Amazon Offers Free Kindle BlackBerry Application
Amazon today rolled out a free application that allows consumers to relay content from the Kindle to their BlackBerry smartphones, adding to the bevy of devices that can sync with the popular e-reader and access the online digital book store.
Amazon's (NASDAQ: AMZN) embrace of Research In Motion's BlackBerry platform follows the release of a Kindle app for Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone last March. Soon, Amazon plans to roll out similar applications for the Mac and iPad, Apple's much-anticipated tablet computer that many observers view as a competitive threat to the Kindle.
"Since the launch of our popular Kindle for iPhone app last year, customers have been asking us to bring a similar experience to the BlackBerry, and we are thrilled to make it available today," Ian Freed, vice president of Amazon Kindle, said in a statement.
Amazon's BlackBerry application will offer access to more than 420,000 titles on the popular smartphone, allowing users to read books they have already purchased with their Kindle or shop for new ones without leaving the app. That means that users of the popular RIM (NASDAQ: RIMM) device who don't have a Kindle could still access and purchase e-books from Amazon's store, where titles are typically available for around $10.
Pricing for Kindle titles has become a contentious issue that has been fraying Amazon's relations with publishers, however. Last month, for instance, Amazon pulled books from the publisher MacMillan after the companies could not agree on pricing for digital editions. Amazon eventually relented, and agreed to the agency pricing model MacMillan had been pressing, under which digital editions would become available the same day as the hardcovers hit stores, priced between $12.99 and $14.99, with Amazon netting a 30 percent commission from each sale. Amazon is looking to keep the price of e-books at around $10.
The new Kindle applications enable users to sync their bookmarks and annotations to third-party devices, so when they call up a book on the BlackBerry or other supported device they can jump to the last page read.
Amazon is offering the BlackBerry app for download here, along with a list of supported devices, which include versions of the Bold, Curve, Storm and Tour models.