Can Kindle Best Apple's iPad with Touch-screen and Apps?

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Amazon might not like Apple stealing its e-book thunder with the iPad, but it surely doesn't mind borrowing a page from Apple's playbook when it comes to app stores and touchscreens.

Apple's aggressive entry on the e-book reader market with the iPad gave Amazon a nudge. The result: a future Kindle with a touchscreen and an app store. Yet Amazon doesn't have a lot of time to counterpunch, as in just under 50 days, the iPad will start selling.

Amazon has acquired the flexibile touchscreen maker Touchco, to incorporate the technology into a future iteration of the Kindle e-reader. The company is also preparing to introduce an app store for the Kindle, which won't be any less restrictive than Apple's, reports say.

Through the Toucho acquisition, Amazon is able to add multitouch capabilities to the Kindle, though it's not known whether it will use colour screens. The Kindle app store is also in works, due to enter limited beta later this month. It will include word games, puzzles and location based travel guides.

Yet the Kindle app store is not much more generous to developers than Apple's own, famous for several restrictions, InfoWorld's Neil McAllister explains. The Kindle developers guidelines ban VoIP software and so are other apps that allow reading books outside Amazon's DRM, which basically won't make the Kindle a multi-purpose device, but just an evolved e-reader.

It will be interesting to see whether Amazon will be able to maintain a low price point for the Kindle ($259 currently) if it will pile on features to match the iPad. But what a smarter Kindle will have to face is the Apple App store and the hoards of developers working for it.

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