Amazon poised to launch app store for the Kindle

Wed, Jan 20, 2010


Taking a page right out of Apple’s playbook, Amazon on Thursday will announce its plans to open up the Kindle platform for developers, according to a late breaking report from the New York Times.

Much like Apple, Amazon will soon unveil an SDK that will enable developers to create what Amazon is terming “active content” for the Kindle, though it remains to be seen what type of content would even be worth using on the Kindle’s grayscale screen. Amazon VP Ian Freed noted to the Times that he anticipates developers will create a wide variety of utility apps like “calculators, stock tickers, and casual video games.” Also a possibility, Freed said, are “searchable travel books” and restaurant guides that correspond to a users current location.

So basically, Amazon is trying to mimic the iTunes App Store on a device that’s clunky, has no touchscreen, and lacks a color display. The Kindle is a great reading device, but in all honesty, who in their right mind wants to use a device that big to figure out a tip at a restaurant, or for anything aside from reading, for that matter.

Yeah, good luck with that.

Part of Amazon’s press release reads in part:

The Kindle Development Kit enables developers to build active content that leverages Kindle’s unique combination of seamless and invisible 3G wireless delivery over Amazon Whispernet, high-resolution electronic paper display that looks and reads like real paper, and long battery life of seven days with wireless activated. For example, Handmark is building an active Zagat guide featuring their trusted ratings, reviews and more for restaurants in cities around the world, and Sonic Boom is building word games and puzzles.

“As the leading worldwide publisher of mobile games, EA Mobile has had the privilege of collaborating with many dynamic and innovative companies in bringing exciting gaming experiences to new platforms,” says Adam Sussman, Vice President of Worldwide Publishing, EA Mobile. “Working with Amazon, we look forward to bringing some of the world’s most popular and fun games to Kindle and their users.”

Starting next month, participants in the limited beta will be able to download the Kindle Development Kit, access developer support, test content on Kindle, and submit finished content. Those wait-listed will be invited to participate as space becomes available. The Kindle Development Kit includes 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.



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