Amazon has simplified the e-book reading experience by launching apps on nearly every mobile device, and now it has bridged the final gap with Kindle for Android, due later this summer. Pair this news with rumors of an enhanced Kindle 3 and it is evident Amazon intends on giving Apple's iBooks -- and everybody else -- a healthy challenge and perhaps provide a beat down of epic proportions.
The Android Announcement
First off, Kindle lovers and Android users have a big reason to celebrate this announcement, as they'll be the only ones capable of buying over 540,000 eBooks in app (all other Kindle apps require visiting the Amazon Web site to purchase). Though visiting Amazon.com isn't that big a deal, this feature cuts out the hassle of launching a browser to buy a book.
The New Jobs (And I Don't Mean Steve)
The New York Times found dozens of new job listings on the Lab126 site, which lists Kindle-related employment opportunities. The descriptions are somewhat vague and don't point to any specific technologies that may or may not be integrated into the alleged Kindle 3, so don't expect to nab specs. For instance, a Software Quality Assurance Engineer is responsible for "Execution of functional testing in all aspects of the device, including user interface, hardware/software integration, and key product metrics."
The iPad presents a direct threat to Amazon, and the latter seeks to prove -- through potential innovation and app integration -- that the Kindle is the best device to read eBooks on, as well as providing a few distractions. Still, with over half a million eBooks available on its store -- not including public domain titles -- Amazon has a leg-up on other retailers (for now). And without a list of specific technologies to work with, it's unclear what, precisely, Amazon has up its sleeve.
The Comparisons Rage On
Let's face it: the Kindle and the iPad are two wholly different devices designed for entirely different desires. As it stands, the Kindle is for reading. The iPad is mobile entertainment that just so happens to feature an eBook platform. Comparing the two seems a little pointless, but that doesn't stop anybody.
Side note: It's funny to me how Apple and Amazon still get along despite being eBook competitors. After all, Amazon's Kindle app is on almost every Apple product, and the two continue to integrate together. This is strange seeing as how Apple had a big role in raising eBook prices, effectively destroying Amazon's $9.99 pricing model. You'd think the same business etiquette would apply to Apple's relationship with Google, but not so: the former essentially loathes the latter and lately, Apple has been slighting Google quite a bit.
Watch Out: It's Google
Are we forgetting somebody? Oh yes -- that little Web site that plans on releasing its own eBook store. As of now, it seems that Google wants digital reading to stay up in the cloud rather than on a physical device, but all that could change. Android's popularity shows that people love making Google products ... so could a Google eReader be on the way? Also, being relatively early in the game, Amazon could crib from Google's cloud-based model and improve its own hard- and software to reflect a maturing and increasingly interesting battlefield.