Kudos to Amazon: A good first step with Kindle iPhone app

Kudos to Amazon: A good first step with Kindle iPhone app

Summary: What do you call a Kindle app for the iPhone? A good start.

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What do you call a Kindle app for the iPhone? A good start. The company is listening to its users, if not actually doing much to build the community it could have around the Kindle.

Amazon unleashed the iPhone application this week with relatively little fanfare, but it's a major step for the company's dominance of the eBook market. Having access to the Kindle's extensive line of books without having to have the hardware, or just in conjunction with the hardware, makes Amazon that much more attractive as the supplier of eBooks vs. Sony and other eBook vendors.

As Matthew Miller points out over on his blog, it's a slick experience, too. It's just a shame that the Kindle community has to wait for Amazon to get around to innovating rather than having the tools to work around the Kindle platform itself.

Obviously, the company sees the virtue in decoupling Kindle reading materials from the actual Kindle hardware. What's left?

  • Tools to publish/convert in Kindle formats. The Kindle makes an excellent reading device for books, magazines, newspapers, etc. It'd also make a much better device for reading those corporate reports on long flights, if only users had an easy way of converting and saving docs in Kindle formats. (Note, Amazon's system of converting docs via email leaves a lot to be desired.)
  • Support for platforms outside the iPhone. Lots of mobile devices have suitable screens for reading eBooks, it'd be nice to see this opened up beyond the iPhone market. I'm sure Zune users (both of them) would like to be able to read an eBook on their devices as well.
  • Additional apps for the Kindle. I still hold that the Kindle can do more than just serve as an eBook reader. Amazon's release of a Kindle reader for the iPhone shows that the company sees demand for multi-function devices rather than single use devices. Why let Apple hog all the sales?
  • Color support. The iPhone (and other devices) can handle way better graphics than the Kindle hardware. It'd be nice to have the option to buy material that utilizes color graphics via the Kindle. (I suspect Amazon would have a major winner if it had color support and teamed up with Marvel and DC to publish comics on the Kindle.)

There's a lot Amazon could do with this platform, but it seems to move at glacial speed by itself. An open platform would boost Amazon's success here even more.

Topics: Amazon, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility

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5 comments
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  • Waiting for Godot

    No thanks, I'll just wait for the movey...
    dascha1
  • RE: Kudos to Amazon: A good first step with Kindle iPhone app

    Just bought Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, took less than two minutes on my iPhone before I started reading it, love it!! The interface is excellent with great graphics and easy to read fonts size. Navigation is a breeze, great job Amazon! Now I must watch myself before I put myself into debt by buying too many too quickly!
    nothingness
  • Very, Very, Very Smart

    Very smart on Amazon's part. The iphone will expose millions to kindle books. Millions who might never buy a kindle, but they can still buy the books and enjoy them. And Amazon makes more money and the iPhone is yet another app more useful.

    I just loaded the kindle app on my iPhone and downloaded the first few chapters of a kindle book (free). It is far better than I thought it would be. I could actually see myself reading books on the iPhone (something I thought I wouldn't like).

    So the iPhone is no longer just a segway device to intorduce people to the quality and class of Apple's products. Now it is also a segway device for Amazon... Bravo Amazon!!! Very smart!! Well done!!
    i8thecat
  • the eReader

    I downloaded this app but was pretty disappointed. the eReader app from http://www.ereader.com/ is far better developed.
    eReader has been making ebook reader apps for years for smartphones and PCs. They came out with a reader for the iPhone last year and it's great. It allows you to change fonts, backgrounds, page turning styles. Kindle feels like a beta application by comparison with no configuration options other than changing font size. I hope they continue to develop this and implement some of the features of the eReader app. The Kindle app feels basic by comparison.
    khammo01
    • The funny part of this is . . .

      that Amazon owns Mobipocket, upon which the Kindle format is based. Mobipocket is far more advanced than the Kindle itself, Which begs the question of why can't the Kindle itself do what the original software could do?
      JLHenry