Recently, the iPhone application Mazo (which provides mobile access to all things Amazon) was rejected—not by Apple, but by the online retailer. The speculation about why ends today, with the release of Amazon’s own iPhone/iPod touch application, unimaginatively named Amazon Mobile (iTunes Store link, free, only available in the US store).
This is somewhat unexpected, because Amazon has an excellent iPhone-optimized version of its website, so there is really very little need for a client-side application. Then again, although the iPhone-optimized amazon.com is no slouch, Amazon Mobile is fast—maybe even faster than the desktop version of amazon.com. If you have a lot of online holiday shopping to do, this is definitely the way to get it done quickly.
Aesthetically, the mobile web and app versions take different approaches: the web version puts all pertinent information in a single page and tends to require some scrolling. Additional information is loaded through 1990s-style blue underlined text links most of the time.
In the app, pages that require scrolling are a rarity. This means that it’s often necessary to navigate to another page, but this happens using the iPhone interface paradigm with a little hook pointing to the right. Selecting such a “link” makes the new page move in from the right, pushing the existing page out to the left. Standard iPhone-style navigation is available at the bottom of the screen.
Apart from speed and design, Amazon Mobile has a third feature to offer: Amazon Remembers. This allows you to take a photo of an item you want to remember. The photo is stored both in the application and in Amazon’s cloud. But the interesting part is that “we also use a community of real people to research your photo and try to match it to a similar product on Amazon.com.”