Monday, November 26, 2007

Amazon's "Director of Kindle" has no problems with Kindle hacking, may allow Kindle to be used as a platform for third party apps in the future

I came across an interesting tidbit at SeattleTimes: Briar Dudley talked to Charlie Tritschler who apparently heads the Kindle program at Amazon. Getting right to the meat of it:

Is Kindle hackable? "It's not something we're opening up, but all devices can be hacked. That's something people can do."

Will there be APIs for software developers to write Kindle applications? "That's an important future direction for us."

Now contrast the "that's something people can do" to Apple's early reaction to iPhone apps where Jobs decried the idea in the name of 'security'. Pragmatically, there is definitely a conflict between any company's goal of making the most money they can out of a product and opening it up to be hacked though I wouldn't say the two are orthogonal. Hence, even this non-negative reaction that Amazon has to the Kindle being hacked is a refreshing change from the norm. As Tritschler says, I doubt that Amazon will be giving out the keys to the castle, so to speak. But I don't expect them to "brick" hacked Kindles like Apple did with iphones. And if (when) they release the APIs, I am sure there will be some sort of filtering process but I think it will still make the Kindle a better product ultimately benefiting Amazon. Time will tell!

44 comments:

Dan Keldsen said...

Sounds like a hedge to me. The analogy to the iPhone doesn't quite compare - there is no similar reason for a Kindle to be "bricked." There is no other provider, and no need for another provider (in the US at least) with the Kindle. Whispernet is free, so the revenue stream from the connectivity isn't at risk. It's the revenue stream from the subscriptions that they're counting on. IMHO.

Aarjav Trivedi said...

dan: Sure it's free "for now". So sayeth the Amazon employees on the Kindle forums page. But yes, in principle I agree that even if they do charging for the wireless, it will be minimal and their main source of revenue is books.

The reason they COULD have a problem with Kindle hacking is if you can get shell access and install firefox and thunderbird on it, it's like a free EVDO connection (for which people pay $60/month). I am sure Amazon doesn't want to pay for your full scale email and web traffic.

Dan Keldsen said...

Good points. Now, if only I had the skills (and time) to hack it myself!

Mark said...

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http://everydayyeah.com/?q=content/kindle-review

Anonymous said...

First hack: http://igorsk.blogspot.com/2007/12/mobipocket-books-on-kindle.html

Kindle Vine said...

Pretty cool, wonder how future versions of the Kindle will provide for user modifications.

tgraupmann said...

I need a couple hacks for my Kindle 1 to add to its usefulness.

1) Plugging my Kindle into my USB laptop should allow me to use the Kindle's 3G network for laptop browsing. - That would rock

2) Skype works on Kindle 1. - I need to always be connected

3) Separate views - I want to be able to save and switch between views. Like I'm reading a book in view 1. In view 2 I'm browsing. In view 3 I'm on wikipedia and view 4 browsing the dictionary

tgraupmann said...

This is the best hacking I've seen so far. [http://igorsk.blogspot.com/]

Edward Kenworthy said...

@tgraupmann

I'd rather the Kindle didn't evolve into a ghetto laptop, with a really slow screen, as I value the *huge* battery life of the device. Any additional functionality as you describe would destroy that.

If you need the functionality you describe, by a netbook.

Anonymous said...

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Emanuele said...

Hi guys, I know that this is kinda off topic, but, as I am still wondering if that`s a smart idea to buy a kindle, I`d like a "hack faq"... is there some place around giving you simple answer to basic questions like

1) is there a SIMPLE way (ie not necessary to open and fiddle with hardware) to read .doc & pdf files without having to pay a fee to Amazon?

and so on

THank you and sorry for the offtopic

Anonymous said...

Kindle Source code posted on amazon website:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200203720

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Lose Yourself in Your Reading
The most elegant feature of a physical book is that it disappears while you're reading. Immersed in the author's world and ideas, you don't notice a book's glue, the stitching, or ink. Our top design objective was to make Kindle disappear--just like a physical book--so you can get lost in your reading, not the technology.

Own an iPhone?
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Anonymous said...

The Bbest kindle hack so far is released by KindleOS.com - it has a fantastic pdf support with zoom, ePUB and Microsoft doc support.

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Anonymous said...

Tivo originally had everything free too.

I'm slow to adopt a Kindle because of content concerns when different people use it. Check this page out to see what I mean: http://www.askdavetaylor.com/parental_controls_filter_on_amazon_kindle.html

phaans said...

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The Amazon Kindle is an e-book reader developed by Amazon.com subsidiary Lab126 which uses wireless connectivity to enable users to shop for, download, browse, and read e-books, newspapers, magazines, blogs, and other digital media.The Kindle hardware devices use an E Ink electronic paper display that shows up to 16 shades of gray, minimizes power use and simulates reading on paper.

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