Amazon is brilliant. They released a version of their Kindle reader for the iPhone the other day and it’s just brilliant. Wow.
I have an iPhone (that I currently don’t use as a phone; my job requires that I play with other phones) and I immediately downloaded it to check out. It is very cool.
What I like:
- Super easy to download books you’ve already purchased for your Kindle onto your iPhone.
- I can read a bit of a novel anywhere I am because my phone is always with me, but my Kindle is not.
- “Whispersync” syncs the page you are on between all of your reading devices (I have 2 Kindle’s and the iPhone app). The other day I started reading Joe Hadleman’s Camouflage on my Kindle 2. I was about 50 pages in when I had to put it down. I had to pick my daughter up at dance and while waiting I pulled out my iPhone, brought up the Kindle app and it took me right to the location I was at in Camouflage. Ditto when I got back to using the real device tonight.
- The user experience is simple and pretty.
What I don’t like:
- On the Kindle device for whispersync to work you have to remember to tell it to sync before you put it down and when you pick it up again. This is especially important if you turn the wireless off on the Kindel to preserve battery power. I don’t want to have to think about keeping the devices in sync, but with this scheme I have to.
- The reading experience on the iPhone SUCKS. While Amazon did a nice job with the fonts and page turning animation, LCD screens are just really, really hard on the eyes for any sort of prolonged, serious reading. The Kindle device is just soooooo much better (indistinguishable from a paper book).
- The battery on the iPhone just drains, and drains as you read. I haven’t pushed it all the way yet, but it looks like I’d be able to read for maybe 2 hours max on the iPhone. The Kindle lasts for days and days.
I think Amazon views Kindle for the iPhone as an accessory to the Kindle. I think some people may use it without purchasing a Kindle, but I’m betting they won’t sell very many books that way…simply because the reading experience just isn’t that good. But people who already own Kindle’s will love it. I also bet Amazon builds versions for the other popular smartphone operating systems like Windows Mobile soon…