Amazon Announces Kindle Development Kit--Apps On The E-Reader Coming Soon

We guess we should have seen this coming, but honestly, we didn't. The App Store 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.

Amazon's Kindle 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.

Amazon 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.