Desktops and Notebooks: Amazon's Kindle Cloud Reader Offers Apple Challenge, HTML5 Reading
Amazon's new Kindle Cloud Reader lets users read Kindle e-books via their Web browsers without the need to download and install an application. It has been built from the ground up using HTML5, and allows for offline access to the user's collection of Kindle e-books. The platform also offers a holistic view of the user's entire Kindle library, instant access to nearly a million books, an embedded Kindle Store and automatic software updates. Amazon's move toward HTML5 plays to the company's increased interest in the cloud, and offers a hard rebuke to Apple's mobile policies. (It's probably no accident that Kindle Cloud Reader is available first for Safari on the iPad and desktop.) Apple has imposed ever-tighter restrictions on mobile applications downloadable via its App Store, requiring that developers strip in-application purchasing mechanisms from their offerings if they want to display content purchased outside the application. (In-application purchasing will apparently still net Apple some 30 percent of the fee.) In response to that policy, Amazon had already issued an updated Kindle for iPhone application that removed the Kindle Store button. The Kindle Cloud Reader also represents Amazon's next stage in its migration to the consumer cloud, where it will join the music-centric Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon Cloud Player. Those platforms will all come into play if Amazon decides to launch its much-rumored tablet later in 2011.