There’s no doubt about it: the iPad is the elephant in the ereader room but there’s one thing I’m certain: it won’t kill off the ebook readers. Amazon just took another length in the Kindle‘s already strong position on the ereader battlefield with the announcement of Kindle Apps for Tablet Computers.
This app picks up where the standard desktop Kindle program drops off. Just like nearly every other desktop application, the original PC and Mac Kindle app isn’t optimized for finger navigation with small buttons and drop down menus. Plus, it’s not pretty and almost utilitarian in design. The upcoming tablet program, however, takes styling cues from Apple’s iBooks and looks finger friendly enough.
This is huge. No longer can the iPad claim dominance on the color ebook world. The upcoming Kindle tablet program will be able to run on presumably any PC tablet and still sync to the other Kindle apps, mobile or otherwise. Knock “color ebook reader” off of the iPad’s list of Pros. The tablet race just got a bit more interesting.
Content is king in the world of ebook readers and Apple should know that more than any company. The App Store, with its tens of thousands of apps, is one of the main reasons the iPad is guaranteed to be a success. It’s not a big leap for millions of iPhone and iPod touch owners because they already knew what to expect as they’ve been using the App Store for a while on another device.
The same thinking will drive the Kindle Apps for Tablet Computers program. Consumers have been buying books from the Kindle Store since its launch in 2007 and Amazon keeps making those books more accessible by releasing Kindle apps for different platforms. Consumers own this content and expect to be able to access it no matter what device they are using because of Amazon’s precedent. Now they can read their books not only on the Kindle itself, but also a BlackBerry, iPhone, PC, Mac, and soon nearly any tablet PC.
It seems that the tablet PC program throws in some new tricks. There’s a lifelike page turn animation, a colorful ebook library, and numerous font size and color options. This might even show what a color Kindle would look like.
This upcoming Kindle app isn’t just for PCs. The title graphic clearly states Kindle Apps for Tablet Computers including the iPad. But don’t get too excited. This doesn’t mean that it will ever hit the iPad. Technically it’s up to Apple whether this app will run on the iPad and Apple’s track record doesn’t make its future look all that promising.
iBooks is a key feature to the iPad just like Safari and iTunes are to the iPhone/iPod. Apple has yet to approve Opera or Firefox Mobile and could stall the Kindle iPad app indefinitely on the same grounds as well. After all, a Kindle app with access to the Kindle Store would take away from Apples own content partnerships. Apple you know likes to eat its own dog food.
Most Kindle buyers are also the same sort of early adapters Apple is counting on to make the iPad a success, too. It’s would be a dangerous game to cut out Kindle power users and drive them to the competing PC platforms. This upcoming Kindle app could prove to be one of the key pillars the PC tablet movement needs to boost consumers confidence. It will allow nearly any tablet PC to become its own Kindle — or iPad — clone.