Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos says the Kindle e-reader will compete against the Apple iPad by remaining dedicated to the e-reader experience, which seems in keeping with the mobile device's Version 2.5 software update, which will include social networking features, but only in an ebook context. By contrast, Barnes & Noble seems to be attempting to offer more PC-like functionality in its Nook e-reader with a beta Web browser and Android-based games.
Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos indicated
during an annual shareholders' meeting that the online retailer's Kindle e-reader
would compete against the Apple iPad by focusing on the e-reader experience.
Although the Kindle remains a strong seller, it faces increased competition
from Apple's tablet device as well as from rival e-readers such as Barnes &
"The Kindle will compete with these LCD devices like the iPad by being
a very focused product," Bezos told the audience on May 25, according to The
Wall Street Journal.
"Serious readers are going to want a
purpose-built device, because it's an important activity for them."
Even though Bezos emphasized the Kindle device at the meeting, recent steps
by Amazon.com suggest an increased focus on e-reader software. On May 19, the
company announced updates to its free Kindle for PC application, a day after
revealing that the e-reader software would be available "soon" on
Android-based devices. Building out the software franchise could also be a sign
that Amazon.com recognizes the multiple-front competition it faces in the
New features of Kindle for PC include a full-screen reading mode and the
ability to edit notes and marks, change background color and adjust screen
brightness. Kindle for PC uses Amazon's Whispersync technology to synchronize
notes, bookmarks and last page read between a user's PC, smartphone and Kindle
In addition to dealing with competition from other e-readers and the iPad,
Amazon.com will also have to compete against Google, which could begin selling
ebooks online as early as June through its Google Editions service.
Editions will apparently let users read books on a variety of devices
will allow publishers to set prices for the works. That could help Google
differentiate itself within the space, where publishers and e-reader
manufacturers have been locked in periodic and tough negotiations over ebook
prices. Should Google make good on that promise to publishers, it could
potentially ignite another round of multiparty haggling over those prices.
Bezos' statement also seems in keeping with the Kindle device's latest
software update, Version 2.5, which adds social networking functionality, kept
strictly within the context of ebooks. The update, which has reportedly begun
rolling out to some users, will allow readers to share passages via Facebook
and Twitter and display parts of a reader's current book that the Kindle
community finds most interesting.
By contrast, other e-reader manufacturers seem to be edging their devices
slowly into the realm of tablet PCs. Barnes & Noble's recent unveiled
software update for the Nook includes Android-based games such as "Sudoku"
and chess, as well as a beta Web browser.
In another sign that the Kindle won't soon bulk up to compete with the iPad,
Bezos reportedly said a color screen for the device "is still some ways