Amazon opens door to Kindle apps

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Amazon.com on Thursday announced its first-ever software developer's kit for anyone who wants to create active content for its popular Kindle e-readers.

The Kindle Development Kit (KDK) will be available in limited beta form next month and the new software and other content from the initiative is expected to be in the Kindle Store later this year, Amazon said in a statement.

Examples of what kind of content people can expect for their Kindles include travel books with real-time weather updates and current events, cookbooks that recommend menus for people with allergies or different kinds of parties, and the inclusion of word games and puzzles for the Kindle.

The KDK gives software developers access to programming interfaces, sample code, tools and documentation to build content for Kindle's high-resolution electronic paper and to use its 3G capability and other functions.

Software developer Handmark is already at work developing active Zagat restaurant guides for the Kindle, while Sonic Boom is making word games and puzzles for the device, Amazon said. EA Mobile plans to bring some of its games to the Kindle.

In February, participants in a limited beta test of the KDK will be able to download the kit and access other support, as well as test their content on the Kindle Simulator, which simulates the 6-inch Kindle or 9.7-inch Kindle DX on Mac, PC and Linux desktops.

Information about the KDK is available at http://www.amazon.com/kdk/.

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