Available now on your nearest iPhone (and if you don’t have one, just grab someone’s. They won’t mind. Really.): Kindle for iPhone. For the time being it’s a free app from the App Store, and it uses your existing account with Amazon to download books.
The Kindle for iPhone app will allow you to download the books you already own and reread. And with the Whispersync feature, you can switch back and forth between your Kindle and your Kindle for iPhone, and each will keep track of where you’ve stopped reading.
My first impression is that this is one of the first examples of practical application of reading ebooks on multiple devices. For example, if someone were to start a book on the train ride into work, then go to a meeting that was maybe, perhaps, a little boring, she could read a bit on the iPhone, then switch back to the Kindle for the train ride home. Spiffy!
I just downloaded the app to my phone while I booted up the computer, and already, my purchased books that I “archived” – aka moved off the Kindle for storage at Amazon – are available. It doesn’t seem to have all of the files I’ve emailed to the Kindle, so I have to figure out how to make that work together.
You do have to ask the iPhone/Kindle and Kindle II to sync your location. The progress of your reading isn’t automatically tracked, it seems. The page turning is a slide from right to left, and as usual seems to take a healthy bite out of the battery life.
According to the CNET review, you can’t buy titles from within the app – hur?! – and instead have to use the browser to navigate to Amazon.com and purchase the Kindle edition. Only then will it be among your “archived books.” Moreover, no newspapers or magazines, folks. Which, also, “Hur?!” CNET writer Nicole Lee also mentions a flaw in the seductive possibility of color images for ebook reading: comics. Alas, the zoom, you cannot has it on the iPhone for Kindle.
I am floored by the options I have in terms of ebook readers plus auxiliary options, from Sony plus Calibre to Kindle II plus iPhone for Kindle, or Stanza as a Standz alone app for all-around ebook reading (and if that’s your option, I hope you can generate your own electricity to recharge the battery because it’s a slurper).
The iPhone/Kindle connection, though, does seem to demonstrate an acknowledgment (thank you!) that people who read ebooks do not just read them on one device, and might like having the option to switch from one to the other. As Barb Ferrer says, this makes my Jesus Vs. Spiderman evaluation of the Kindle/Sony options a little more tricky. With this many options, I might have to call it Jesus vs. Spiderman vs. Santa vs. the Alien.