Sunday, January 24, 2010

Amazon Part 1: Kindle Apps

The Amazon is the world’s longest river and has such crosses much territory and many lives and is not unlike its namesake, the world’s biggest bookstore and ecommerce player. As with all huge concerns there are many changes and events taking place at all times and last week was certainly eventful for what Amazon did as this week may be eventful for what other competitors do.

Next month, Amazon will be inviting software developers to build "active content" for the Kindle Store later this year. The Kindle development kit will enable developers access to programming interfaces and tools to design applications for the device. Announced are an international Zagat guide and the intent for mobile games publisher Sonic Boom to create word games and puzzles.

The Kindle Development Kit (KDK) is set to go into limited beta in February 2010, and will include programming interfaces, tools and documentation together with a Kindle Simulator, capable of mimicking both the regular and DX models on PC, Mac and Linux systems. However Amazon has released some specifications and pricing details for KDK developers. The max file size is set at 100MB, (compared to the iPhone's 2GB ) , Files larger than 10MB will have to be transferred via USB, offensive content will be banned and VIOP is not permitted. Developers who provide content over 1MBare to be charge to pay for 3G data costs.

Amazon can't possibly be under any illusion that today's Kindle has a limited life and is not able to compete compete with iPhones, Android devices, tablets or other general-purpose devices. The E Ink display is too limiting and would be like asking TV developers to go back to black and white, non touch screen programming. In addition the sales and therefore the market for ebook eink device apps is small compared to iPhones, iTouch, smartphones, Android and the rest. Even if Citigroup estimates that Amazon sold at least 2 million Kindles in 2009 and account for about 70% of all e-reader sales is correct it hardly passes the so what test. That's a small fraction of the number of iPhones and iPod Touches in circulation.

If the objective is to enable publisher partners to break free of the ‘fixed content’ model and to start exploring interactive digital books then this poses other challenges as the platform is not functionally rich and again begs the question why bother?

Next in Amazon Part 2: DRM Free

1 comment:

DanielPeiser said...

Kindle App developers will need to be creative, simply porting games from other platforms will not work.
I think that focusing on the primary function of the Kindle (reading ebooks) and striving to improve it could make a difference and make an app popular.
I have thought of Ebookcrossing or multiplayer gamebooks on a blog post I wrote at . I think that if Kindle apps could use GPS and make ebook sharing possible, it would open a new world of possibilities for Kindle based games, ebook treasure hunts, ebook sharing in airports, parks, etc.