Blog Post

With Kindle for Android, Amazon's Winning Strategy Is Complete

Amazon (s amzn) has released Kindle for Android, which provides access to the more than 620,000 titles in the Kindle bookstore. Like the Kindle software for other platforms, the Android version supports Amazon’s WhisperSync feature, which allows users to read on one device and later pick up where they left off on another. The application also adds local bookmarking, reading of notes, text sizes, background colors and brightness. Books cannot be purchased in the application, but tapping the Kindle Store option opens a web page to Amazon’s Kindle bookstore.

I’d call the Kindle for Android software welcome and usable, but not a fully featured solution. Although displays are typically small on Android phones, some folks will want the ability to highlight text or create in-book notations, and those features are missing. The ones that are present work well — I was reading a book at lunchtime on my iPad and when I synced up the Kindle for Android application on my Google Nexus One (s goog), the software correctly found my last read page from the iPad (s aapl).

And Amazon is well positioned to gain customers thanks to 160,000 new Android devices activated daily — I didn’t start purchasing Kindle content until the software was supported on multiple devices and with the addition of Kindle for Android, I see no reason for me to spend a dime in the iBooks store. By extending its “buy once, read anywhere” platform with support for Android, Amazon is increasing its chances of winning the e-book wars.

Related content on GigaOM Pro (subscription required):

Cracks in the Spine of the Book Business

17 Responses to “With Kindle for Android, Amazon's Winning Strategy Is Complete”

  1. Not complete yet, I still need a kindle client for Linux so I can run it on my netbook and any other tablet than the ones Apple provide. It used to work under WINE, but now wont launch with the current version 8(

  2. Yea, I definitely think it’s just good strategy on Amazon’s part to get their app on as many devices and platforms as possible to take advantage of their Whispersync technology. That adds a major incentive for people to buy through Kindle. iBooks is in trouble and maybe so are the other stores. Amazon has a killer selection and very reasonable prices.

    On the other hand, their app comes a day after an EVEN BETTER version of Kindle was released for iPhones/iPads. This may not go over so well with Android users, who now feel like they are getting the second rate version of the Kindle.

    I definitely agree with your points about their positioning and description of the Android app is “usable.” Have more to say, but keeping it short. Thanks for the post. I wrote more on my blog post about this:

    • Ben, I’m not sure that releasing the Android app right after the upgraded iOS4 app arrived is an issue. I think the bigger issue is that there are hundreds of thousands of new Android users daily so Amazon had to get this out the door. None of the other mobile Kindle apps support the new audio/video features either, so I just don’t see that as a major problem. If Amazon takes a year to add such features to the mobile apps, that’s a different story, of course. ;)

  3. fantastic product move. they kicked butt when they had the opening with Kindle, and very smartly embracing disruption when they needed to. lower management would’ve tried to fight the trend.

  4. What if Apple develops iBook for Android? They made iTunes for Windows. It’s far from being settled. The winner of the ebook market will be one that figures out a way to get user data, such as highlights, notes, discussion, and use it as a platform. Amazon does have an advantage with its physical book store and the data it has collected over the years.