SmoothSpan Blog

For Executives, Entrepreneurs, and other Digerati who need to know about SaaS and Web 2.0.

Amazon Should Launch a Kindle iPhone App

Posted by Bob Warfield on December 3, 2008

There was news today that Amazon has launched an iPhone application.  The application is Amazon Remembers.  It’s an interesting application where you can photograph something you want to buy and Amazon will try to match it to a product they sell.  You can also just browse the Amazon shopping experience, but the “experimental” photo matching feature is the real news.  The photo recognition is done by real people via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk facility.

This is all well and good, but it just makes me wonder why Amazon hasn’t launched the real killer iPhone application:  a Kindle-style reader that runs on iPhones.  Assuming Amazon doesn’t think it makes most of the money from sales of the Kindle itself, the iPhone would be a huge acclerator for the Kindle business model.  And what better time than now, during the holiday season, to launch such a thing.  Amazon’s updated Kindle version 2 was delayed until next year anyway.

Can you imagine what a big splash a Kindle reader application for the iPhone would make?  Heck they could charge $50 or $100 for it and sell a bunch at a nice profit..  It might cannibalize some of the Kindle hardware sales, but I’ll bet not that many.  I’d sign up for an iPhone Kindle application in a heartbeat.

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10 Responses to “Amazon Should Launch a Kindle iPhone App”

  1. Blake said

    While Amazon may sell a few eBooks for iPhone users, the magic of the Kindle is the device itself. If you haven’t seen one, you really need to find a place to give it a try. It’s not like reading a book on a screen — it’s a totally different experience. I’d go nuts trying to read a full book on my iPhone, but I’ve never had any trouble with eyestrain or fatigue reading hundreds of pages on my Kindle.

  2. […] those mobile hooks to the Amazon store can be dangerous. It’s easy to buy more stuff. Update: Bob Warfield makes a great point. Why didn’t Amazon see the Kindle possibilities via iPhone? After all, Amazon makes its money on […]

  3. […] the example post: Amazon Should Launch a Kindle iPhone App « SmoothSpan Blog Leave a comment Comment RSS Previous: Nokia’s N97: Real competition to iPhone | Flash […]

  4. claremitton said

    There already is Kindle for the iPhone. It’s called Stanza.

  5. lenedgerly said

    The best thing about reading on the Kindle is the reflective E Ink screen, which is easy on the eyes and a nice relief from the computer or iPhone screen. It’s very much like reading paper. So I think the idea of a Kindle iPhone app is misplaced. Believe me, the real thing is worth waiting for, and Amazon will eventually figure out how to gear up to meet the demand.
    Len Edgerly, host of weekly The Kindle Chronicles podcast.

  6. cebess said

    Wouldn’t that make the iPhone somewhat on par with the eReader application that has been available for windows mobile for a VERY long time.
    I’d bet 3 out of 4 of the books I’ve read in the last year have been on my phone. It probably doesn’t do much for my attention span, but I at least get them read.

  7. smoothspan said

    I think there is something else unique to the Kindle besides the eInk screen, and that is the easy shopping experience and broad array of reading material that’s available through that experienec. There’ve been tons of alternatives to iTunes as well, but the gestalt of iTunes has made the difference for it. Amazon’s business for the Kindle should be in making that experience widely available. If the Kindle is, in addition, also the best reader experience, that’s fine too, they’ll continue to sell a bunch of them. That same shopping experience is the reason why Stanza (or so far anything else) is not a suitable stand in.

    But it’s hard to imagine that an iPhone reader app that accessed the easy shopping experience wouldn’t accelerate adoption in every way, perhaps even selling more Kindles.

    I have heard some say that the Kindle business model is all about selling hardware and not books, but I find that extremely hard to believe. If it’s true, it is very short sighted on Amazon’s part, and they don’t seem short sighted to me!

    Cheers,

    BW

  8. […] Bob Warfield of in the Smooth Span Blog has the great suggestion here: it just makes me wonder why Amazon hasn’t launched the real killer iPhone application:  a Kindle-style reader that runs on iPhones.  Assuming Amazon doesn’t think it makes most of the money from sales of the Kindle itself, the iPhone would be a huge acclerator for the Kindle business model.  And what better time than now, during the holiday season, to launch such a thing.  Amazon’s updated Kindle version 2 was delayed until next year anyway. […]

  9. […] Amazon Should Launch a Kindle iPhone App « SmoothSpan BlogDude, I would totally spend lots of money on that. […]

  10. petersturo said

    The Kindle 2 is just released. I’ve just done a review on it, and I have to say that I really love the “listen” to book function.

    Kindle 2 Review

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