App Store Overload? Kindle Gets An App Store

from the it-ain't-the-web dept

It's amazing how people see one semi-successful concept and suddenly everyone has to pile on. The iPhone's app store has certainly been a success -- much more in terms of making the iPhone more attractive than for most developers. But it has all sorts of people thinking that "apps" are in again, and we're seeing app stores pop up in a variety of different places. The latest is Amazon's Kindle, which hopes to make the ebook reading device more valuable with more apps.

It does make me wonder, though, if people are betting too strongly on app stores, and not recognizing why it works so well in some areas. I also wonder if focusing on apps and app stores is going to make people miss out on the fact that web-based apps (that don't need to go through any app store) may overtake client-side apps. We've already gone through this on the desktop, and one by one, web-based apps have come along that match (or sometimes exceed) the functionality of client-side apps, leading many to turn away from client apps altogether.

Separately, adding another app store to another device may only serve to confuse (or annoy) some users. If you have an iPhone and a Kindle, and there are the same apps on both, which are you going to use? It may depend on the app, but my guess is that in most cases the phone is going to win out over an ebook reader.


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  1.  
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    Chill, Jan 21st, 2010 @ 7:39am

    If you have an iPhone and a Kindle, and there are the same apps on both, which are you going to use? It may depend on the app, but my guess is that in most cases the phone is going to win out over an ebook reader.

    Well, whichever one the user sees the most value and flexibility in, for a price they deem acceptable. So yeah, probably the iPhone.

    I would imagine that this will parallel the competition in the home console industry. Who buys the same content twice? Makes no economic sense.

     

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  2.  
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    Call me Al, Jan 21st, 2010 @ 7:42am

    I wouldn't be surprised if we start to see features left off devices and that we are instead pointed at their app store where we can buy something that should have been on the device in the first place. That way we pay for the device and pay again for the app in order to get to where we should be.

     

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  3.  
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    dwind (profile), Jan 21st, 2010 @ 7:44am

    I'd say the app will run on which ever device you currently have in your hand or is closest to you. Free apps of course.
    Does anyone actually buy apps?
    How many people have both a kindle and iphone?

     

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  4.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jan 21st, 2010 @ 7:53am

    Actually the appstore part is the least interesting news from Amazon today

    I mean, look at this press release:
    http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1376977&a mp;highlight

    Amazon is offering authors a 70% royalty fee if they release their books on the Kindle without intervention from publishers.

    It seems more interesting to me, than any appstore.

    Only this part makes me concerned though:
    - "Under this royalty option, books must be offered at or below price parity with competition, including physical book prices."
    In other words: no, you can't have your book on the Kindle and the Nook for the same price.

    But I guess Amazon would like to get a vice grip on the fledgling market.

     

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  5.  
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    AdamR (profile), Jan 21st, 2010 @ 8:11am

    I guess the new buzz word and must have is an App store. That scares me, why because these companies are going to think that the only thing needed to succeed is to have an app store and magically they will be making billions. They will not put the time and effort to making a well designed and simply site that customer will like and understand, take one look at the Android market place and the disaster that it is.

     

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  6.  
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    Rabbit80 (profile), Jan 21st, 2010 @ 8:14am

    I have to disagree with you a bit on this Mike.. These app stores are great ways of encouraging development for the platforms, and for the end user to easily get the best out of their devices.

    For example, I often had issues finding software for my Windows Mobile based phone. The software I did find did not always make the best use of the phone (there were only a few apps that made use of the accelorometer for example). I never once paid for any applications for it.

    I now have an Android phone with an Apps store. The quality of the applications strikes me as much higher, and are far easier to access and install - as well as there being more of them! I have actually purchased several apps now. It is convinient, quick, and Google offer 24 hours in which I can get a refund if the app does not work or I don't like it!

     

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  7.  
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    Rabbit80 (profile), Jan 21st, 2010 @ 8:16am

    Re:

    Take a look at Windows Mobile and how that is an even worse disaster without one...

     

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  8.  
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    Robert Ring (profile), Jan 21st, 2010 @ 8:17am

    And to complicate things further, there is a Kindle app for the iPhone.

     

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  9.  
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    Yakko Warner, Jan 21st, 2010 @ 8:20am

    TCO

    Doesn't the Kindle come with network access? If you could get the same apps without paying for a data plan, the Kindle apps would look a lot more attractive...

     

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  10.  
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    Adam, Jan 21st, 2010 @ 8:34am

    I actually have an iPhone and a Kindle. Before I got the Kindle, I read books on my iPhone, and considered it serviceable. When I received the Kindle as a gift, I quickly stopped reading on the iPhone because the Kindle offered a superior reading experience - mainly in less eyestrain, and a considerably longer battery life.

    As for apps on the Kindle, they would have to be something that related to reading, and not "opportunity" information - that would be more useful on the iPhone, as I have that with me everywhere.

     

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  11.  
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    Rasmus, Jan 21st, 2010 @ 9:29am

    web-apps vs client-apps

    This is an old conflict that is mostly over now.

    If you look at a typical iPhone app its both at the same time. Most apps are built like interactive webpages (xml+javascript) and they often use ajax-like mechanisms for communicating with a server-application that provides additional services.

    The Kindle app-store will be a success if its easy to port iPhone apps (the widget type) to a Kindle. Otherwise they will have a hard time attracting developers.

     

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  12.  
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    Freedom, Jan 21st, 2010 @ 9:32am

    App Store Achilles Heel - Power and Platform Openness

    I think a major Achilles Heel of all App Stores or client based apps is having an open platform (java, (cough) flash, etc.) and faster processors.

    Apple has been able to succeed with their app store far beyond what it should have by using artificial controls. They don't allow interpreted code (flash, java, etc.) to run on the phone. Take that away, and the app store wouldn't be near the force it is today.

    As these devices get more powerful, the need for highly customized/tuned code is reduced - Internet or hybrid apps start to make more sense, can support more devices and so on. At first, 'app-philes' (i.e. audiophiles types for applications), will want a dedicated app, but the Internet ones will get better and finally start to take over.

    I think app stores will come and go fairly quickly as long as market forces force the players to allow java, flash, and so on to run on these devices, and the devices continue to get more powerful.

    Freedom

     

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  13.  
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    Steven (profile), Jan 21st, 2010 @ 9:37am

    Re:

    Debian: App store since 1993! ;)

     

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  14.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Jan 21st, 2010 @ 9:38am

    Re:

    I have a Droid (and an iPhone 3G before that) and an ebook reader (Cybook Gen3) and the ebook reader is gathering dust. While it does have both the features (and they are nice features) of long battery life and less eyestrain, the ebook reader fails because it's not always in my pocket.

    So, the phone won.

     

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  15.  
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    Steven (profile), Jan 21st, 2010 @ 9:48am

    Re:

    More to your point. I don't see the Android market as a disaster. It's pretty awesome, but it needs better filters. That doesn't mean Google or the carrier has to be the filter, but we need the filters for the apps just as we need filters for any massive set.

     

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  16.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Jan 21st, 2010 @ 10:19am

    microtransactions

    every stupid business feels that taking advantage of our brain's weakness towards microtransactions is a good idea. In the short run, sure, but long run? Not even remotely.

    I think it was from http://www.cracked.com/article_17142_5-ways-common-sense-lies-to-you-everyday.html article, if I remember correctly. The $5 vs 5x 1$ bills thing.

    It just shows that amazon is not above taking advantage of people to make a buck. Yay for capitalism.

     

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  17.  
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    Richard (profile), Jan 21st, 2010 @ 10:31am

    Re:

    - does that app enable you to run Kindle apps on the iPhone?

     

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  18.  
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    Paul Renault (profile), Jan 21st, 2010 @ 11:14am

    You want apps on an e-reader?

    Why not go with a platform that's been open for a while?

    http://developer.irexnet.com/pub/

    I've had my iLiad for more than 1 1/5 years. Still happy!

     

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  19.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Jan 21st, 2010 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Actually the appstore part is the least interesting news from Amazon today

    "Under this royalty option, books must be offered at or below price parity with competition, including physical book prices."

    That one quote you pulled out seems anti-competitive. Is it legal for one distribution channel to control the pricing in another?

     

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  20.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Jan 21st, 2010 @ 12:22pm

    Where Did I Read...?

    Where did I read that:

    "I see the dedicated reader market fading in the future, much as PDAs did. Not that they're not in demand, but the dedicated Readers will evolve and be subsumed into general-purpose tablets"

    Oh, yeah, it was here:
    http://techdirt.com/article.php?sid=20100114/1603307765&threaded=true&sp=1

    I suppose it wasn't that hard to see it coming, and many people probably did. Amazon is preparing for upcoming competition from Apple and other multi-functional tablets.

     

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  21.  
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    chris (profile), Jan 21st, 2010 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Re:

    - does that app enable you to run Kindle apps on the iPhone?

    no, but you can download a large selection of apps for the kindle iphone app from the kindle iphone app store.

    what really interests me is an iphone app for the kindle.

    it would be really great if apps bought from the iphone kindle app store were compatible with apps from the kindle iphone app store. but you will probably have to download an app to convert those apps.

     

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  22.  
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    Rooker, Jan 21st, 2010 @ 1:52pm

    The day someone makes an app that severs Amazon's ability to tamper with a Kindle remotely, I might take it off the "not if they paid me to keep it" list. Otherwise, not interested if Amazon has the technical ability to delete or edit books stored on it.

    The Amazon and Kindle brands were destroyed when they did their digital book burnings last year.

     

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  23.  
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    Reader Watch, Jan 21st, 2010 @ 7:53pm

    GPS on Kindle

    I will wait for the time when someone develops a GPS app for my Kindle. Warning: Don't read and drive! http://www.buy-ereaders.com

     

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  24.  
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    Fans of Techdirt, Jan 27th, 2010 @ 6:53am

    Kindle become a hit !!

    I love it, a nice and revolutionary reading device. Now i can get rid of the books and magazines i used to subscribe. My friend recommend me to http://www.unique-stuff.co.cc/products/kindle_reading_device.html After reading their reviews, i decide to have my own kindle.. Everyone should have their own..

     

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  25.  
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    iphone apps, Feb 11th, 2010 @ 12:04am

    Iphone Store

    Iphone's app store will certainly offering a wide range of choices when it comes items sale.

     

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  26.  
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    iPhone 3Gs, Mar 28th, 2010 @ 3:37pm

    app stores

    what interests me most is an iphone app for the kindle. it would be really great if apps bought from the iphone kindle app store were compatible with apps from the kindle iphone app store. but you will probably have to download an app to convert those apps.

     

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  27.  
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    June Beatty, Sep 8th, 2010 @ 6:49am

    App Mkt saturation?

    I agree with the post wholeheartedly. It seems that lots of people seem to have the same idea at the same time, and this in turn creates a highly competitive environment in which they all lose, except the originator, bc it knows the game best, and makes the rules of the game. I can't see the kindle app store going too far... but I also wonder if in the next 3 years the iphone app store won't also become saturated with an app for absolutely everything, to the point that there are three competing iphone apps in every tiny niche. The solution? More functionality for the phone itself to spur new and more useful apps.

     

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