Amazon Kindle App Comes To iPhone

Um, Amazon? Not sure if anyone told you, but most of the functionality that was previously reserved for your own Kindle and Kindle 2 e-book readers is now available for free on Apple's white-hot iPhone. Believe it or not, Amazon has somehow certified that a Kindle app be allowed out on the ever-expanding App Store free of charge, though a few limitations are thrown in to be sure.

Naturally, anyone who uses the iPhone as their main e-reader will lose out on the more expansion e-ink display, and they'll certainly drain their phone battery a lot faster than normal. Also, it's not currently compatible with Kindle Store newspapers or magazines, and you can't buy books directly from within the application. Instead, users have to purchase Kindle e-books from Amazon's website via a computer or the iPhone's Safari web browser. Once a purchase has been made there, it will automatically update within the Kindle app. Sort of a runaround, sure, but you can't expect to have everything without even buying Amazon's hardware, right?

Early impressions have been someone mixed, but generally positive considering that it's free. Most of the complaints have hovered around the fact that the Kindle "experience" is being shoved into a device that is very much not the Kindle. The screen is smaller, there's not as many dedicated buttons, etc. It's also noted that the Kindle-on-an-iPhone approach still isn't suitable for long reading sessions, as the diminutive screen is only comfortable for short sessions.

So, in essence, Amazon still has a few compelling reasons to spring for its Kindle even if you're already a proud iPhone owner, and moreover, it has proudly demonstrated that the Kindle hardware only half (if that) of the master plan. Rather, it's the book sales from the Kindle Store that are clearly most important to Amazon. It doesn't seem to care whether you pay hundreds for a Kindle or nothing for an iPhone app; so long as you purchase books on a semi-regular basis, you're helping Amazon remain a profitable enterprise.

It might be a bit early to say for sure, but this sounds like a definite "win-win" scenario to us.
Tags:  Apple, iPhone, Amazon, Kindle