Although Amazon has slowly been adding features to its Kindle e-reader, the company has been cautious to note that its device is a dedicated reader for electronic books, many of which are distributed through the company’s Amazon.com webpage. Rather than adding features to compete with tablets, Amazon said it is focused on building the best readers of digital books. But that has not stopped Amazon from adding features ranging from social networking integration to Twitter and Facebook, a Webkit-based web browser–the same technology that the iPad’s mobile Safari is built upon, and access to documents via the company’s email conversion service. Latest in the laundry list that takes the Kindle away from its single-tasking purpose as an electronic bookshelf is the addition of games, making it stray even closer into tablet territory.
As Amazon wades even further into murky waters with its Kindle, it’s unsure how avid readers will take to the changes and additions. True, you can opt to not browse the web on the device or not even turn on the games, but as the dedicated e-ink reader tries to compete against color screens of tablets in the multi-purpose, multi-function category, can the Kindle win this race?
The games that are being added to Kindle are developed using the company’s development kit. First is Shuffle Row, where players create as many words as possible using 60 lettered tiles; each tile used gets replaced with a new tile. Like Scrabble, less common words and less common letters earn more points. The second game–Every Word–is based upon a similar premise. Players who unlock the longest word in the round get fresh letters and move to new levels. (Yawn…)
Games are free on Kindle, at this time, and there’s no telling if a paid games market will come to Amazon. Like books, games can be wirelessly delivered.