Amazon may be preparing to launch a new browser for it’s Kindle e-reader range it has been suggested.
A job posting has recently been spotted for a browser engineer at a division of Amazon set aside specifically for the development of software for the Kindle, known as Lab126.
The company appears to be looking to recruit someone who can design new features for the popular reader’s notably sub-standard browser interface, and does require knowledge of current web standards, web rendering engines, Java and embedded Linux.
Though this might not necessarily suggest that the online retailer is actually looking for a developer to redesign their reader’s inbuilt browser itself, it is a strong indication, and would certainly be coming at a good time.
One of the complaints, or irks which has struck most Kindle users is the poor and generally basic browsing experience available on the Kindle for a device which boasts more than any of its competitors, the exerpience of browsing through the device is much more a throwback to old Nokia handsets from the late 90’s.
Until recently, Amazon with a growing and dominant share in the e-reader market had little to worry about, still offering more than any of its competitors and, in some cases slimmer, more comfortable reading. However the introduction of the iPad and a stream of new ‘e-readers’ being released into the market place has led the retail magnate to up its game and potentially force the Kindle to become a jack-of-all-trades.
It could be said that if Amazon are to be hurt by the sales of the iPad, then it’s the store’s own doing. While the iPad is seen more as a portable than a dedicated e-reader and content to leave the majority of the e-reader market be, the Kindle’s attempts to cover all the bases of portable accessibility as well as reading, has been beginning to position itself as a portable, even if a watered down one, not only offering reading, but also wikipedia and soon; third party apps in order to begin dominating the previously barren land of electronic readers.
If it is to compete with Apple, Amazon will need to work quickly in developing its rumoured colour Kindle, and begin releasing third party apps for which it has begun allowing developers to work on.
Otherwise, it should stick to what it’s good at; reading.
Amazon’s sudden alertness to the reader marketplace is a fantastic result that consumers are now seeing since the announcement of the iPad. With companies like HP and Amazon jumping over each other to produce the iPad killer, before it’s even hit the shelves.
2010 will be an interesting year for e-readers and portable computing, mostly in the ‘slate’ or ‘pad’ market, and possibly the demise of the netbook.