Kindle Dictionary/Apps ?

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秀才
Mike, here is a suggestion/opporunity for you... I know it is outside your usual platforms, etc. and maybe outside of your control as regards licences, but how about this: Create a Pleco Dictionary for the Amazon Kindle (or other e-readers). The Kindle comes with an English dictionary built in, which you can highlight words and have it pop up definitions. You can also add other dictionaries. I see a few Spanish and French dictionaries in the Kindle Store, but no Mandarin yet. The latest version of Kindle has Chinese character support now (as well as other unicode-type character sets). There is not a tremendous amount of chinese language books available yet on the store, but one can import anything to the Kindle using PDF, word, txt, etc, so anything could be brought in to use the e-ink reading experience, and it would be cool to have a dictionary similar to your reader with pop up definitions. I know you did not 'create' any of the dictionaries yourself, per se, but your value-added would be to synthesise a good usable dictionary perhaps from several of the ones you offer including the open source ones. (I know the license argument will come up here! :) I think in addition to the revenue (these dictionaries go for a decent amount of $ each) it would also get your name out there on Amazon and within the Kindle and add to brand recognition. First mover advantage, if you will.

The other idea (more work, though) would be to consider writing some Apps for the Kindle. Supposedly there is a SDK that was announced and there will supposedly be an App store soon. I am thinking flashcards, a version of your reader, maybe even a reduced-feature set version of pleco. It remains to be seen how the Chinese character support will be on the Kindle (I am awaiting mine now, but I have been reading their forums for days as I wait anxiously) the Korean font was apparently an epic fail according to every Korean poster on the amazon forums! I don't know if there is an IME yet (probably not) that might be another app to consider.

Anyway, just a thought. Love Pleco. Just love it!
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Thanks for the note on this.

The problem on the Kindle actually isn't licenses, it's software-running capabilities. For our purposes the Kindle basically has the same issue that a BlackBerry does: it can only run managed Java code, while our database engine was designed in native C code. Modern mobile processors are fast enough that managed code is just fine for most of the things that programs do - even pretty serious math can be done at decent speed with a JIT compiler - but one thing that Java continues to absolutely suck at is direct manipulation of binary data, of the sort that we do an awful lot of in dictionary searches / retrievals; we built a heavily-optimized Java version of our database engine on Android as an experiment and it ran about 100x slower than its native C equivalent on the same device (and this even on the newest version of Android, 2.2).

So to develop a version of Pleco for Kindles, BlackBerries, and other devices that have no support for running applications written in native code, we'd basically need to write a totally new app from scratch, one that would be a severely limited / pared-down version of what we have now that was designed specifically to work well within the limitations of managed-code Java apps. And while it certainly might be feasible for us to do that, it would represent an enormous investment of time and resources in a product that we're really not that much better-equipped to deliver than someone else with a lot more interest / experience in Java development, and a product that could be pretty seriously disappointing to customers accustomed to our faster / more feature-rich Palm/WM/iPhone software.

The few times I actually have taken meetings with VCs they've all been very keen on the idea of supporting BlackBerry, so I suppose if we ever went down that path we might then have the resources and the motivation to develop a version of Pleco for Java-only devices, but until then a Kindle version is probably out-of-reach.
 

mitia

Member
Hello everybody :D :D

I understand that the java code creates a big difficulty in adapting PLeco to Kindle.
But is it the case for all other eink tablets.
I hear that Pocketbook 602-603 has a converter to install any dictionary that is written in CCEDICT.
It seems that it's the case for PLeco and Pocketbook 602-603 is based :D :D on a Linux platform.
Does it change the problem?
Thanks
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
mitia said:
I hear that Pocketbook 602-603 has a converter to install any dictionary that is written in CCEDICT.
It seems that it's the case for PLeco and Pocketbook 602-603 is based on a Linux platform.
Does it change the problem?
Unfortunately no - we can't simply make dictionary databases for its built-in dictionary app (which is what that CC-CEDICT converter probably does), we have to program our own. Also, e-ink screens at the moment are pretty terrible for our purposes anyway - update too slowly to be effective for any kind of text input / fast result scrolling - so we're more inclined to wait for the next generation of that technology and support it through the (presumably) many Android-based readers that will use it.
 

watereyes

Member
mikelove said:
mitia said:
I hear that Pocketbook 602-603 has a converter to install any dictionary that is written in CCEDICT.
It seems that it's the case for PLeco and Pocketbook 602-603 is based on a Linux platform.
Does it change the problem?
Unfortunately no - we can't simply make dictionary databases for its built-in dictionary app (which is what that CC-CEDICT converter probably does), we have to program our own. Also, e-ink screens at the moment are pretty terrible for our purposes anyway - update too slowly to be effective for any kind of text input / fast result scrolling - so we're more inclined to wait for the next generation of that technology and support it through the (presumably) many Android-based readers that will use it.
I like this strategy. As of today Android has a 40% market share of cell phones and growing. I look forward to being an Android user of Pleco for some time to come. In fact, this is going to be the next big point I make when writing my email marketing material related to Pleco. This software really has the ability to grab even a deeper hold of market share with pristine Android capabilities.
 
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