Taking on competitors like Chromecast and Apple TV, Amazon releases "Fling," a toolkit that lets developers build into their apps the ability to share media content with Amazon's set-top box.

Amazon's Fling icon tosses content up to a Fire TV. Amazon

More mobile apps may soon let users share multimedia content with Amazon's Fire TV.

Amazon on Thursday launched the Fling software toolkit, which allows developers to make photos, music, or videos running on their Android, iOS, or FireOS apps sharable with Amazon's Fire TV set-top box.

The move helps Amazon stay competitive against its set-top rivals. Apple TV and Google's Chromecast already have such sharing features built into their entertainment devices.

According to Amazon, when users open apps that support Fling on their smartphone or tablet, they'll see a Fling icon appear. Upon tapping on that icon, they'll be able to send the content to the Amazon Fire TV. So, if a user is watching a movie on an iPhone within an app and decides to put it up on the big screen, they need only to tap the Fling icon and the Fire TV will display the content on the connected television.

Amazon's Fire TV set-top box offers a wide range of applications, allowing users to do everything from watch programming to play games on their televisions. The device, which retails for $99, is similar to other set-top boxes, including the Apple TV and a line of devices from Roku. It offers users access to popular video-streaming apps like Netflix and HBO Go, and has added more apps as time has gone on.

For developers, Fling's appeal may be all about saving money. By adding Fling capability, developers that already have iOS and Android apps will be able to promote their content's accessibility on a Fire TV without actually being required to build an entirely new app for Amazon's set-top box -- an effort that takes developer time and thus, costs extra cash.

As mentioned above, Apple and Google already have features built into their operating systems that would allow users to share content with their set-top devices. Apple, for example, lets iOS users beam their screen's content to an Apple TV with its platform AirPlay. Google's alternative, called Cast, works with Chromecast, Cast for Audio, and Android TV.