No, I’m not going to write an article about the guy who saved his own life in Haiti with an iPhone app.
Because, frankly, everyone’s been talking about that already.
No, in this case, what I’m about to ramble about is the news that Amazon is opening the Kindle for developers. Now, this might not sound like a big deal, but I think it is. Here’s why…
First, this is a low-power, always-connected computer. Oh, don’t kid yourself into thinking this is just a “reader”. What’s under the hood is basically a small computer. Now, I’m not sure what the operating system is, but I know, for instance, that the Nook is rumored to be based on Android. Regardless, it’s a basic tablet that can connect to the web. That, frankly, opens up some real possibilities.
I can see, as an example, a tech like me carrying around a virtual “stack” of manuals in ebook form, while still being able to use the device to troubleshoot problems, like pinging IP interfaces or hitting the web to Google for answers to problems.
But, compare it to, say, the iPhone which has a Kindle app. And, a Barnes and Noble Reader app. And, frankly, as my friends are probably tired of hearing me say, an app for everything. It’s like carrying magic around in your pocket! (Which does, in fact, sound a little dirty when you say it out loud.) So, they sort of have to do this, just to keep up.
Secondly, this will definitely up the ante for everyone else’s device. There were a lot of new ebook readers out at CES this year and I’ve heard a lot of buzz over the past year about how “everyone” is coming out with a new reader. Again, I reference the Nook, but also the Sony entry and others. So, now, people will be thinking about all the ways that a tablet will be more useful.
Now, don’t get me wrong, ereaders are great and all, but, honestly, I think there’s more of a market for an easy-to-use device that can do a whole lot more than just display books. Again, I reference my own experience with the iPhone. Sure, having a phone that can get your e-mail and handle your schedule is great, but a real smart phone is an animal of an entirely different stripe. My iPhone enables me to do a whole range of things from check for movie times to checking the weather to checking my checking account to handling my schedule and calendar to, yes, remote access to my servers. And, it has the ability to read ebooks. Now, why would I want a single-purpose reader?
And, finally, the biggest, best reason this is important is because Apple has announced their new tablet device, the iPad. Of course, the iPad is a whole lot more than a simple ebook reader, and not just because it has an after-market for accessories already, either. So, now, with two app stores for two devices, we will hopefully have competition which will drive improvement in all these devices and give us, the consumer, the best device possible. At least, in theory.
Personally, after my experience with the iPhone, I’m hoping that the iPad adds some more service and drops in price significantly over the next couple years. Then, I’ll probably skip the Kindle all together and get an iPad, generation 3. (Yeah, I’ll probably skip generation 2, as well, due to pricing and budgets.)
Personally, I look forward to our new Apple overlords! (Not really, but they do design some great products!)