Kindle apps set for Android, Windows tablets

Giving nascent competitors to Apple's iPad a modest boost, Amazon says its system for buying and reading e-books will extend to Google- and Microsoft-powered tablets.

Kindle apps are available for a growing number of devices.
Kindle apps are available for a growing number of devices. Amazon

Amazon will release a version of its Kindle app for tablets running Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows operating systems, the company said yesterday.

The free Kindle app will be designed for accessing the Kindle Store as well as for reading books. Amazon didn't say when it plans to release the Kindle app for Android and Windows tablets, but it's safe to expect it soon given current developments in the tablet market.

Tablets--especially Android tablets--are a major theme at the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas. And a Kindle app, while no surprise, helps enable one of the major uses of tablets.

The move, along with the Kindle apps for personal computers, several mobile phones, and Apple's iPad, makes it clear that Amazon is as interested in selling digital books as it is in selling Kindle readers. Of course, though, once people get hooked on e-books and have a collection purchased through Amazon, they might want a dedicated device for their reading.

The Kindle is "purpose-built for reading. Many people are buying both a Kindle and an LCD tablet computer," Dorothy Nicholls, director of Amazon Kindle, said in a statement. The more devices the Kindle app runs on, the more compelling Amazon's WhisperSync technology for bookmarking the reader's page becomes.

One big difference between physical books and e-books is that with e-books, you only buy rights to read data rather than owning a physical object. That makes reselling and lending more complicated if it's possible at all. At the end of 2010, Amazon announced the ability to lend Kindle books for a 14-day period to others, as long as the publisher has made the book eligible.

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