New iPad & iPhone Kindle Apps Play Video

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Amazon just updated its Kindle apps for Apples iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch with the ability to play video and audio clips embedded in e-books. The company also launched a small selection of books with embedded audio and video clips. These multimedia enhancements only play back on Apple’s devices – a curious move for a company that also sells its own e-reader.

Amazon’s Kindle Store currently features about a dozen titles with audio or video clips, including the FDR biography Together We Cannot Fail and the cookbook Rose’s Heavenly Cakes, the latter of which apparently contains video clips of the author baking some of the cakes.

However, the majority of titles currently available apparently only feature audio embeds, and users have to click through to each and every book to see what kind of audio or video add-ons they’re going to receive. iPad and iPhone users are paying the same for their books as users of Amazon’s Kindle device who can’t make use of the multimedia extras. Amazon warns that titles with audio and video embeds will only be available via Wifi “(d)ue to the large file size.”

Amazon’s press release didn’t mention any plans for extending audio and video functionality to Amazon’s Kindle device itself, but we probably shouldn’t be too surprised to see a Kindle supporting multimedia playback coming out in the future as well. Amazon just last week reduced the price of its Kindle2 from $259 to $189 to compete with Barnes and Noble’s new $149 price tag for its Wi-Fi-only Nook reader.

The introduction of books featuring audio and video embeds could mean the company is clearing some room on the shelf for its own higher-end, video-capable Kindle hardware as well. Apple’s own e-book application is based on a file format that supports multimedia embedding as well, but the company hasn’t officially announced any books with video embeds. However, U.K.-based publisher Penguin Books said in March that it wants to add audio and video to all of its e-book titles in the future.

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