Wednesday, January 20, 2010

HUGE: Amazon opens up Kindle to Developer Apps - Update2

Amazon announced tonight that it's inviting developers to create apps for the Kindle.  This one deserves an exact quoting of the most salient points.

Travel books that suggest activities based on real-time weather and current events, cookbooks that recommend menus based on size of party and allergies, and word games and puzzles--just some of the possibilities with the new Kindle Development Kit.

SEATTLE, Jan 21, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- (NASDAQ: AMZN)--For the past two years, Amazon has welcomed authors and publishers to directly upload and sell content in the Kindle Store through the self-service Kindle publishing platform.

Today, Amazon announced that it is inviting software developers to build and upload active content that will be available in the Kindle Store later this year. The new Kindle Development Kit gives developers access to programming interfaces, tools and documentation to build active content for Kindle
Developers can learn more about the Kindle Development Kit today at and sign up to be notified when the limited beta starts next month.

"We've heard from lots of developers over the past two years who are excited to build on top of Kindle," said Ian Freed, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. "The Kindle Development Kit opens many possibilities--we look forward to being surprised by what developers invent."

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... '

On the Developers Kit page, added information on size and type of apps, method of delivery, and hints re charges for non-free apps, especially active apps, are described (emphases mine):
' 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. We are excited to see what you invent for Kindle...

Revenue Share
User revenue will be split 70% to the developer and 30% to Amazon net of delivery fees of $0.15 / MB.

  Remember that unlike smart phones, the Kindle user does not pay a monthly wireless fee or enter into an annual wireless contract.  Kindle active content must be priced to cover the costs of downloads and on-going usage.

Pricing Options
Active content will be available to customers in the Kindle Store later this year. Your active content can be priced three ways:

  * Free – Active content applications that are smaller than 1MB and use less than 100KB/user/month of wireless data may be offered at no charge to customers. Amazon will pay the wireless costs associated with delivery and maintenance.
  * One-time Purchase – Customers will be charged once when purchasing active content. Content must have nominal (less than 100KB/user/month) ongoing wireless usage.
  * Monthly Subscription – Customers will be charged once per month for active content.

Active content applications have an upper size limit of 100MB.  Applications larger than 10MB will not be delivered wirelessly but can be downloaded from the Kindle Store to a computer and transferred to the user's Kindle via USB. '
  This should get us some very interesting results.  Remember that Amazon has told us that they are working on organization of customer Kindle files on the device and that this should be ready before summer.  I'll get the link for the source (Amazon) later...

Really good news.

One thing that the apps will not include is "Voice over IP functionality."

UPDATE2 - NY Times - Brad Stone
NY Times's Brad Stone and Motoko Rich do an early report on the new developments. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle

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