Feeds

Amazon opens Kindle to third-party apps

SDK thumbs nose at Apple

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Amazon is opening its Kindle ebook reader to third-party software apps as part of an apparent effort to fend off an imminent challenge from Apple's tablet.

Late Wednesday evening Pacific time, Amazon announced that it will offer a Kindle SDK (software development kit) sometime next month. The initial release will be billed as a beta, and it will only be available to a limited number of developers.

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

The kit includes sample code, documentation, and a Kindle simulator, which mimics the 6-inch Kindle and the 9.7-inch Kindle DX on Mac, PC, and Linux desktops. Completed apps can then be uploaded to Amazon's online Kindle Store, which currently offers access to books, magazines, newspapers, and blogs. Apps can be offered up for free, sold for a one-time fee, or distributed with a monthly subscription.

Free apps must be smaller than 1MB and use less than 100KB per user per month of wireless data. One-time-fee apps can larger, but they're also limited to 100KB of wireless content per user per month.

All applications must be smaller than 100MB, and any larger than 10MB will not be delivered wirelessly. They must be downloaded from the Kindle Store to a PC and transferred to the Kindle via USB.

Amazon will not permit voice over IP, advertising, "offensive materials," the collection of customer information without express customer knowledge and consent, or the use of the Amazon or Kindle names. The company also says that content must "meet all Amazon technical requirements," must not act like a generic ereader, and must not contain malicious code.

Kindle owners will be able to download apps from the store "later this year." Developers get 70 per cent of any revenue from their apps, with Amazon pocketing the remaining 30 per cent. Before the split, Amazon will subtract $0.15 per MB for delivery over its wireless network

An Amazon spokesman declined to say how long the beta would run or how many developers would have access to the beta. Asked if today's SDK announcement was an effort to steal some thunder from Apple's tablet - an ereader expected to be unveiled next week - he said: "No, we’ve been working on this for quite some time." But you can judge for yourself.

Amazon has pushed out a flurry of Kindle announcements in recent days. The company recently opened the Kindle Store to publishers across the globe, and just hours before announced the SDK, it upped the revenue cut for book publishers. In certain situations, publishers now get a 70 per cent cut as well. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Nice computers don’t need to go to the toilet, says Barclays
Bad computers might ask if you are Sarah Connor
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users
Sinofsky's hybrid strategy looks dafter than ever
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.