Amazon just made e-book reading a little more egalitarian, with the introduction of Kindle for Windows Phone 7. The first major e-book app for Microsofts new mobile OS, it enables owners of Windows Phone 7 smartphones to take advantage of Amazons Buy Once, Read Everywhere Kindle applications.
"With Kindle books you never have to worry about what to do if you change devices or platforms," Dorothy Nicholls, director of Amazon Kindle, said in a Jan. 5 statement. "Our free 'Buy Once, Read Everywhere' apps make it easy for you to read your books on any device you choose your Kindle, Kindle 3G, Kindle DX, iPad, iPhone, PC, Mac, BlackBerry, Android-based device, and now your Windows Phone 7-based device."
The offering includes features never before built into a Kindle app, according to Amazon. These include the ability to personalize recommendations integrated into Kindle app home screen, and the ability to send a book recommendation to a friend from within the app.
Like all Kindle apps, it offers access to more than 775,000 books and includes Whispersync technology, which automatically syncs a users bookmark across all of a users compatible devices. A Worry-Free Archive automatically downloads Kindle purchases on Amazon, so ones library is backed up and can be re-downloaded anytime. And reading can be done in landscape or portrait mode, in an choice of five font sizes and three background color options.
With Windows Phone 7, Microsoft hoped to again become a serious contender in the mobile market, capable of competing against heavyweights Apple and Google. At an October event in New York, Microsoft first introduced the OS on a handful of new smartphones the HTC Surround, Samsung Focus and LG Quantum, headed for the AT&T network, and the HTC HD7 and Dell Venue Pro for T-Mobile. In early 2011, Microsoft said at the time, Verizon would also receive devices running the platform.
While Amazon, with its Kindle, also finds itself competing with Apple, its e-reader is enjoying enormous success. This past holiday season, Amazon announced in a statement, its third-generation Kindle became its bestselling product of all time, outselling even the wildly popular seventh book in the Harry Potter series.
While the naysayers expect the Kindle wont repeat this success in 2011, research firm Gartner is expecting e-readers to grow by 68 percent in 2011, to more than 11 million units. And Amazon, not looking for a scuffle, is striking a tone that suggests theres room enough in the mobile market for the Kindle as well as the ever-growing number of tablets. So long as the e-reading is left to Amazon.
"Customers report using their LCD tablets for games, movies, and Web browsing and their Kindles for reading sessions, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a Dec. 27 statement, adding that, at $139, people dont have to choose.
The free Kindle for Windows Phone 7 app is now available in the Windows Phone Marketplace.