Amazon goofily tries to steal Apple’s thunder with E-Ink Sudoku

“If you are going to try to steal Apple’s thunder just before its big Tablet announcement, you are going to have to do a little bit better than E-Ink Sudoku,” Erick Schonfeld writes for TechCrunch.

“Amazon is obviously concerned that the upcoming Apple Tablet, which will be able to function as a lush, full-color electronic reader for newspapers, books, and magazines might overshadow the black-and-white Kindle with its dot-matrix feel,” Schonfeld reports. “So what does Amazon do? It matches Apple’s rev-share with app developers by raising the royalty it gives publishers to 70 percent, starts to practically give away Kindles, and opens up the Kindle to developers.”

Schonfeld reports, “That’s right, there is now a Kindle Development Kit and there will soon be Kindle Apps. So instead of just books, you will be able to play Sudoku and scroll through interactive Zagat guides. Maybe you’ll be able to play Space Invaders or Pong, if the E-Ink technology the screen is based on can ever refresh fast enough for you to shoot the aliens.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote this morning, in case you missed it:

Amazon, if this isn’t a joke, it should be. Mr. Bezos needs to wake up, smell the coffee, and look out; there’s a steamroller a-comin’. Seriously, if you have a pet goldfish: Take it out of the water, place it on your kitchen table, and observe. That’s exactly what Amazon will look like the day Apple begins really selling books in iTunes Store. Now put your fish back in its bowl before PETA starts emailing us. As we’ve written many times before:

Kindle, Schmindle. Black and white, looking like John Dykstra superglued it together back in 1975… puleeze. This Kindle fantasy, which we’ve never bought into (the complete lack of actual sales figures from Amazon doesn’t help to sell us), is about to come crashing down for everyone else. Even without the rumored tablet, Apple already has long had two Kindle (hardware) killers, iPhone and iPod touch.

Apple’s current devices already offer e-reader functions, including Amazon’s Kindle app itself. And, unlike Amazon, Apple hasn’t sold just a meager 2.5 million devices with grand hopes of having added another paltry 500,000 during the holiday quarter. Apple will sell upwards of 20 million iPhone and iPod touch devices in the holiday quarter alone; 40 times the Kindle sales estimated by analysts. 40 times. To date, adding in the holiday quarter estimates, Apple has sold roughly 75 million iPhones and iPod touches combined, all of which, providing they are running at least iPhone OS 2.0, are capable of using Amazon’s Kindle app, not to mention a huge selection of other e-reader apps. 3 million Kindles vs. 75 million iPhones and iPod touches. Let’s face facts, folks, for quite some time now, the far and away #1 electronic reading device in the world is from Apple, not Amazon.

Lest he miss the train, Mr. Bezos should forget his amateurish, goofy, severely-limited hardware and focus all of his company’s attention on Amazon’s Kindle software for Apple hardware.


  1. I dunno guys.

    While Amazon’s attempt at a defense is kinda sad I’m starting to wonder about the Apple Tablet.
    I mean, if those leaked pics turn out to be real it will be really really bad that the great Apple Tablet turns out to be an oversized iphone?

    Is that the best design Jon Ive could come up with?

  2. When will you folks at MDN realize that you’re comparing apples (no pun intended) to oranges?

    Kindle is meant to be a book replacement. When you’re a heavy reader, a backlit screen really strains your eyes. It’s really frustrating to try to read books on a computer. That’s why all these e-readers use black and white screens: The technology is specially designed to not be backlit. No matter what media the iSlate/Tablet/Pad has, it will never replace a book. Because it will hurt people’s eyes.

    The iPod and iPhone are great tools for multimedia, but the Kindle isn’t about multimedia. The apps are pretty meaningless; the selling point is that you can read without straining yourself. Unless Apple’s product has an e-ink display, it’s in a different product category entirely.

  3. Wow, look at that awesome Soduku. It’s probably the most graphically intense, most awesome Soduku game I’ve ever seen on the planet. Thing make PONG look primitive. Great job Amazon, this will be the killer app for the Kindle.

  4. I think Amazon’s main reason for launching the Kindle has always been to jump-start the ebook industry in order to sell content, not turn itself into a hardware company. I hope for Amazon’s sake that they don’t start imagining that they can actually compete with Apple, because they obviously can’t. If they insist on trying, the result ain’t gonna be pretty. For Amazon, that is.

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