September 28, 2011
Post by Zeke Koch, Director of Product Management, Digital Publishing
I’m delighted to see Amazon’s announcements today. One of the most fun (and occasionally frustrating) parts of my job is helping our publishers get their content on brand new devices. Over the last year, we’ve helped publishers get on Apple’s iPad as well as a host of other tablets, many that have launched and others that I still can’t talk about.
I think that I can safely say that this is the most excited that I’ve been about a tablet launch since the original iPad. You see, as an avid reader and frequent traveller, I’m a huge Amazon fan. I’ve bought over 400 books from Amazon over the last 15 years and while I’ve bought 88 ebooks for my various Kindles, I’ve been hoping that Amazon would support a dedicated reading device with a color screen and a powerful processor that would support high design digital magazines as well as web browsing and applications for great interactive experiences.
When Conde Nast approached me about helping them get on the Kindle Fire I was ecstatic. In order to show off Glamour, Wired and Vanity Fair the device would need a gorgeous display. A week later an unmarked box appeared in my office and as soon as I opened it, I knew that they had a winner.
Amazon has made a series of very smart choices. The device is small enough to hold comfortably in your hand for extended reading sessions. While it’s running Google’s Android operating system (which simplified our porting efforts) Amazon has streamlined and simplified the user interface to focus the user on reading. Next, they chose to use the Gingerbread version of Android which means that 100% of the screen is available to a publisher’s content. Finally, the $199 price point is astonishingly low.
We use Adobe AIR for our Android Content Viewer and that made it easy to customize it for Amazon’s device, as well as giving Kindle Fire customers access to their other favorite AIR applications. We added support for their Amazon Marketplace Payment APIs and the ability to hide and show their bottom navigation and Conde Nast were ready to go. We are adding support to Viewer Builder for the new Kindle Fire at the end of our next development cycle so that all of our publishers can start publishing their magazines on Amazon’s marketplace if they choose. And as Flash is also included, you can freely browse the web to access all of your favorite web sites.