Kindle to Become Applications Platform

by has sprung a little surprise this morning by announcing that they will be soon releasing the Kindle Development Kit. The kit will allow developers to develop “active content” for the Kindle platform, to take advantage of the e-reader’s electronic ink display, Whispernet 3G technology, and days-long battery life.

Get the development kit next month

The beta of the development kit for the e-reader will be released in February and it will include sample code, documentation, and the Kindle Simulator, which helps developers build and test their content by simulating the 6-inch Kindle and 9.7-inch Kindle DX on Mac, PC, and Linux desktops.

According to PC, “Two companies are building apps for the device: Handmark, which is building an active Zagat guide, and Sonic Boom, which will build word games and puzzles.” In a statement, Ian Freed vice president of the Amazon Kindle, said the company would “look forward to being surprised by what developers invent”.

Over the past two years, authors and publishers have been able to directly upload and sell content in the Kindle Store using the self-service platform. The kit has programming interfaces, tools and documentation to build apps on the Kindle, which has been a hit in the electronic book reader market.

As VentureBeat put it, “Amazon has clearly figured out that it has a computer under the hood of the Kindle and that it could increase the popularity of the device if it allows developers to create a bunch of new content, free or paid, for the platform. In that sense, it’s following in the footsteps of Apple’s AppStore for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Amazon may be hesitant to use the term ‘app’ though because developers may be constrained by the hardware in a way in which developers for the Apple iPhone, for example, are not. That platform allows developers to take advantage of an accelerometer, touch screen, and color display, among others.


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