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Is Amazon's Kindle iPhone app crippled or companion? CFO says companion

Ed Burnette raises an interesting question about Amazon's Kindle application for the iPhone and iPod touch: Did the e-commerce giant cripple the iPhone to keep selling Kindles?Ed writes (Techmeme):The wireless downloads are nice, and the way it synchronizes your current page with the page you were reading on the Kindle device is handy, but the entire thing seems to be set up to make your phone an extension of your Kindle and not a replacement for it.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Ed Burnette raises an interesting question about Amazon's Kindle application for the iPhone and iPod touch: Did the e-commerce giant cripple the iPhone to keep selling Kindles?

Ed writes (Techmeme):

The wireless downloads are nice, and the way it synchronizes your current page with the page you were reading on the Kindle device is handy, but the entire thing seems to be set up to make your phone an extension of your Kindle and not a replacement for it.

As Ed was posting, I was listening to Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak speak at the Morgan Stanley technology conference. Szkutak danced around for about an hour without saying a whole lot. However, he did lightly tread on Ed's point. Regarding the iPhone/iPod Kindle app, Szkutak said:

I think for Kindle users it'll be a great companion. The benefit is if Kindle owner is reading book on Kindle and leaves it at home. If you're getting coffee or standing in the grocery line you can use your iPhone or iPod touch to pick up where you left off. [The iPhone app] also opens it up for customers who don't have Kindles to get content. 

The main point: Amazon sees the iPhone as a Kindle companion. And given Amazon's attention to detail with the Kindle--it's a book not a PC and it can be read outside--it's highly unlikely that the iPhone will be a reading device for extended reading sessions. For starters, the screen is too small. And then there's the beach test: You can barely read a mobile screen on the beach. 

Now it's quite possible that the Kindle iPhone app may change in the future but for now Amazon sees its e-book as a library server of sorts dishing content out to your multiple devices.

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