Amazon has announced that it will be soliciting applications for the Kindle from outside developers. The firm plans to sell these apps through an online store. Naturally, Amazon has taken this step as a preemptive move to address the enormous threat posed by Apple's new tablet-like device.
This article on Business Week's website focuses on the possibility of games being developed for the Kindle. While that may be promising, the device itself may need to be overhauled to make the platform amenable to high quality game development. Of course, one could imagine simple "brain" games such as crosswords and Sudoku working quite nicely on the Kindle. Beyond that, the opportunity, and perhaps necessity, exists for Kindle to make its device much more interactive with regard to book and periodical content. The article mentions the education market and the possibility of interactive content in that space. The potential of interactive content, I believe, stretches far beyond the education market.
The question is: Can Amazon court enough developers to cope with the Apple threat? Does Apple have too much of a head start with the developer community, based on the iPhone platform? Ultimately, Amazon has to decide what business it is in. If the fundamental purpose of the Kindle business is to drive book sales, then Amazon must take great strides to make it economically attractive for developers. More apps means more Kindle sales means more e-book revenue. That seems to be the equation. The revenue potential of the apps, as well as the hardware revenue of the Kindle, appears to mean far less than the huge opportunity to drive book sales through this platform.