Amazon tweaks its Kindle for Android app to run optimally on tablets running Android 3.0 "Honeycomb."
Amazon has expanded its Kindle app offerings yet again, with
an update to Kindle for Android that optimizes the e-reader software for
tablets running Google Android 3.0 (code-named "Honeycomb"). In coming months,
Honeycomb devices arriving on store shelves will challenge the Apple iPad's
dominance of the tablet market.
latest version of Kindle for Android includes a Honeycomb-optimized layout
for newspaper and magazine reading, the ability to pause and resume downloads,
enhanced word look-up ability, and a tablet-tailored shopping interface. Users
can download the platform from either Android Marketplace or Amazon's Appstore
Amazon has been steadily building out features for its
Kindle platform. On April 20, the online retailer announced a Kindle Library
Lending Feature, due later in 2011, which will allow readers to borrow Kindle
ebooks from more than 11,000 libraries in the United States.
In addition to checking out ebooks, customers will have the
ability to make annotations within the text. Kindle Library Lending will work
with both Kindle e-readers and the Kindle app for mobile devices and PCs.
Kindle users can already lend ebooks to one another for 14 days.
Amazon has also sought to broaden Kindle adoption with an ad-supported
device that retails for $114, slightly cheaper than the basic Kindle at $139
and the Kindle 3G at $189. While Amazon continues to command the lion's share
of the e-reader market, it faces competition not only from rival e-readers such
as Barnes & Noble's full-color Nook, but also Apple and Google, which have
introduced e-reading platforms for tablets and smartphones.
Analysts have theorized recently that Amazon could
eventually build an Android-based device capable of taking on the iPad and other
Android tablet manufacturers.
"Amazon could create a compelling Android- or Linux-based
tablet offering easy access to Amazon's storefront (including its forthcoming
Android app store) and unique Amazon features like one-click purchasing, Amazon
prime service, and its recommendation engine," Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman
in a March 10 blog posting. "More consumers considering buying a tablet say
they would consider Amazon (24 percent) than Motorola (18 percent)."
Such a device would also allow Amazon to leverage its
massive customer base.
"A Kindle-Android device could prove popular, building on
the large installed base of Kindle users," added analyst Jack Gold. "And Amazon
clearly has the largest -store' out there (bigger than the iTunes/app store
world) so that could be a swaying factor if they got aggressive with offering
special deals on their own device."
That being said, many users purchase the Kindle for its paperlike
e-ink display and ultra-long battery life, two things by definition unavailable
in a tablet. Whether or not Amazon decides to go the homegrown tablet route,
though, it definitely seems intent on keeping Kindle software as up-to-date as
possible with this new Honeycomb addition.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.