Amazon Previews Kindle App for iPad (and Other Tablets)

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It may not be ready in time for the launch of the iPad, but Amazon wants you to know that its Kindle app will be worth the wait. That’s why it’s created a special preview page of the upcoming software, dubbed “Kindle Apps for Tablet Computers” with “Including the iPad” in much smaller font beside that primary title.

So its clear that while Amazon wants to capitalize on the iPad’s hype and pre-release popularity, it also doesn’t want to go as far as helping Apple convey the impression that it’s the only tablet game in town. To me, the “Including the iPad” sounds like a begrudging admission of the “I was wrong and you were right” variety.

Of course, it might just be that Amazon would like to appeal to the widest group of potential customers possible, while at the same time acknowledging that Apple is likely to win the brand recognition fight in that particular category. Whatever the marketing logic, the actual software Amazon is previewing looks to be pretty fantastic, especially for those (like me) who are already hardware Kindle owners.

First, the Kindle tablet app will offer Whispersync services, which means you can pick up where you last left off reading, no matter which device you happened to be using. I can’t count how many times I’ve used this between my Kindle 2 and my iPhone, so I can’t imagine it being any less useful with my iPad when it finally graces these Canadian shores.

The app will also synch your notes and highlights and bookmarks across all compatible devices, including the recently released Kindle for Mac software, which can read notes and bookmarks, but not make new ones of its own as of yet.

Visually, the Kindle app looks like what you’d expect. Page turn animations are included, or you can turn them off if you’re not so crazy about mimicking a paper reading experience on your digital devices, which I most definitely am not. You can also change font size and color, and background color in order to make the reading experience more comfortable.

Kindle for tablets also supports full color images and graphics, which is great news not only for fans of comics and graphic novels, which haven’t really been a great option on the Kindle thus far, but also for textbooks, recipe books, and some more adventurous fiction that uses in text images and font color changes as narrative devices.

Finally, you’ll be able to shop in the Kindle store via a built-in web view, so you can indulge all those buying impulses on the fly instead of having to wait till you have access to a full computer. All-in-all, it sounds like it’ll give my Kindle 2 a run for its money, even with potentially eye-straining backlighting.

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