Flash! Amazon updates iPad/iPhone Kindle app

Flash! Amazon updates iPad/iPhone Kindle app

Amazon has just updated its

Kindle for iPad app

and

free Kindle for iPhone/iPod Touch apps

There are some exciting additions here!

  • Instant word lookup, similar to the dictionary lookup on Kindle devices
  • Finish downloading a book in the background (meaning you can do something else on iOS 4 devices
  • Support for some non-Amazon book files…this one is huge, it means you get access to Project Gutenberg and Archive.org files.  I don’t see where they’ve told us the formats yet.  Some of it appears to do with web-e-books (you can open files in Safari), but you can also transfer files from iTunes.  This may mean you can use personal documents, but I’m not sure yet
  • Zoom has been improved
  • There’s a “new book indicator”…I assume this is something that tells you when a book has been downloaded and not opened yet.  I don’t think it means it is an improvement to an existing book indicator.  The Kindle tells us when books are new to the device

Kindle for iDevices help page

If you download the update, feel free to share your experiences by commenting on this post.

No, I don’t know if the upgrades are coming to the Blackberry, Android, or Windows 7 apps.  🙂

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

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8 Responses to “Flash! Amazon updates iPad/iPhone Kindle app”

  1. Tom Semple Says:

    What they mean about gutenberg, archive.org, etc. is that if you are browsing their web sites and click a download link for a Kindle-compatible file type (mobi, prc, etc.) you’ll get the option to open it with Kindle for iOS. This should also allow dropbox, calibre content server etc. to work as well.

    Also it now supports iTunes File Sharing so you can sync content with your computer and no longer need to use something like iPhone Explorer.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      Thanks for that! Not an iPhone/iPad/iTunes user.

      Two questions, if you know: would that include txt, for example?

      Does this in any way enable putting a personal file on the device?

  2. Pierre Says:

    Yes, this works for any file in the correct format. Kindle now registered itself for those formats (I only tested it with .mobi) to be in the “Open In” list.
    I tested it in Mobile Safari with a .mobi that I created myself and from Dropbox. According to the release notes it also works for attachments sent to you by mail.

    I didn’t see Kindle displayed for ePUB (of course) or TXT. But that last one I’m not sure of because iOS only displays a max of 10 apps in the Open In list and in my case I have > 10 apps that can open TXT files.

    Books downloaded this way are not synced between devices (eg. iPad and iPhone) which would have been a killer feature (missing in iBooks also).
    Also notes and highlights for these downloaded books are not synced with the online page at http://kindle.amazon.com/

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Pierre!

      That’s very helpful!

      http://kindle.amazon.com and syncing are parts of the Kindle Service. It’s also true on a Kindle that those books are not backed up for you in your archives, Whispersynced, or have their annotations backed up.

      An obvious reason for that is to encourage people to get their books from Amazon…and even with free books, I’ve done that for that reason. I’ve gotten the same free book from http://www.feedbooks.com and from Amazon…because I wanted to have my notes available to me at that http://kindle.amazon.com , but the FeedBooks version was better formatted.

      In the case of a public domain book, this next part wouldn’t matter…but I think it may with in-copyright books. Amazon needs to have permission from the publisher to back up a file into the archives. I assume that a publisher that sells a book to someone using the Kindle service agrees to the note back-up, archives, and such. With a book not bought from the Kindle store, Amazon hasn’t secured those permissions. While it may not be a commercial use for the reader, it is one for Amazon…which affects Fair Use considerations.

      I’m just guessing on that, but I think there are licensing considerations in addition to the pure “buy from us, we give you additional services” motivation.

      • Pierre Says:

        Ah, yes those pesky copyright rules. I admit I forgot about that. Even without the “buy from us” considerations that would probably prevent them from ever implementing a feature to sync non-Amazon books across devices.

      • bufocalvin Says:

        Interestingly, I could see them doing it for public domain books…if there was a good easy way to establish the status. It can be hard to determine, especialy for the readers who would probably need to attest to it.

      • Tom Semple Says:

        There are several ebook platforms that allow you to add content to your account’s library in the cloud, and synch reading position, regardless of whether you obtained it through them or not:
        Ibis Reader
        txtr
        iFlowReader

        txtr even allows you to set sharing options for the content (which presumably would need to be DRM-free).

        I don’t see any reason why Amazon couldn’t provide the same service, and even charge a bit for it (one of their businesses is selling cloud storage). It is not as if they would be making the content available to everyone. If they discover abuse, they can always pull the plug on the account.

        Of course you can use things like Dropbox or Google Docs that are accessible from anywhere, but the key ingredient that is missing with such solutions is synching of reading position and annotations. For that, it really needs to be part of the ebook platform.

  3. Magno Says:

    I think it will be nice when we can read our periodicals in these versions of Kindle. I, for example, signed the Issac Asimov’s Magazine and I only can read it on Kindle device, not in iPad, PC or Mac version. Ok, there is a limitation for devices in contract but I’d like to choose the device 🙂

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