Well, that was fast. Some might even say blazing fast. When Amazon introduced its Kindle 2.0 in early February, the company implied it would make Kindle e-books available on other devices, including smartphones, but acted coy about when that would happen. Today, "happen," happened. Amazon has just introduced Kindle for iPhone and iPod touch, a free app that puts more than 240,000 books, including 104 of 112 New York Times bestsellers, newspapers, magazines and some blogs within reach of the ubiquitous handhelds.
Using what Amazon calls "Whispersync" technology, Kindle book buyers can save, synchronize and add bookmarks their books across the original Kindle, Kindle 2, iPhone and iPod touch. Amazon doesn't expect iPhone and iPod touch owners to be serious e-bookers but instead envisions they will want to do a little reading while standing in a grocery line, waiting in a doctor's office or between meetings.
iPhone/iPod touch owners won't be able to by Kindle books directly, but that's a moot point because they can do their shopping using Safari and transfer the books to their iPhone or iPod touch.
Books is the fastest-growing category in the App Store over the last 12 weeks, according to O'Reilly, a book publisher. About 6 out 10 books in the App Store sell for 99 cents or less, and 1 in 20 are free. The number of premium-priced ($10 or more) has grown from about 1 in 50 books to 1 in 10 over the last 12 weeks.
There actually isn't much to Amazon's Kindle for iPhone and iPod touch. You must register with Amazon before using the app. If you're already an Amazon customer, enter your email address and password. Once registered, launch Safari and go to the Kindle Store (the page is optimized for the small screen). New York Times go for $9.99 on average.
If you already own, or decide to purchase, a Kindle e-book through the Web site, you can download and read it on your handheld. You can sort books into recent, title and author categories. In addition, Amazon's new app enables book shoppers to read the first chapter of any book free before they buy; adjust the size of text; add bookmarks; and view annotations created on Kindle devices.