Amazon's Kindle now features two word-puzzle games, bringing the e-reader's features more in line with those of its erstwhile rival, Barnes & Noble's Nook.
The first game, "Every Word," requires you find as many words as possible from six or seven scrambled onscreen letters. With the second, "Shuffled Row," some 60 lettered tiles are used to make words; once a new word's submitted, new letters are added. Both are free and available for download from the Kindle Store.
In January, Amazon announced a Kindle SDK (software development kit) for developers to create games and applications for the platform, and deliver them wirelessly via Amazon Whispernet. The Nook already features Android-based games, including Sudoku and chess, in addition to software features such as "Read In Store," which allows the device's users to browse the retailer's library for e-books for free at any Barnes & Noble location.
Amazon announced its third-generation Kindle July 28, in a bid to leapfrog both the Apple iPad and other e-readers. The newest device features a 6-inch e-ink screen with 50 percent better contrast, Wikipedia access, support for password-protected PDFs and a lighter body. The Kindle retails for $189, and a WiFi-only version costs $139.
The Kindle WiFi's price undercuts that of the Nook WiFi by $10, seemingly another salvo on Amazon's part on the increasingly tit-for-tat war between the two companies. On June 21, after Barnes & Noble dropped the Nook to $189, Amazon matched that price. Despite that competition, however, both companies' greatest threat may be the iPad, which comes with an e-reader application in addition to thousands of full-color apps.
Although Amazon devotes substantial marketing dollars to the Kindle device, it has also been aggressive in pushing its Kindle e-reader application for the iPad, PCs, and a variety of smartphones.
But Amazon, along with Apple, also faces a potential investigation from Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who sent letters to both companies July 29 demanding a meeting with their lead attorneys over possible anticompetitive practices related to e-book pricing. Specifically, Blumenthal is interested in whether Apple's and Amazon's existing deals with publishers unfairly block smaller competitors from offering e-books at lower prices.
"These agreements appear to deter certain publishers from offering discounts to Amazon and Apple's competitors-because they must offer the same to Amazon and Apple," reads an Aug. 2 note posted on the Connecticut Attorney General's Website. "This restriction blocks cheaper and competitive prices for consumers."