Developer Kit Coming to Amazon’s Kindle

Now this is interesting. Amazon is planning to release a development kit for their Kindle. It’s going into beta next month, and I’m going to do everything I can to grab a copy (Assuming it’s a closed beta).

This will allow developers to write applications for the Kindle devices. This could be huge as it opens the possibility of adding readers for other e-book formats to the device. Of course there are restrictions:

Amazon has released some specifications and pricing details for prospective KDK developers. The max file size is set at 100MB, compared to the iPhone’s 2GB (just over 2,000MB) limit, but the Kindle shares Apples policy on restricting users from wirelessly delivering active content over 10MB on the Kindle’s 3G connection. Files larger than this will need to be transferred via USB.

Other restrictions include a ban on content deemed offensive, advertising or misuse of the user’s information, as well as a ban on voice over IP software and applications that supersede the Kindle’s basic functions.

Developers can also choose to provide small pieces of content (less than 1MB) for free, but are forced to charge for any larger content to pay for 3G data costs. Software creators can choose between a one-time purchase and a monthly subscription model for their content.

The need to make an application cost money if it’s over a certain size isn’t surprising to me. Every Kindle user gets access to free 3G. But that connection is really only free to you in the sense that you don’t pay a monthly fee. Every time you download a book part of the money you paid goes to Sprint or AT&T for the data transferred.

I’m rather worried that Amazon is planning such strict controls over the development process beyond the use of the 3G connection though. It seems like Apple made it OK to release a device where the manufacturer has to approve every applications for that said device. I really hate that idea and it’s part of the reason I don’t have an iPhone. I hate to see this kind of crap catch on.

But not matter how you slice it having an SDK for the Kindle is a pretty cool idea.