Amazon's Kindle e-book application is now available for Android smartphone users, according to a June 28 press release. The app is pitched as a companion to the Kindle e-reader, able to synchronize across devices, but some are saying the app, and other developments like it, are likely to deflect sales away from dedicated e-readers.
The Kindle for Android app, available via the Android Market, allows Android-powered smartphone users to access the Kindle library, purchase directly from the app, and synchronize with other Kindle-loaded devices. Like all Kindle app users, Android owners can access to up to 600,000 books (fewer in most non-US locations), and their bookmarks and page numbers will be saved and synchronized with the Kindle, Kindle DX, iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, PC, Mac, and BlackBerry.
This new addition to the Kindle lineup may help Amazon stay competitive against Apple's iBooks application, which does not run on non-Apple devices. However, it may be a detriment to dedicated e-readers such as the Kindle. In May,
PC World posed the question, "If you could get digital books on the smartphone you already carry, would you still buy a dedicated e-reader?," voicing doubt that the Kindle's eye-friendly e-ink display was enough to justify the Kindle's cost and the inconvenience of carrying another device.
The app's release comes a day after Amazon's announcement that its Kindle apps for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch now support embedded video and audio clips, another move that could detract readers from Kindle's and other e-reader devices that do not yet have audio/video features.
Kindle for Android is free and works with Android phones running on version 1.6 or later.