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Amazon Kindle To Get Apps and EA Games 111

Lanxon writes "Amazon currently encourages publishers and authors to sell their books and magazines digitally, but the upcoming Kindle Development Kit (KDK), which goes into beta next month, says Wired, will allow software developers to create a variety of different applications. Amazon has already confirmed a Zagat guide for restaurant reviews from Hallmark and a selection of word games and puzzles, such as Sudoku, from Sonic Boom. EA Mobile is also set to release games on the Kindle."The kit itself is expected to be available next month.
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Amazon Kindle To Get Apps and EA Games

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  • by goldaryn ( 834427 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @10:27AM (#30845472) Homepage
    People can already SSH [thekindlewiki.com] into their Kindles. If I were Amazon, I would be worried about this kind of support making jailbreaks more attractive, possibly putting a nail into the coffin of their future ebook sales.
  • Re:games? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Deag ( 250823 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @10:35AM (#30845584)

    I agree any app that has any sort of interactivity will be sluggish. It does sequential reading well

    The refresh rate on current models will really limit this. Might be ok for crossword puzzles and sudoku.

    Although the current way it allows books to be read is fairly limited, (table of contents, basic search) the article mentioned more interactive books, such as cookbooks. And this might be where it will be useful.

  • Re:Wait, what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Brandee07 ( 964634 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @10:48AM (#30845746)

    Zagat guides are already available on the Kindle, so I presume they're looking to update the book content. I really can't see what else they'd want to do.

    As you say, games are going to be pretty basic. The Kindle already has minesweeper, and that pushes it's abilities.

    Developers are in for a major challenge, and many of them are likely going to decide, and rightly so, that the Kindle isn't the right platform for them.

  • by Brandee07 ( 964634 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @10:57AM (#30845860)

    Because it didn't make it to /. but is relevant: Amazon's Press Release about Royalty Hikes [businesswire.com] from yesterday.

    Matching Apple's 70% royalties is another major sign of Amazon's Apple envy- but also a strong financial incentive for authors and publishers to be "well behaved" when pricing their Kindle books, as in keep prices lower than paper, offer TTS, etc.

  • by donovansmith ( 570177 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @11:04AM (#30845986) Homepage

    Right now, if you get a nook you're largely stuck buying your books from Barnes & Noble. You can't just go to any ebook retailer and pick up whatever you want.

    Actually, since the Nook supports Adobe Digital Editions you can go to any store that uses ADE to purchase books. The Sony Reader Store and BooksOnBoard I believe are two of the larger ones. Also, it allows you to check out ebooks from libraries that use the Overdrive system. The Nook also supports the eReader PDB format and DRM scheme, which opens up the eReader and Fictionwise stores. The Nook probably has the broadest DRM format support of any ebook reader out right now.

    If they can open up the platform (either with a jailbreak, or an official update, or an app, or whatever) then you'll be able to buy your ebooks wherever you want. Amazon will lose it's vendor lock-in... But they'll pick up sales from folks with nooks and Sonys and whatever else.

    The problem is that each major ebook manufacturer is using both a different format and different DRM scheme for their books. Kindle uses either Mobipocket DRM files or their own Topaz format. The Nook appears to use the old eReader/Peanut Press DRM scheme with the EPUB file format. Sony uses the closest thing to a standard in DRM'd ebooks: Adobe Digital Editions protected EPUB. So neither the Nook nor the Sony Readers can use files purchased from the Kindle store and that won't change unless Amazon licenses their software to other companies, which I doubt will happen.

  • by Ephemeriis ( 315124 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @11:13AM (#30846108)

    But the specs say that the Nook supports any eReader (FKA Palm eReader) file, and any ePub file (even with Adobe's DRM).

    I have a nook.

    It handles EPUB files just fine - most of my library is in EPUB format.

    But it doesn't read Kindle format. So, while you've got some more options... You still can't go out and buy your ebooks from any place you want.

  • You're Wrong (Score:3, Informative)

    by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @11:24AM (#30846256)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 21, 2010 @11:42AM (#30846500)

    Maybe you mean HandMark!! :)

  • Re:You're Wrong (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ephemeriis ( 315124 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @11:58AM (#30846696)

    You're Wrong

    No I'm not.

    I said "if you get a Kindle you're largely stuck buying your books from Amazon."

    Look at that link you provided.

    Project Gutenberg is free public domain books... FreeKindleBooks is just the Gutenberg stuff reformatted for Kindle. PDFBooks is the Gutenberg stuff in PDF for the Kindle. World Public Library is just that - a library. The disclaimer on Mobipocket indicates that only demos and free books can be read on the Kindle. ManyBooks is again the Gutenberg stuff. Munseys is more free stuff. MobileRead is free out-of-copyright books. Zinepal is just RSS converted to Kindle.

    So, of that list you provided... You can buy your books from Amazon (380,000 titles) or Fictionwise (no indication of how many titles are available) or Webscriptions (1,000 titles) or Feedbooks (4,000 titles) or Christian Classics Ethereal Library (no indication of how many titles are available).

    Which means that by far the largest retailer of Kindle ebooks is Amazon. You'll notice that there's no mention of any other big-name book retailers on that page, because the Kindle can't read ebooks from Barnes & Noble, nor can it read ebooks from Borders. So, if you've got a Kindle, you're largely stuck buying your ebooks from them.

    Sure, if I just want a copy of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea I've got plenty of choices. I can download it for free from any number of places.

    But if I want to purchase a copy of a new book like Under the Dome, I have to buy it from Amazon.

  • by Giordano ( 188346 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @12:07PM (#30846802)

    One thing that is an absolute pain is that the Kindle has no folder management, and as such, no way to organize the books that are downloaded. Sure, it'll hold 3000 e-books, but try paging through the list. And the startup time is proportional to the length of the list.

    Opening up the e-book application interface would go a long way to getting features that Amazon seems disinclined to provide themselves.

  • by cdrguru ( 88047 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @12:25PM (#30847048) Homepage

    There is nothing to prevent you from putting non-Amazon content on a Kindle already. The device is completely "open" as far as that is concerned.

    You can even (gasp!) download books using the Amazon-provided wireless connection from places like manybooks.net for free. At least half of the books on my Kindle have been either downloaded free from non-Amazon sites or placed on the device through the USB connection.

    People that think the Kindle is somehow locked down for Amazon only have been reading some conspiracy theory web site rather than getting an uncomfortable dose of reality.

    The latest Kindle software now supports some PDF documents (not all of them) but the viewing is so incredibly difficult that nobody is going to want to do it unless they absolutely have to. Not that this is any big surprise. PDF is a page-description language and if you aren't displaying on a screen big enough to hold a page you are pretty much out of luck. The Kindle (rightfully) doesn't scroll around a zoomed page view - they just let you rotate the screen to get a "landscape" width of the page rather than the standard "portrait" view. It works, but it isn't great. And it can't be great with PDF unless the PDF was originally designed for a reader device. Which is what other PDF-displaying Adobe based devices are counting on as well.

    No, I do not believe the Kindle supports locked-down Adobe content.

  • Re:Language? (Score:3, Informative)

    by pcosta ( 236434 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @03:03PM (#30849298)

    The Kindle application framework is Java based. You write "booklets" that work like Java applets. Under the hood the Kindle runs a Linux kernel, so in theory you could just write native C apps, but I doubt Amazon will give developers access to that.
    Some more info about hacking your Kindle:

    http://igorsk.blogspot.com/2007/12/hacking-kindle-part-3-root-shell-and.html [blogspot.com]

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