You may have noticed that as of recently I’ve posted less than usual here and in the new Kindle Apps blog. In fact it took a tsunami to get me to post something here. There is a good reason for that. As of recently I’ve got a new hobby – developing Kindle Apps with the KDK (Kindle SDK).
I would like to say that KDK turned out quite elegant and easy to develop with despite the fact that I’m new to Java development (I’ve mostly coded in C++ and C# in the past). I would love to share my experience but at the moment I’m unsure as to how much I can disclose as the SDK is still in closed beta. Hopefully I’ll be able to post some screenshots sometime soon.
Amazon, Kindle‘s parent company, has bought a relatively unknown and new company called TouchCo. Before the buy out, TouchCo used to supply touchscreen technological solutions to companies. The company specializes in building touchscreen interfaces that have the capacity of detecting and parsing multiple touch inputs. This makes their touchscreen technology extremely useful for devices that may be shared at some point.
It also means that any touchscreen made with TouchCo’s technology will have the advantage of being extremely capable and flexible to UI changes. Amazon and TouchCo refused to talk about the deal and they haven’t mentioned the amount for which the deal was sealed. But ever since the news broke, TouchCo’s official website has put up a notice about the company not doing any business.
Those who are following the eBook market closely, are of the opinion that the market can only grow bigger over the coming years. Since Amazon is the pioneer in this field, it is expected that they would look to take their Kindle eBook reader to new heights through innovation. Post the iPad launch, a lot of people have expressed concern over Amazon’s ability to handle the competition. But it is for certain that the Kindle in its current shape is a completely specialized product that will still be the chosen reader for digital book lovers.
However, the purchase of TouchCo shows that Amazon is still interested in making a device that conforms to the current trend of touchscreen tablets. Since Amazon has not declared what the wish to do with the company, we can only speculate what direction the Kindle will take.
Most are of the opinion that the popular eInk Kindle will remain and a complimentary model will be produced that will have features that directly compete with the iPad. The recently released KDK (Kindle Developers Kit) is also taken as a sign of such a thing to come.
As of this morning I’ve received an email from Amazon (which resulted from leaving my email at KDK page earlier). Right now Amazon is considering first candidates for the limited KDK beta. You can head to https://kindlepublishing.amazon.com/gp/vendor/kindlepubs/kdk/request-seat and fill out a form with your contact information as well as brief description of the content you plan to develop, hit submit and hope for the best.
Well. Once more I have to eat my own words… Some time ago I wrote about why Kindle SDK wasn’t a likely thing and today Amazon announced it’s availability. Amazon must have been holding it up in it’s sleeve for quite some time. I believe that bringing all Kindle software to version 2.3 was made in preparation to the SDK announcement. With Amazon’s motto in everything being ease and simplicity I don’t think they would have expected software developers to support apps that should have ran on 3 different versions of the OS.
At the moment little is known about the SDK:
- I believe that apps will be Java-based like the rest of the Kindle UI.
- Apps are going to be either free, purchase once or monthly subscription based.
- Data usage would be limited based on the purchase and subscription price.
- Limited location services based on cell towers are likely to be available to KDK should user give their consent.
I hope to get on board the KDK during the Beta or shortly thereafter.
Personally I think that Kindle SDK is going to the a success. There is a definite demand for simple things like Folders, interactive Suduku, crossword puzzles, weather, location based search etc. While Kindle browser does work for a lot of websites, it’s slow and cumbersome. Small faster specialized Java app would be much better. But most importantly it looks like these apps will not take away from the reading experience which Kindle’s main selling point.
The rationale is that since people use Kindle for reading and are likely to carry it around anyway, why not use it for other tasks as well, without taking away from the main function? That’s why smartphones succeeded where PDAs failed.
What Kindle apps would you like to see?