Amazon Kindle and the first generation iPod have a lot in common. Just like iPod 1G, Amazon Kindle does not come with the best design. The hardware is somewhat limited as well, though it is being improved with each and every generation. In the hindsight, the first iPod wasn’t really something you would write home about. It’s true that it was highly popular and truly changed Apple’s fortunes, but people wouldn’t buy it these days. The hardware and software have improved so much that you couldn’t even tell that the classic iPod and the iPod Touch come from the same family. I firmly believe that we may be in for the same development with Amazon Kindle. The device is still in its infancy, and it’s still a niche device, even though thousands of people have picked it up.
In order for Amazon to take the Kindle to the next level, it needs to take advantage of its community to help expand Amazon Kindle’s capabilities. One way to do that is by introducing a software development kit for the Kindle. With every Kindle release, I have hoped for Amazon to finally introduce a SDK for the Kindle product line. But according to many experts, Amazon is not close to doing that. For starters, Amazon Kindle’s hardware/software set is not ready to handle sophisticated Kindle applications. Let’s not forget that Amazon does not use a color screen either, and the device is not a touch-screen gadget either.
Another reason that we may not see a software development kit for Kindle anytime soon is the fact that it could increase the amount of bandwidth people are using with their devices. That could break down Amazon’s business model and force the company to charge for the wireless service. Considering that many prospects consider Amazon Kindle to be too pricey, it’s tough to see how the company can convince them to pay for a wireless contract as well. Add to this the whole host of legal and other liabilities that Kindle apps can bring to Amazon and the idea of a Kindle SDK doesn’t look too attractive to the company.
Will we see a Kindle SDK? It depends on what Amazon plans to do with Kindle. There is always a possibility that Amazon gets out of the hardware business and focuses on the software side of things. Amazon is not a hardware company, and focusing on hardware development is not part of its core competency. But if Amazon intends to build the next iPod, it is going to need to use the power of its community to its advantage, and there is no better way to do that than building a SDK for Kindle.
Your take: should Amazon offer developers a chance to develop apps for Kindle?