We guess we should have seen this coming, but honestly, we didn't. The
craze has reached a point where just about everyone is
jumping in; there's an app store of some kind available for pretty much
every mobile platform out there, and now other handheld devices are
hopping on the bandwagon while it's hot.
really doesn't need any assistance in the popularity
department. Judging by sales, it's doing alright on its own. That said,
competition is heating up quickly in the market, and Amazon clearly
knows that it has to work hard to stay one step ahead if plans on
maintaining that lead in the industry. So, what is a company to do?
Introduce an app store, of course! By definition, what's being
announced today isn't an app store per se, but it's darn close.
has announced that a software development kit (KDK, for Kindle
Development Kit) will be available to developers starting next month,
which will enable them to program games, apps, and all sorts of other
non-book content for the e-reader. E-readers themselves are evolving in
front of us, as they can already do a good deal more than just read
digital versions of books. Reportedly, the KDK will allow users to
"build active content" that taps into the 3G connection, and EA Mobile
has already confessed that it will be building some games that are
somehow playable on e-paper (Tetris, maybe?). Hallmark and Zagat are
also planning apps, and we suppose that these programs will be
available for distribution using the existing Kindle bookstore.
Of course, what we really suspect here is that Amazon is planning (and
beta testing, in a way) for the future. We get the impression that a
color-based Kindle is on the way, and it's better to be one step ahead
in the app development game than to wait for the color Kindle to
surface and be behind the curve on the app front.