For quite a while, I've been leaving my Kindle behind and taking my iPod Touch when I wanted to read. The Kindle iPod/iPhone App is quite mature, works seamlessly, and the iPod fits in my pocket a lot better than a Kindle. Of course, I'm an Android sort of guy and it offends my sensibilities to carry around my HTC Incredible and an iPod Touch. Guess what? Now I don't have to. And neither do you.
Amazon announced their Kindle App for Android this morning and, although ZDNet's Matthew Miller sees it as one more reason to love his Nexus One, I see this as taking us one step closer to converged device Nirvana and the end of the e-book reader as we know it. The iPhone Kindle app was the first nail in Kindle's coffin. The iPad was the second. An app now for the #2 mobile phone platform in the US? Nail #3.
I don't know how many nails the average coffin requires, but I do know that I have no desire to carry around an e-book reader that doesn't do much of anything else well and a phone (that does almost everything well, including, with this announcement, read Kindle e-books), and often a laptop (that I can also use to access my Kindle books if I'd like). I know that not everyone favors reading on an LCD, no matter how brilliant or large, and even I will admit that e-ink is very easy on the eyes. However, given the easy adjustment of font size and the fact that I (like many of my peers and most of the students I support) and basically attached to my phone most of the day anyway, I can live with the compromise. Now I can leave the iPod at home, too.
As Esther Shein reports over at InformationWeek,
The Kindle for Android requires Android OS 1.6 or greater, an SD card. It is also available on several other Android phones including the HTC MyTouch and Motorola CLIQ. Kindle newspapers, magazines and blogs are currently not available on Kindle for Android.
The latter is also true of the iPhone Kindle App and is certainly a compromise I can live with, given that my RSS reader and a couple of great browsers get me the rest of the content I might need on my phone. Better yet, users of the App don't need to have a Kindle, although the App will sync the last page read on your Kindle if you have one for convenience. Just download the App and start buying books, Kindle or no Kindle.
It's all about convergence. One device to rule them all. Speaking of which, I wonder how much the Lord of the Rings is on Amazon? Time to go download it and find out...It wouldn't be summer without a good re-read of the trilogy.