Amazon today introduced a new Kindle app for Windows 8 and RT. The free app enables users to access over 1.5 million books, including over 200,000 exclusive titles. Kindle books can be read by Kindle reader software, available for the iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, PC, Mac, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Android phones and tablets, as well as in web browsers with Kindle Cloud Reader and now on Windows 8 devices.
The new Kindle app features include Whispersync technology which automatically syncs a customer’s last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights across all of their Kindles and Kindle apps. The app is available worldwide in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.
Using the new features of Windows 8, the Kindle app enables customers to pin their books to the Start screen for instant access to their favorite titles. Customers can also use the Share charm to easily share favorite passages and recommended books to friends and other apps without leaving the Kindle experience.
Apple updated it’s iBook 3 software this week with a new scrolling view and social sharing of iBooks passages, incorporating some of the elements of ePub3.
Microsoft and Barnes & Nobile have a Nook Media agreement that keeps the door open for Microsoft self-branded hardware that would compete with Nook line. The companies plan a spin-off that will include Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader and college textbook businesses. The new company will be called Nook Media, LLC. No mention of the ebook business today (so far at least) by Microsoft.
Apps are popular for phones, but 7″ tablets are a great ebook platform, especially for rich media. E-book reader software, available from Amazon, Apple, Google, Nook, Kobo, and others, will likely be available on the big three tablet platforms; IOS, Android, and Windows RT.
E-books using the tricks of HTML-5, incorporated into the new ePub-3 standard, allow some of the capabilities of applications. The benefit to developers is faster, cheaper software development, cross-platform compatibility, and higher prices — generally $1.99-$9.99.
The New York Times also released a Windows 8 app for Windows 8/RT. It will be available through the Windows Store for Windows 8 starting Friday, October 26. The apps feature tiles, which allow users to pin any of the sections and blogs to quickly see the latest headlines at a glance. Other new functions include Windows signature panorama display, Edge swiping for easy navigation, Cloud incorporation for article access from multiple devices, and Offline reading.
On Monday, Google will likely launch at least one new Nexus phone and tablet, including a Samsung-built 10″ tablet codenamed “Manta.” The Nexus 10 is rumored to have a 2560 x 1600 screen with pixel density to rival the iPad. It’s probably wishful thinking to expect ePub3 programs for authoring and reading, but you never know.
A cellular-enabled Nexus 7 is also expected to be announced. It uses an Intel XMM 6260 chipset supplying HSPA that would work for all North American GSM carriers.