A Billion “Kindles”, with Kindle for Android Joining Kindle Apps for the PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and BlackBerry

(Editor’s Note: Please accept my apology for my failure to publish this post when it was originally written earlier this week, and to include it in yesterday’s weekly Kindle Nation email blast. I would attempt to explain the complicated set of trivialities that contributed to the omission, but that would serve no purpose but to further burden my already overstuffed folder of lame excuses. –S.W.)

Amazon announced yesterday oops, Monday that the long-awaited free Kindle for Android download is now available for direct download from the Android Market (use your Android smartphone or other Android device to go to the Android Market and type in “kindle.”) Click here for Amazon’s information page on the Kindle for Android device.

As has generally been the case with these Kindle apps for other devices, the app has been launched with some features ready and others in the works. Current features include the ability for customers to:

  • Access their library of previously purchased Kindle books storedon Amazon’s servers for free 
  • Synchronize last page read between their Kindle, Kindle DX, iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, PC, Mac, BlackBerry and Android-powered phone
  • Customize background color, font color, and font size to help ease eyestrain
  • Read in portrait or landscape mode, tap on either side of the screen or flick to turn pages
  • Adjust screen brightness from within the app to make reading easier

Features promised for Kindle for Android “in the near future” include full text search and purchasing of Kindle books from within the app.

Although there have been differences of opinion as to the meaning of comparative “installed base” numbers on the Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, and other platforms, it is clear that the Kindle is continuing to add significantly to the near universality of devices on which one can buy, read, and maintain a library of ebooks from the Kindle store. (The only reason I use the qualifier “near” is that neither Amazon nor competitors like Sony, Barnes & Noble, and Borders have demonstrated any interest in extending this kind of interoperability between the Kindle platform and other dedicated ebook readers.) There may only be about 4 million Kindles in use around the world, but there are well over a billion other devices which enjoy full Kindle platform functionality with Kindle apps for the PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, BlackBerry, and Android, and it is likely that we will soon see the Kindle software pre-loaded onto millions of these devices.

By the way, one thing that seems to create a lot of confusion about these Kindle device apps: not everyone understands that you don’t need a Kindle to be able to use one or more of the various device apps. You don’t. No Kindle Required. You could go through life without a Kindle, really. Although I’m not sure why you would want to do that.

On the other hand, one thing you still cannot do with Kindle for Android, Kindle for iPad, Kindle for iPhone, Kindle for BlackBerry or any of the sibling Kindle apps is read your Kindle blog and periodical subscriptions. Like Kindle Nation Daily, just as a for instance. But that may change soon, and here’s why we think so.

Click here for Kindle for Android help from Kindle Support.

Here’s the guts of Amazon’s press release announcing the Kindle for Android app:

Free Kindle for Android App Now Available
Amazon’s selection of free Kindle apps expands today to include Kindle for Android, giving readers the freedom and flexibility to read and sync their books across a wide range of devices

SEATTLE, Jun 28, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced that its suite of free Kindle reading apps now includes Kindle for Android. Customers around the world can now download this free application from Android Market and enjoy Amazon’s vast selection of Kindle books on their Android-powered devices. The free Kindle apps allow U.S. customers to discover and read over 620,000 books in the Kindle Store – the largest selection of the most popular books that people want to read – including New York Times Bestsellers and New Releases from $9.99. Like all Kindle apps, Kindle for Android includes Amazon’s Whispersync technology, which saves and synchronizes a customer’s books and bookmarks across their Kindle, Kindle DX, BlackBerry, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Mac, PC, and now Android-powered phones so customers always have their reading material with them and never lose their place. Customers can learn more about Kindle for Android at http://www.amazon.com/kindleforandroid and can download the free app from Android Market.
“Our customers tell us they love the convenience of having their Kindle library with them everywhere and their reading synchronized across multiple devices,” said Dorothy Nicholls, director, Amazon Kindle. “With Kindle for Android, customers can choose from a vast selection of over 620,000 books to read on their Android-powered phone, no matter where they are – on the bus, waiting for a cab, or in between meetings. Kindle for Android and the rest of the free Kindle apps are the perfect companions for readers who don’t have their Kindle with them or don’t yet own a Kindle.”
Android-powered device owners can now take advantage of the features that customers love about Kindle and the Kindle app experience, including:

  • Search and browse more than 620,000 books, including 108 of 111 New York Times Bestsellers, plus tens of thousands of the most popular classics for free directly from their Android device. Bestsellers such as “Backlash” by Aaron Allston, “Big Girl” by Danielle Steel, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot, and “The Lost Symbol” by Dan Brown, and hundreds of thousands of other popular books are $9.99 or less in the Kindle Store
  • Read the first chapter of books for free before they decide to buy
  • Access their library of previously purchased Kindle books storedon Amazon’s servers for free
  • Synchronize last page read between their Kindle, Kindle DX, iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, PC, Mac, BlackBerry and Android-powered phone
  • Customize background color, font color, and font size to help ease eyestrain
  • Read in portrait or landscape mode, tap on either side of the screen or flick to turn pages
  • Adjust screen brightness from within the app to make reading easier

Several features will be added to Kindle for Android in the near future, including full text search and purchasing of Kindle books from within the app. Customers can learn more about the free Kindle for Android reading app at http://www.amazon.com/kindleforandroid and can download the app from Android Market.

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