Amazon launches Kindle for Android, adds features to Kindle for iPhone

Amazon's Kindle department has had a busy couple of days. First, on Sunday they announced some new functionality for Kindle on the iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch. Kindle books can now include audio or video clips embedded in them. As of this writing, pickings are pretty slim: thirteen titles, five of which are Rick Steves travel books, and each of which is $9.99. One of the most interesting (to me anyway) is Together We Cannot Fail, about Roosevelt's presidency. It includes recordings of 30 of his fireside chats and other speeches. It's worth noting that you have to be on a WiFi connection to download these titles, due to their size. It's also interesting that even the audio-supplemented titles will only work on i-devices. Why not support these on the Kindle hardware? It supports audio, after all. One last note: I never noticed the actual Kindle app getting updated. I suspect this functionality was in since at least the last update, just waiting for content to appear. I share this just so you don't do what I did and spend all morning checking for updates.

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The other big Kindle news is the arrival of Kindle for Android which was launched Monday afternoon. There's not a heck of a lot to say about it: it's a Kindle app that runs on Android 1.6 or greater, and works pretty much as expected. It syncs your bookmarks and last page read, will display notes (but doesn't allow for adding notes). You can quickly adjust font size, brightness and choose different colored backgrounds. To me it feels almost exactly the same as Kindle on the iPad (although it apparently doesn't support those new audio/video titles). You still have to dump out to a browser to buy books, but Amazon promises they're working on fixing that as well as adding new features. It's good to see that when the Android tablet deluge hits in the fall, Amazon will be ready for them.

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