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Kindle for iPad, iPhone update outshines iBooks

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Amazon (s amzn) updated its Kindle software for the iPad (s aapl) and iPhone/iPod touch on Wednesday introducing new features that ensure its app stays on the top of the e-reader pile, even as it pushes its own tablet platform with the Kindle Fire.

The update includes some iPad-only goodies that take advantage of the device’s larger screen, as well as some general changes for all versions that replicate and one-up features found in Apple’s own iBooks, making it a much better all-around solution for users who’d rather just have one e-reading app on their devices. Here’s a breakdown of what’s new:

All devices

Kindle Personal Documents Service. Both iPhone and iPad users can now take advantage of Amazon’s Kindle Personal Document Service, which lets users email their own documents to special Send-to-Kindle email addresses assigned to each Amazon Kindle user account. The document will then show up in their iPad, iPhone or iPod touch Kindle app library, and be available for re-download across devices. Note that this does incur a fee, and requires a few initial steps to get set up. You can check out Amazon’s full guide to its Personal Document Service here for more info.

PDF Reader. Kindle apps for iOS now feature a built-in PDF reader that can open files from Mail or Safari, or PDFs transferred directly from a user’s computer via iTunes. The PDF feature also works with documents transferred using the newly-integrated Personal Documents Service mentioned above. This was the main (if not the only) advantage of iBooks over the Kindle app in my opinion, so now that it’s gone I’ll probably just use the Amazon app full-time.


New magazine design. Amazon is clearly trying to stay on top of the competition from Newsstand here, and in fact, its magazines now work with Newsstand. Amazon’s Kindle newspaper and magazine library now extends to the over 400 titles available on the Kindle Fire.

Print replica textbooks. Those still in school will benefit greatly from this feature, which makes thousands of print replica textbooks available on the iPad via the Kindle app. Textbook rentals are also available, and the print replica formatting means that it’ll be even easier for students to follow along in class with page and section numbering while also enjoying the advantages of a digital edition (searching, linked content, etc.)

This is a big, solid update from a company that’s currently nursing its own competitive tablet platform, and I must say I’m pretty impressed. What do you think of the new Kindle apps?

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