Thursday, February 18, 2010

Kindle app for BlackBerry -- a first look

The new Kindle app for BlackBerry devices is here, promising the same nifty Whispersync(tm) technology that iPhone users have enjoyed for a while now.  And the best part is, it's free.

I installed the app today on my BlackBerry Bold and gave it a test drive. 

The first time you run the app it asks you to sign in to your Amazon account.  Within seconds it pulled up my Kindle archive, showing me the list of all the books I've ever purchased or downloaded from the Kindle store.

When you highlight a book and then select it by clicking the trackball it immediately starts downloading to your device.  I tested a couple of books, both relatively large (one of which was The Complete Works of Shakespeare), and the download only took a few seconds.

Once you've nabbed the books they show up in the "Home" folder in the app, and all you do is click to read.  You can turn the "pages" by clicking the spacebar or scrolling with the trackball.  So far I'm liking the spacebar method the best.  And as with the Kindle you can change the font size to suit you.

The Whispersync worked well on both the books I tested, taking me right to where I had left off reading them on my Kindle.

Amazon has labeled the app a beta for now, but at first glance it appears pretty solid. 

I certainly can't see spending a whole lot of time reading on the BlackBerry, but this app will be a lifesaver for those times when I'm stuck in line at the bank or grocery store without my Kindle. 

Kindle owners should grab this app right away.

5 comments:

NookSurfer said...

Pretty cool idea, not sure about ready an entire book on the Blackberry screen though, but then again..it's not like the iPhone is any better. Either way, it might work since Blackberry users are use to the small screen.

Todd said...

Here is what I really don't get - why is Amazon allowing Kindle reader software to be deployed to other devices then the Kindle? For example, I was all ready to plunk down some bucks to buy a Kindle, but then I learned that I could download free software for my iPod Touch, and then my PC and now a Blackberry. Why in the world would I put out good money to buy a Kindle? Now, I understand that they could probably give away Kindles as they are really trying to sell the Kindle books, but still, isn't this a little counterproductive? What do you guys think? I personally liked reading books on my Touch, as I can make the print as big as I want, but it's even better on the PC and I can take my notebook anywhere.

Joe Wikert said...

The short answer: They're hedging their bet. Should the Kindle hardware platform get eclipsed by other devices, Amazon will still be a major content player.

Hans Flagon said...

Isn't it also the case, that the Kindle Apps for smartphones and Laptops are useless unless you have a Kindle Account, which is only available by OWNING A KINDLE? That is initially, if still not now, those apps are worthless unless you already own a Kindle. They are for picking up where the Kindle leaves off in reading.

Eventually, Amazon will be a little less protective of the Hardware market itself, but from what I have seen so far, they are protective enough to make some stupid moves; that is, I would not be surprised if they would disallow the Kindle app on the iPad.

Andrys Basten said...

Hans,
You can use Kindle for Mac or Kindle for PC without owning a Kindle. All you need is an Amazon log-in.

They're pretty secure. Some will decide that since they have the account and Kindle books on their other devices, they might want to get a Kindle as well (and many do) for the portability along with a decent-sized reading screen for books and the relative lack of eyestrain of the e-paper type screens for long-session, serial character reading. The latter's more tiring on the eyes on a laptop than the Kindle for many.

Those who find a computer or a laptop (or smartphone) just fine for reading books will never need or want a Kindle but they'll likely buy e-books from Amazon for the flexibility of where they can read their books and the synchronization between devices that's part of it.