Amazon.com today introduced “Kindle for iPhone and iPod touch,” a new application available for free from Apple’s App Store that lets customers enjoy over 240,000 books, including 104 of 112 New York Times Bestsellers, on the iPhone and iPod touch using Apple’s Multi-Touch user interface. Amazon’s new Whispersync technology saves and synchronizes a customer’s bookmark across their original Kindle, Kindle 2, iPhone and iPod touch, so customers always have their reading with them and never lose their place. Kindle customers can read a few pages on their iPhone or iPod touch and pick up right where they left off on their Kindle or Kindle 2.
As I predicted in my review of Amazon.com’s Kindle 2 e-book reader last week, the giant bookseller has moved quickly to make the 240,000 book Kindle catalog available on other devices. On Tuesday night, the first Kindle software reader appeared, and it’s a free iPhone app. Called Kindle for iPhone, the app replicates the basic book-reading functions of the hardware Kindle device, and can be thought of as a complement to that device, which has more features. However, you don’t have to own a hardware Kindle to use this app. You can now choose instead to use your iPhone or iPod Touch as the reader for books from Kindle’s catalog.
I tried the new iPhone Kindle app moments after it became available on Apple’s App Store (AAPL), and my first impression is generally positive. But first, let me note the key features of the hardware Kindle that aren’t carried over to the iPhone app. It doesn’t support periodicals. It doesn’t read books aloud. It doesn’t allow you to enter notes or highlight text, look up words in a dictionary, or perform searches.