Amazon Kindle Development Kit promises ereader Active Content

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Amazon have announced a software development platform for their Kindle ebook reader, which will allow developers to create "active content" for the E Ink device.  The Kindle Development Kit (KDK) is set to go into limited beta in February 2010, and will include programming interfaces, tools and documentation together with a Kindle Simulator, capable of mimicking both the regular and DX models on PC, Mac and Linux systems.

Already signed up are Zagat and Sonic Boom, who will be creating interactive restaurant guides and simple puzzle games respectively.  Meanwhile EA Mobile have also thrown their hat into the ring, though it's unclear which of their titles might transition over to Kindle.

It's hard to see this as something other than a pre-emptive attempt to cut Apple off at the pass, what with the Cupertino company expected to out their Apple Tablet next Wednesday.  Rumors have persisted that Apple have been in ongoing talks with publishers and ebook content providers, and of course there is the well-packed App Store for software that most presume will run on the tablet.

Press Release:

Amazon Announces Kindle Development Kit–Software Developers Can Now Build Active Content for Kindle

Travel books that suggest activities based on real-time weather and current events, cookbooks that recommend menus based on size of party and allergies, and word games and puzzles–just some of the possibilities with the new Kindle Development Kit

SEATTLE, Jan 21, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — (NASDAQ: AMZN)–For the past two years, Amazon has welcomed authors and publishers to directly upload and sell content in the Kindle Store through the self-service Kindle publishing platform. Today, Amazon announced that it is inviting software developers to build and upload active content that will be available in the Kindle Store later this year. The new Kindle Development Kit gives developers access to programming interfaces, tools and documentation to build active content for Kindle–the #1 bestselling, most wished for, and most gifted product across all categories on Amazon. Developers can learn more about the Kindle Development Kit today at and sign up to be notified when the limited beta starts next month.

"We've heard from lots of developers over the past two years who are excited to build on top of Kindle," said Ian Freed, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. "The Kindle Development Kit opens many possibilities–we look forward to being surprised by what developers invent."

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.

"As the leading worldwide publisher of mobile games, EA Mobile has had the privilege of collaborating with many dynamic and innovative companies in bringing exciting gaming experiences to new platforms," says Adam Sussman, Vice President of Worldwide Publishing, EA Mobile. "Working with Amazon, we look forward to bringing some of the world's most popular and fun games to Kindle and their users."

Starting next month, participants in the limited beta will be able to download the Kindle Development Kit, access developer support, test content on Kindle, and submit finished content. Those wait-listed will be invited to participate as space becomes available. The Kindle Development Kit includes sample code, documentation, and the Kindle Simulator, which helps developers build and test their content by simulating the 6-inch Kindle and 9.7-inch Kindle DX on Mac, PC, and Linux desktops.

About Amazon Kindle

Kindle and Kindle DX are the revolutionary portable readers that wirelessly download books, magazines, newspapers, blogs and personal documents to a crisp, high-resolution electronic ink display that looks and reads like real paper. Kindle and Kindle DX utilize the same 3G wireless technology as advanced cell phones, so users never need to hunt for a Wi-Fi hotspot. Kindle is the most wished for, the most gifted, and the #1 bestselling product across the millions of items sold on Amazon.