16 Comments

Summary:

Given the iPhone SDK availability, this should come as no surprise, but it’s nice to see confirmation. Mobipocket will be introducing an eBook client for the iPhone later this year according to Martin Gorner, president and CEO of Mobi. MobileRead got the information at the IDPF […]

TextonphoneGiven the iPhone SDK availability, this should come as no surprise, but it’s nice to see confirmation. Mobipocket will be introducing an eBook client for the iPhone later this year according to Martin Gorner, president and CEO of Mobi. MobileRead got the information at the IDPF conference where Gorner spoke. That’s good news to us folks that read digital content, but what does it mean for Amazon’s Kindle?After all, the Kindle format is a DRM-tweaked version of Mobipocket’s format, so there’s a key partnership between the two organizations. The iPhone and iPod Touch user base is far and away larger than that of the Kindle, which is great for the eBook market, but may hurt Kindle sales in the long run. Of course, the Apple products certainly have a smaller screen when compared the Kindle, but they offer connectivity options as well as a simple e-commerce experience through the iTunes store. Could the Kindle burn out even before sales get stoked?Note: the image shown is from the TextOnPhone eBook web service that I video demo’d earlier this year.

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  1. ‘A’ Mobipocket eBook client.
    ‘an’ eBook client for the iPhone later this year

    A if the next word is a consonant
    An if the next word is a vowel

    (Some exceptions exist but not in the above cases)

  2. Michael Cohn Monday, May 19, 2008

    Um…no. I own both an iPhone and a Kindle, and there’s no comparison in terms of reading experience; the Kindle is much better. It’s not just the bigger screen; it’s the way it’s made to be held just like a book, turning pages with your thumbs, etc.

    As far as Apple’s ‘connectivity options’ and ‘simple e-commerce experience’…I doubt either will be better than the Kindle, which offers free connectivity, and which allows you to buy and download directly from Amazon right there on the device, even when it’s not connected to anything else.

  3. Kevin C. Tofel Monday, May 19, 2008

    Michael, I appreciate your opinion. Bear in mind that you’re offering the perspective of someone who owns both devices. I currently have both in-house as well and understand your point of the reading experience. I also come from 5-years of reading eBooks on small-screened Windows Mobile devices, so I’m used to the smaller display sizes. However, to appreciate Kindle’s reading experience, you actually have to have or use a Kindle. You can’t get your hands on one until you buy it, whereas the iPhone can be experienced in retail stores. I think folks may miss the “Kindle experience” as a result. Your point about the connectivity and e-commerce experience are a little lost on me. Buying music through the iTunes store has been a simple and excellent experience for me. No connection to any other device is needed.

  4. Excellent points. But the eventual difference may be in flexibility.

    Which device will allow owners to load their own text files for later reading? Newspaper or Web articles? Web pages? For a teacher/school to load materials, tutorials onto the device?

  5. Well, this is a big surprise! Amazon *owns* Mobi. You think if *MS* had bought Mobi and come out with Kindle, we’d have seen *this*? Did anyone tell Bezos this is happening?

    I expect eReader and all the rest to be on iPhone (and don’t forget iPod Touch too!) as well.

  6. Kevin C. Tofel Monday, May 19, 2008

    Good point, Mike. I completely forgot that Amazon actually does own Mobipocket since they bought them in April, 2005.

  7. Just think of that software as another iPhone opportunity to torment me, Fiend Kevin!

    Apparently, you two have recruited MobiPocket as Auxliary Fiends!

  8. Stephen Feger Monday, May 19, 2008

    I’ve always wanted Mobipocket to get access to the same distibution system and content as the Kindle, especially since they’re both owned by Amazon.

    But if they did that, I think it would seriously affect sales of the Kindle. We all know the iPhone will sell like hotcakes and going to the iPhone as an eBook reader has a lot of advantages over the Kindle (some negatives too obviously).

    I actually think that this means it’s more likely that we will continue to see a break between the content available to Mobipocket and content available via the Kindle. That’s disappointing.

    It’s all about the content.

  9. PDAs and phones have had eBook clients for ages. This is nothing new or exctiting. What people tend to not understand is the difference is in the screen of the device, not the software. I’ve used eBook software on my Palm TX (PalmFiction) for years, but reading on a backlit device has its pros and cons. I would never attempt to read a book when I am outside of the house for example, since that would be masochistic. On an eInk screen, however, I would have no troubles. Conversely, reading in the dark on a backlit device is much easier.

  10. Kevin,

    Are you buying that music directly to your iPhone, or are you buying it on your computer and then transferring it? Or maybe you are buying it directly to your phone, in which case you have to be using wi-fi (not the AT&T Edge network). If you’re not getting the music from your computer (and sometimes even if you are), you’re paying for bandwidth. And I bet the excellent e-commerce music-buying experience you’re referring to is happening on your computer, not your phone.

    With Kindle, the wireless connection is free, and as long as you are getting a signal, you can download content directly to the device, all the time. That’s the difference I’m talking about.

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