Amazon hits back at Apple with Kindle Cloud Reader
Amazon has released a version of its Kindle Reader for web browsers, in a move that is sure to be seen as a response to Apple.
The web app, called Kindle Cloud Reader, uses HTML 5 to replicate the features of Amazon’s Kindle ebook reader app for mobile devices. For now it is available in Safari and Google Chrome and works on the iPad but not the iPhone.
“We have written the application from the ground up in HTML5, so that customers can also access their content offline directly from their browser,” said Dorothy Nicholls, director of Amazon Kindle. “The flexibility of HTML5 allows us to build one application that automatically adapts to the platform you’re using – from Chrome to iOS.”
The web app allows books to be saved for offline access and, as with all of Amazon’s Kindle products, syncs between a reader’s other Kindle products.
Last month Amazon updated it’s Kindle app for Apple’s iOS devices - the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch - and removed the direct link to the Kindle ebook store. The change, which was made to comply with Apple’s new iOS purchasing policy, left many customers confused and angry. They left negative reviews on the Kindle app in iTunes.
The web app, which contains a link to the Kindle ebook store, appears to be designed to encourage users away from the Kindle iOS app. One of the first things it suggests to a new user is that the add a link to the app on their home screen.
Dave Addey, MD of app development company Agant, said: “The store integration is substantially better than it could ever be in an app.”
“There are things which this app can’t do as well as in a native app,” Mr Addey said but he added that most of the features Amazon needs can be accomplished in web app form.
Kobo, another ebook seller, recently removed the store from its app. Last month Kobo announced that it was working on a web app of its own.
Amazon’s only public comment on the Kindle app was to say that it had removed the Kindle store link “in order to reply with recent policy changes by Apple”.
The two companies have recently tangled in court over the rights to the term “App Store”, which Apple claims to have trademarked. Apple was denied a preliminary injunction in the US against Amazon using the term but succeeded in a European lawsuit which has forced Amazon to stop accepting app submissions from developers in Germany.