Amazon Releasing Software Development Kit to Bring Apps to Kindle
The New York Times reported late last night that Amazon is deploying a software development kit (SDK) to allow developers to bring applications to the company's Kindle e-book reader. The move follows a change in the Kindle Store's e-book royalty program, with the two events suggesting that Amazon is making a major push to tackle Apple's as-yet-unreleased tablet device head-on.
Amazon says it has already released the Kindle Development Kit to a select number of partners, including the video game giant Electronic Arts, and will make it more widely available when a limited beta period starts next month. It anticipates formally adding what it calls "active content" to the Kindle store sometime later this year.
According to the report, Amazon will be allowing free, paid, and subscription-based applications on the Kindle and will use the same pricing structure as its new e-book royalty program: 70% of revenue (after subtracting delivery costs) goes to developers, roughly comparable to Apple's App Store arrangements.
While well-known companies such as gaming firm Electronic Arts and Handmark, developer of Zagat restaurant guides for mobile devices, have been looking into the Kindle SDK, the current Kindle hardware will impose some limitations on the types of offerings that can be included. The Kindle offers only a monochrome e-ink display and has limited graphics capabilities, meaning that traditional-style handheld games and video will not be possible. But certainly a wide array of applications would be able to make their way to the Kindle in one form or another.