It looks like the upcoming Apple Tablet release (rumored to be happening next Wednesday), with (also rumored) reader features including e-books, may be giving Amazon a little bit of a push. Today, the company will announce the opening up of the Kindle to outside software developers. Here's a New York Times piece quote from Ian Freed, vice president for the Kindle at Amazon:
Here's more details on the Amazon announcement from Silicon Alley Insider:
- Several partners, including Electronic Arts and Handmark/Zagat Guide, are already playing with the app development kits.
- Apps will be able to be free, carry a one-time cost, or a monthly subscription fee.
- Apps will be available "later this year."
- Access to the wireless Web is expensive. Developers will have to pay a steep $0.15 per megabyte of data transferred over the Internet, to compensate for the fact that consumers don't pay for wireless Internet access on their Kindles.
- "On the forbidden list: Internet voice-calling software, advertising, offensive materials, the collecting of customer information without consent, and the use of the Amazon and Kindle brands."
What will we likely see for apps? In the same New York Times piece Freed predicts publishers will begin selling a new breed of e-books, like searchable travel books and restaurant guides that can be tailored to the Kindle owner’s location; textbooks with interactive quizzes; and novels that combine text and audio.
When will an e-textbook become "better" than a traditional textbook? If the publishers really embrace and leverage this technology (still a big if) - I'm thinking very soon.