Gears for Battle

By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2010-01-31 Print this article Print


The Kindle devices offer a free 3G connection, and Squali said he believes the line will see further price reductions to differentiate it from Apple's offering. "An equivalent functionality on iPad requires users to pay an additional $120 for a 3G modem and $30 per month subscription for unlimited 3G access," he wrote, "a price point that may not be compelling to users who want a dedicated, simple reading device."

In the weeks before Apple unveiled the iPad, seemed to be taking steps to make the Kindle line more appealing to a broader audience of readers and developers. On Jan. 15, the retailer announced that it would allow authors and publishers to upload and sell books in English, German and French in the Kindle Store via its self-service Kindle Digital Text Platform, an expansion of a program previously limited to authors and publishers in the United States.

Days previously, it announced that the widescreen Kindle DX would allow readers to download e-books and other content in over 100 countries.  

But the surest sign that was positioning itself for a broader competitive battle came on Jan. 21, when the company revealed an SDK (software development kit) for the Kindle that would allow developers to build active content that makes use of the device's 3G wireless delivery, high-resolution electronic paper display and long battery life.

The Kindle Development Kit included sample code, documentation and a Kindle Simulator, which helps developers build and test content by simulating a 6-inch Kindle or 9.7-inch Kindle DX on Mac, PC and Linux desktops. At the time of the announcement, EA Mobile announced that it would help bring games to the device.

Apple has also been encouraging developers to begin constructing iPad applications with the new iPhone SDK 3.2 beta. That SDK includes an iPad Programming Guide, iPad Human Interface Guidelines and iPad Sample Code. In doing so, Apple seems to desire a repeat of what happened with the iPhone, where throwing the App Store open to third-party developers led to an exponential proliferation in the number of available programs.

As with the iPhone, it may take some time for the iPad's fate on the marketplace to fully play out. Whether or not Apple's device-not to mention other tablet PCs-eventually begins to affect the e-reader market, and's share of it, in a substantial way, it certainly seems that is anticipating that eventuality.

Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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