I have said it before: I love my Kindle (and my Kindle on PC and Kindle on Windows Phone apps). And in addition to the many platform already supported by Amazon, they just announced the Kindle Cloud Reader. Right now it only runs on Chrome and Safari. So I can’t use it, although they say they will be adding support for other browsers soon.
I applaud this move. For one, having a web app instead of a native on the iOS platform saves Amazon from having to share 30% of purchases made through the app. At least in theory, this should make their books cheaper for everyone, as Apple requires in-app purchases to go for the same price as purchases made elsewhere. Moreover, I think this is the right move strategically: away from dedicated apps for every platform and towards a web-based solution that can be utilized regardless of platform and without intervention from the platform vendor.
I never really understood why so many content publishers would come out apps that were merely a simplified version of their website. Why not make a simplified website that one can view on any platform?
The only reason I could think of, why they did this, was that as web users we have gotten used to everything being free online. Case in point, the New York Times has had little success when it started charging for access to its website in 2005 (although they have started charging more frequent users again, we’ll see how that goes). On the other hand, spending a few bucks on an app or an app subscription is quite normal. So I guess it makes for content publishers to go for the app in getting people to pay for their content. Still, as a user that does not have a device running on the iOS platform, I don’t like this.
Aside: Kindle ads
I just noticed Amazon has its own YouTube channel with Kindle ads and I have watched some of them. A common theme in these seems to be how the Kindle helps you attract attention from members of the opposite sex. Unfortunately, this is false advertising, at least based on my own experience.
There have been only two instances where people have taken notice of me reading on the Kindle (or rather two instances of me taking notice of them taking notice). In both instances it has been groups of kids who recognized the device. One was actually kind of funny, when I overheard one kid saying to the others that my Kindle really looked like a dummy and I was probably not even reading but merely staring at a piece of plastic.