Kindle users finally get to pay for games
Actually... game, singular, but it's a start
Kindle users bored of the latest bonkbuster can now run up a game of scrabble on their e-ink screens, once they've shelled out $5 for the privilege.
In January Amazon announced a Kindle software development kit, and put a call out for applications to turn its e-book reader into a tablet platform. Since then we've seen a couple of free games, but now Kindle users can hand over cash for a mobile version of scrabble.
The game can be played against the Kindle, or in two-play-pass-the-tablet mode, and was developed by Electronic Arts. Early reviews over at Amazon are suspiciously polarised, though discontents seem to be focused on lack of international support (the game is currently US only) and poor interface design rather than any inability to play Scrabble.
Scrabble joins the pair of free applications, "Shuffled Row" and "Every Word", in the category of Kindle content that Amazon terms "active". Those first two were developed by Amazon itself, so don't really count when it comes to application store stacking.
Kindle applications are obviously limited by the slow refresh and gray scale nature of the e-ink screen, but potential developers are also concerned about Amazon's long-term commitment to the Kindle as a hardware platform. Amazon is interested in selling books, and owning the distribution platform, but it can do that in software with Kindle clients on the iPad, Android, and just about every other hand-held device - so there will come a time when Amazon no longer needs to market its own hardware.
A handful of Word games aren't going to challenge the iPad any time soon, but there are a lot of Kindle owners out there, many of whom will be willing to buy an app or two. So the long term future of the of the platform may not matter to the developer with the right idea. ®
If you are up for an e-reader, the Kindle is superb (for me).
There are app's on the net for converting your pdf manuals to Kindle friendly sized pages etc. and plenty of raw text books (ie free) out there.
I got mine two weeks ago and I've hardly put the thing down, I've gone through 8 books so far.
It was cheap enough to take a chance on at £109, but there are some downsides. The text to voice interpreter is great, as long as you're reading Hawkins guide to the universe - anything other than that it just seems a little odd :)
The browser actually works (over wi-fi) for emergency purposes, but too clunky for any other use, having to zoom in and out to move about on the screen is slow, but it works.
@AC, 27th September 2010 11:28 GMT
this is my biased opinion.
the single function of the kindle was its greats selling point for me. With multifunction devices (specially the PC), those other function do distract you from reading. Before you start reading for some reason checking your email, checking the news and pressing F5 on webpages become a higher priority.
so in my view, there are many distractions out there, the kindle's single functionality helped reducing them, when it is in use.
Not Quite ...
Thing is they are small, light, cheap (now), large screen and no glare so can be read for long periods of time, even in sunlight.
The main issue in the past had been the cost, but the new Kindle has effectively halved the price and may even have started a price war with the other manufacturers.
Sure I can read ebooks on my mobile phone - I used to years ago on my old Palm Vx and Tungsten T2, but then you have small size and glare on the eyes. Yes you can use a netbook, but that's not practical on a train/plane and again you have glare, and you can use an iPad, but they are expensive, heavy over short periods (it's amusing watching people on the tube get in to increasingly uncomfortable looking positions as they try to support the weight of their iPads), and again you have glare.
where is hangman?
and learning/teaching applications?
there are many applications that don't need colours or refresh rate. It is surprising that the kindle doesn't have a WordPad like application!
training books for the kindle could actually have a built-in interactive Q&A. Why don't them have them yet!
"lack of international support"
This is due to the long running playground spat between Hasbro and Mattel. Hasbro have the rights for the game in the USA and Canada, Mattel have the rights for the rest of the world and they cannot agree to play nicely together...