kindleResponding to the popularity of apps, Amazon announced today that developers will be able to make content for the Kindle eBook reader.

The new development kit has everything that software developers need to self-publish their own “active content,” or apps, on Amazon’s Kindle Store. The apps will go live later this year.

In the past two years, authors and publishers have been able to directly upload and sell content in the Kindle Store using the self-service platform. The kit has programming interfaces, tools and documentation to build apps on the Kindle, which has been a hit in the electronic book reader market.

Amazon has clearly figured out that it has a computer under the hood of the Kindle and that it could increase the popularity of the device if it allows developers to create a bunch of new content, free or paid, for the platform. In that sense, it’s following in the footsteps of Apple’s AppStore for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

The Kindle has wireless 3G deliver over Amazon’s Whispernet service,  a high resolution electronic paper display that looks like real paper, and a seven-day battery life. Some developers are already at work on apps. Handmark is building an active Zagat guide featuring their trusted ratings, reviews, and other guides to restaurants around the world. Sonic Boom is building word games and puzzles. Electronic Arts is making mobile games.

Participants in a limited beta will be able to download the kit in the next month, access support, test their content, and submit finished apps.