Amazon Opens Kindle to App Developers

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Whoa! Now this could indeed be a game changer, or at least a way for eReaders to maintain their hold after the tidal wave of tablets hits. Amazon has just announced that it is opening the Kindle platform to App developers. Amazon says it will have apps available in the Kindle store later this year.

The Kindle Development Kit will be available to App developers in a limited beta release next month at this address: http://www.amazon.com/kdk/. The press release mentions well-known software makers and brands including Electronic Arts and Zagat.

Here’s more: “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.”

It seems likely that Amazon is piling on the Kindle news in advance of the Apple tablet announcement next week. But this news–that Amazon envisions the Kindle as more than a dedicated reader–makes this blogger wonder what new software, and hardware, we’ll see from Amazon in the near future (playing Grand Theft Auto on an eInk screen that refreshes slowly doesn’t sound fun). What else will Kindle be able to do?