While the wait continues for the introduction of an Amazon fully-featured tablet computer, the company today took a step forward in broadening its appeal and giving iPad users a way around the Apple (News - Alert) App Store with the introduction of Kindle Cloud Reader, a web-based HTML5 version of its Kindle application. Consumers with iPads will not have to contend with Apple’s in-app and subscription charges to be able to read their Amazon book purchases online and off.
In the press release announcing availability of the reader, Amazon states that:
For over two years, Amazon has been offering a wide selection of free Kindle reading apps that enable customers to "Buy Once, Read Everywhere." Kindle Cloud Reader…leverages HTML5 and enables customers to read Kindle books instantly using only their web browser - online or offline - with no downloading or installation required…Kindle Cloud Reader with its integrated touch optimized Kindle Store is available starting today for Safari on iPad, Safari on desktop and Chrome.
Dorothy Nicholls, Director, Amazon Kindle states, "We have written the application from the ground up in HTML5, so that customers can also access their content offline directly from their browser. The flexibility of HTML5 allows us to build one application that automatically adapts to the platform you're using - from Chrome to iOS.” Kindle Cloud Reader features include:
An immersive view of the entire Kindle library, with instant access to all user books
An embedded Kindle Store for seamless discovery of new books
New Kindle Store for iPad optimized for iPad's touch interface
Current books automatically made available for offline use and storage
Receive automatic software updates without the need to download new software
Customization of font size, text color, background color, and more
Viewing of notes, highlights, and bookmarks made on other Kindle apps or on Kindle
Synchronization of last page read across Kindle and free Kindle apps enabling readers to pick up where they left off
Amazon said the Kindle Cloud Reader will be available on additional web browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, the BlackBerry (News
) PlayBook browser, and other mobile browsers soon.
As highlighted at the recent DevCon5 event by Strobe CEO Charles Jolley, HTML5 web-based applications can be a vehicle to inoculate developers from the tyranny of proprietary platforms and walled gardens that extend to distribution options. Apple caused a furor back in February with its subscription service for media apps that use In-App purchases; Apple gets a 30% piece of the action on each transaction. Kindle Cloud Reader lets iPad and iPod users avoid paying what commentators back in February kindly called a “toll on the Internet” and others called names laced with expletives.
As Carl Ford of Crossfire Media notes, “For years the bright shiny object of HTML5 has been video but the true value is in the way the cloud interacts with your personal devices. We have always talked about any to any communication now people see the impact of any to any is personal.”
At DevCon5, the highlight of the event was the observation by multiple speakers -- starting with the kickoff keynote by David Rose of Rose Tech Ventures, LLC -- that HTML5 is about revolution and not evolution. The Kindle Cloud Reader is an opening shot across the bow at Apple. How Apple fires back, and what the consequences are for not only both companies but the developer community as well, will be fascinating to watch. There are literally billions of various currencies at stake. It will be interesting to see what is coming, and how it will arrive and be consumed, on the mobile device of your choosing.Peter Bernstein is a technology industry veteran, having worked in multiple capacities with several of the industry's biggest brands, including Avaya, Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert), Telcordia, HP, Siemens, Nortel, France Telecom, and others, and having served on the Advisory Boards of 15 technology startups. To read more of Peter's work, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Rich Steeves