Flash! I try Kindle for Android

Flash! I try Kindle for Android

Not too long ago, I got my first Smartphone…a Samsung Captivate.

Before that, I’d had a Motorola RAZR for quite some time.  I tend to run my gadgets (and other machines) until they break.  I once said I would drive a particular car until it fell apart.  That wasn’t quite true: the whole exhaust pipe thing fell off the car…and then I used duct-tape and a fan-belt I had in the car to drive it for a while more.  ;)

Well, my RAZR had pretty much died…I sometimes had to take it apart and play around with how the battery was sitting just to get it to charge.

So, it was time for a new phone. 

I’m with AT&T, and we didn’t want to switch.  I wanted to get a Smartphone…I could really use web-access on the go for some work things (checking Google calendar, for one thing).  I have been using the web access on my Kindle 3 some, but that doesn’t really cut it…certainly not for data entry.

I could have gone with an iPhone.

However, I’m a bit soured on Apple because of the Agency Model (which appears to have been engineered by Apple). 

I’d been hearing good things about Android-powered phones, and did some research before we went to the store.

I knew I’d be able to get Kindle for Android.  I tried out the virtual keyboard: that worked well.

I’m really happy with how the phone is working out.  Yes, it is driving me nuts to pay $25 a month for web access…that’s $300 a year!  That’s more than the phone cost!  No wonder techies are so impressed with the free 3G on the $189 Kindle!

I find the phone intuitive, although I have a lot more to learn. 

One of the first things I downloaded was Kindle for Android…well, Angry Birds was pretty early, too.  ;)

How’s the reader app?

Well, it was easy to find…I think it actually was featured as soon as I got to the Marketplace.

One weird thing: they gave me some free books: Pride & Prejudice, Treasure Island, Aesop’s Fables.

I didn’t like that, personally.  I’ll pick my own free books, thank you.  I can understand why they did it…to give people something to read right away, before they figure out the device.

However, those books also aren’t at

http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle

That’s odd…it means I can’t download them to continue reading them on the Kindle if I want.

Would I want to do that?

Yes, probably…I don’t think I’d read much on the little phone screen…too much page advancing.

You can advance by using your finger to slide the page.  I have to admit, I like the feel of that.  I do find I have to clean the screen pretty frequently, though: I’m not convinced that I would want a touch-screen on an EBR (E-Book Reader sized screen).

If I hold my finger on a word, I get a few choices:

  • Note
  • Highlight
  • Search in Book
  • Search Wikipedia
  • Define with Dictionary.com

That seemed to work. 

I didn’t realize at first that I could highlight more than one word by holding y finger down and then sliding it.  Making a note is much easier than on the Kindle, just because typing is easier. 

When I tap the page generally, I get a location slider at the bottom.  That’s a nice touch…I can quickly slide to another point in the book.

Hitting Menu while I was in a book brought up the following choices:

  • Home
  • View Options
  • Go to
  • Back
  • Bookmark
  • More (Share Progress, Sync, Search)

Share Progress seems strange to me, too. I can share with Bluetooth, Email, Gmail, Messaging, or WordPress.  I suppose that could be good for reporting to a teacher…

The options let me do white letters on a black background.  That’s how I am using it…it’s also how I read on my Kindle for PC.  There are five text sizes…the largest one is nowhere near as large as the largest on the Kindle.

When I hit Menu when I’m on the Homescreen, I get

  • Archived Items
  • Kindle Store
  • Sort By
  • Sync
  • More (Remove Items, Grid View, Search, Help, Send Feedback, Settings, Info)

I will say, I can practically watch the battery go down while I’m testing these features for you.  That’s clearly an advantage for the Kindle.

I hit the Kindle Store button…it is now a couple of minutes and it hasn’t connected yet. 

I tried it twice with two bars on wi-fi…the second time, it connected…but it took more than a minute. 

Once I got there, it worked okay.  There was a category for free classics…that worked well.  Searching the store was fast. 

Oh, this may seem obvious, but I did have color pictures (they’d have to be i color in the books).  If you have Kindle for PC (or, I presume, Kindle for Mac), you do see the covers in color as well.

I tested downloading CK-12 Life Science, a free textbook in the Kindle store, from my archives.  That’s a fairly large file, and it take longer than it would have on my Kindle (two or three minutes).  One nice feature was the ability to zoom on an image.  That’s not the single “screen width” zoom on the Kindle, but I could continue to zoom.  Interestingly, I didn’t find that right away, because I tried the spreading your fingers thing to increase the size.  That didn’t work…but touch and hold did.

Holding on a book in the homescreen gave e some good choices:

  • Go to last page read
  • Go to beginning
  • Go to location…
  • Shelfari book extras
  • Remove from device

You might not be familiar with Shelfari.  That’s a literary social site and book tracker (owned by Amazon).  It will give you character descriptions, a “Ridiculously Simplified Synopsis”, reviews, discussions, and more.  It would be nice to have that on the Kindle, although it does require connecting to the internet (which is a battery burner).

Overall, I really don’t expect to use it much.  I’m not likely to be out with my phone and not my Kindle.   I can see how it would be useful for someone who didn’t have a Kindle: a cool app for the phone. 

What do you think?  Have you tried it?  Did I leave out any great features?  Do you read whole books on it and love it?  Feel free to let me know.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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7 Responses to “Flash! I try Kindle for Android”

  1. Philip Jackson Says:

    I have Kindle for Android on my HTC Incredible. It’s great for when standing in line or other short waits. It synch’s with my Kindle 2 so that I don’t have to search for where I leftoff. Wouldn’t want toread a whole book on it.

  2. Allen Says:

    I use the Kindle app a fair amount. It’s by no means my primary reading device, but since my phone is ALWAYS with me it’s my go-to reading device when not sitting at home. I haven’t had to wait in line since the app was released. I’ve been in some lines, sure, but not waiting — just reading.

    While I’m partial to the sepia color setting for the droid app, using the white text on black will really improve your battery life.

  3. Marge Holz Says:

    My husband and I both switched to iPhone from RAZR last fall. The Kindle app for iPhone is wicked fast. I now buy all of my Kindle books on The iphone. It is also quicker for searching archives. And faster for Kindle store online. You may want to go back to AT&T if you are less than 30 days in to the new phone and consider a swap. I don’t care for Steve Jobs myself. :) BUT the iPhone is something else!

  4. Paul Bishop Says:

    I use the Kindle Android app on a regular basis. In fact, sometimes I’m just as happy to leave my Kindle behind (like going to dinner with my wife) and just rely on my smart phone app to give me the security of having a book with me.

    Also, with your smart phone, you should go to an accessory store and buy a shield for the screen. Have them install it (it’s worth the few $) as they are kind of tricky to get on with no bubbles. I also recently got a smart phone (a Driod X via Verizon) and the shield makes all the difference in the world when it comes to keeping the screen clean and scratch free — I even have one on my Kindle.

  5. Pamela R Says:

    I’m with you Bufo Calvin I rather read on my kindle I don’t take everywhere I go but I do take it with me often. When my husband and I are traveling I read out loud something we really enjoy. One time I didn’t take the kindle and was going to use my droid I had a problem, the sun was shining its glory all over my screen. We didn’t read on that short trip. But reading on the phone is very conveniet at times.

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