Behind the Headlines: Amazon Announces Kindle for Android App for Release Summer 2010

Amazon announced overnight that it will release a Kindle for Android App this summer to allow Kindle content to be purchased, read, and synched on the Droid Incredible, Google Nexus One, HTC MyTouch, Motorola CLIQ, Motorola Droid, and other devices that have an SD card and run Android OS 1.6 or greater. Importantly, Amazon appears to be readying the Kindle for Android App for international roll-out.

No Kindle Required, and no surprise here, but kudos to Amazon for continuing its relentless march to make the Kindle platform available for free download on the widest possible array of popular mobile devices. The relatively new Android platform is capturing impressive early market share, despite the notion that one might get from the gadget and mainstream media that every family in the world will own 5 iPhones, 3 iPads, and an iPod Touch by Labor Day.

Amazon’s release and placeholder page don’t give away much information about the finer points of the Kindle for Android App feature set, but include a line that promises users will be able to "[a]djust the text size, add bookmarks, and view the annotations you created on your Kindle, computer, or other Kindle-compatible device."

But I find it mildly intriguing that another line notes that "Kindle newspapers, magazines and blogs are currently not available on Kindle for Android." Call me greedy, but when I see the juxtaposition of the words "currently" and "not available" in Amazon metadata or news releases, I take it to mean "We’re working on that and we will let you know when it is ready."

Speaking of what the Kindle team may be working on, will a Kindle for Palm app be next up, or is it way too 2001 of me to suggest such a thing? A decade ago when I was at Inc. Magazine one of my responsibilities was to provide our magazine and book content digitally to Palm and Pocket PC owners through Peanut Press and netLibrary, and there were plenty of orders for those early days. Getting Kindle on those devices would, in my perhaps nostalgic view, kind of complete the circle so that some of Kindle’s device-apps team could spring to the next level and begin investing serious energy in important projects such as:
 

  • bringing all of the world’s languages and alphabets, if not to the Kindle device itself, at least to the Kindle for iPad and other devices;
     
  • making "plays-well-with-others" deals with some competitors’ dedicated ereaders; and
     
  • renewing its subsidiary Stanza platform as the app of choice to read free content from sites like the Internet Archive on the iPad, iPhone, and other devices.

The availability of the Kindle for Android, which is a Google-developed platform for mobile devices, could be one more ingredient to make things interesting as Google, fresh off recent failures as a mobile phone retailer with the Nexus One and a social network developer with Buzz, moves to try to find work as an online book retailer.

Here’s the guts of Amazon’s news release this morning:

 

Introducing Kindle for Android

Free Android app for reading allows customers to enjoy over 540,000 Kindle books on Android phones; Amazon offers Kindle apps for the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Mac, PC, BlackBerry and, soon, Android


SEATTLE, May 18, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) –Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced that Kindle for Android, the free application that lets readers around the world enjoy Kindle books on their Android phones, is coming this summer. Kindle for Android enables customers to discover and read from over 540,000 books in the Kindle Store — the largest selection of the most popular books that people want to read — including New York Times Bestsellers and New Releases from $9.99. Like all Kindle apps, Kindle for Android will include Amazon’s Whispersync technology, which saves and synchronizes a customer’s bookmarks across their Kindle, Kindle DX, iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, PC, Mac, BlackBerry and, soon, Android, so customers always have their reading material with them and never lose their place. Kindle is the most wished for, most gifted and #1 bestselling product on Amazon.com.

"Kindle for Android is the perfect companion application for Kindle and Kindle DX owners, and is also a great way for customers to enjoy over 540,000 books in the Kindle Store even if they don’t yet have a Kindle," said Jay Marine, director, Amazon Kindle. "We think customers are going to love the convenience and simplicity of having instant access to a massive selection of books from Amazon on their Droid, Nexus, Incredible and many more Android devices."
 

Android owners can take advantage of the features that customers love about Kindle and Kindle app experience, including:

  • Search more than 540,000 books, including 96 of 110 New York Times Bestsellers, plus tens of thousands of the most popular classics for free directly from their Android device. Bestsellers such as "Backlash" by Aaron Allston, "Big Girl" by Danielle Steel, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot, and "The Lost Symbol" by Dan Brown, and hundreds of thousands of other popular books are $9.99 or less in the Kindle Store
     
  • Browse by genre or author, and take advantage of all the features that customers enjoy in the Kindle Store, including Amazon.com customer reviews, personalized recommendations and editorial reviews
     
  • Access their library of previously purchased Kindle books storedon Amazon’s servers for free
     
  • Synchronize last page read between their Kindle, Kindle DX, iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, PC, Mac, BlackBerry and, soon, Android
     
  • Choose from five different font sizes
     
  • Read the beginning of books for free before they decide to buy
     
  • Read in portrait or landscape mode, tap on either side of the screen or flick to turn pages

Customers can see a sneak peak and sign up to receive an e-mail when Kindle for Android is available at http://www.amazon.com/kindleforandroid.

 

This is a reprint from Stephen Windwalker’s Kindle Nation Daily.

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