As a guy who’s been reading e-books for nearly a decade on handheld devices (Palm V , Dell Axim, PPC 6700, etc), I’m pretty psyched this AM to see Amazon follow through on promises to expand the Kindle experience beyond their own hardware. While both Stanza and eReader are installed on my iPhone, they don’t offer nearly as many titles as Amazon. More importantly, they can’t compete on price. (Amazon’s best sellers and new releases run $9.99.) However, my hopes of a directly integrated bookstore have been dashed with the initial Kindle on iPhone app release. In fact, Amazon’s own shopping app can’t even purchase Kindle books. I assume this is a temporary limitation, and Amazon.com is optimized for mobile Safari. Because as an infrequent and spontaneous (book) reader, I know I’ll be looking for titles in an airport just before boarding a flight.
Obviously the iPhone reading experience is much different from using Amazon’s dedicated Kindle hardware. The screen is smaller and while the backlight is great for reading in dim locations, a bright LCD can be visually fatiguing. Above, notice the macro Kindle e-ink shot taken by Tumblr lead developer Marco Arment. He’s concluded the little splotches are unintended artifacts, a result of immature tech. However, I believe this is intentional – mimicking the the composition of paper. Certainly the Kindle screen is easy on the eyes. When it’s not blinking with each page turn.
For those interested in Kindle 2 hardware, keep an eye on Brent’s blog… He picked up a unit and has been posting his experiences and answering questions.