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Amazon launches Kindle developer platform, apps coming soon

Kindle platformAmazon has just launched a new program that addresses my number one reason for not buying a Kindle or most other dedicated eBook readers: Why would anyone spend $250 or more on a device that only reads eBooks? After all, you don't need any money at all to read a book. Just pop on over to the closest library and you'll find thousands of books that you can read without paying a dime.

Anyway, Amazon is launching a Kindle Development Kit, which opens the door to third party applications for the device. In other words, it's about to become a lot more than just an eBook reader. You know, as much as a device with a grayscale e-Ink display that takes a moment to refresh can be more than an eBook reader. It's never going to be a video player, for example.

But the Kindle does have 3G wireless and ridiculously long battery life. And that can come in handy for some applications. For example, Amazon says Handmark is building a Zagat guide for restaurant reviews and ratings, and Sonic Boom is building word and puzzle games. EA Mobile is also developing games for the Kindle.

Of course, the other way Amazon could convince me to spend $250 or more to buy a Kindle would be to offer a $250 credit toward eBook purchases. But somehow I think opening the platform to games and other third party apps to make the platform more useful is about as far as the company is willing to go to tempt me. Because after all, Amazon will be making money off of these apps much the way it does with eBooks.

Developers will be able to give away content for free, charge a one time purchase fee, or charge a monthly subscription. Amazon will take a 30% cut of the revenue.

Tags: amazon kindle, AmazonKindle, developer kit, DeveloperKit, ebook readers, EbookReaders, ebooks, kindle, news