Amazon Launches a Web-Based iPad Kindle Reader

Kindle Cloud Reader

Amazon hasn’t publicly announced it yet, but they have quietly launched a new web app called “Kindle Cloud Reader” that allows Chrome and Safari users to access their Kindle eBooks through their browsers. The entire app was created with HTML5 and offers offline reading. In addition, the Cloud Reader supports the iPad version of Safari, enabling Amazon to workaround Apple’s new subscription rules requiring in-app sales. However, the app currently does not support the iPhone.

TechCrunch reports that the new system is already live at  and works great on the iPad:

The iPad version is especially good because the store is fully optimized for the device. And you can easily switch back and forth between the store and your own library. It feels like a native app, but it’s not.

Since the web app supports local storage, you can read your Kindle books even without an internet connection. Also, the cloud versions of the Kindle books are still limited to a set number of devices. Meaning that  if you have your books downloaded to your Kindle, iPad, iPhone, etc, you may be over the limit and will not be able to read them in the cloud.

Apple is probably having a difficult time getting  many content providers to implement their new subscription rules which prevent native iOS app publishers from selling content outside of Apple’s own in-app system. Amazon decided to obey these rules by removing the Kindle Store button from their native app, and for now  the iPad now has this web-based option that integrates  with their sales system.

Kindle Cloud Reader Brings Kindle Books to Browser

Amazon has had a wide selection of free Kindle reading apps on most platforms and devices. The mission of “Buy Once, Read Everywhere” is now further extended to the web browser. Amazon has released Kindle Cloud Reader, based on HTML5, that allows you to read Kindle books instantly in your browser online or offline – with no downloading or installation required.

Kindle Cloud Reader

Kindle Cloud Reader automatically synchronizes your Kindle library, as well as your last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights for all of your Kindle books. This feature is similar to the one available in all reading apps and allows you to continue reading a book from the page that you last left on whether on a Kindle device or on one of the Kindle apps. Your current book is automatically made available for offline use, and you can choose to save a book for reading offline at any time.

Kindle Cloud Reader

Kindle Cloud Reader provides an immersive view of your entire Kindle library, with instant access to all of your books. An embedded Kindle Store optimized for the browser makes it seamless to discover new books and start reading them instantly. The iPad version includes an integrated, touch-optimized store that allows you one-click access to the vast selection of books.

Kindle Cloud Reader for Offline Reading

The first time you sign in to your account, you are given an option to enable offline reading capability which allows the books in your library to be downloaded for offline reading.

Kindle Cloud Reader - Book

Once you choose a book to read from the library, you can customize the page layout to your desired font size, text color, background color, and more. The interface is neat and has subtle navigational aids at the bottom and previous/next options on either sides.

The only grouse that I have is that Kindle Cloud Reader is not yet available for Internet Explorer 9. I could not even test a limited or hampered experience since the application doesn’t allow you to sign in on an unsupported browser. Kindle Cloud Reader is available for Safari (Windows/Mac/iPad) and Chrome (Mac/Windows/Linux/Chromebook). Amazon’s press release indicates that Kindle Cloud Reader will be available on additional web browsers, the BlackBerry PlayBook browser, and other mobile browsers, in the coming months. customers can start reading their Kindle books, or discover new titles from over 950,000 Kindle books available, immediately using Kindle Cloud Reader at using the existing credentials.

Apple Lawsuit Forces Amazon to Stop Using “Appstore” in Germany

Apple App StoreApple has not been very successful in its bid to get Amazon to stop using the term “Appstore” for its online application store, at least in the U.S.

A U.S. District Court judge recently ruled that it was unlikely that Amazon’s using the term would confuse customers, and denied a preliminary injunction to Apple.

However, according to a report by Dan Frommer, Apple’s lawsuit against Amazon seems to have had some temporary success in Germany. Amazon has had to stop accepting new apps from developers in Germany because of Apple’s legal action.

Amazon sent out an email to all its German App Developers:

    Dear Amazon Appstore Developer,

    Thank you for your participation in the Amazon Appstore for Android. We wanted to notify you of a recent change to your Developer Portal account; for the time being, we are not accepting new app submissions from developers located in Germany. We have been forced to impose this restriction due to a legal action filed by Apple in Germany seeking to prevent us from using the term appstore. We believe Apple’s claim is without merit and are actively contesting it.

    When you log into your Developer Portal account, you will notice that the options to add new apps have been removed. We hope to begin accepting new apps from German developers again soon and will notify you as soon as we are able to do so.

    We appreciate your patience and your continued interest in the Amazon Appstore for Android.

    Thank you,

    Amazon Appstore Account Team

It’s unlikely that Apple will win the lawsuit against Amazon even in Germany, but even a temporary restriction is better than nothing at all, right?

Acer Iconia Tab 4G A501 Up For Pre-Order At Amazon For $499.99

Acer announced the Android powered Acer Iconia Tab A501 at the CTIA 2011. This tablet runs on the Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) Operating System and features a 10.1 inch touchscreen display, 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra dual core processor, 5 megapixel rear camera and more. Later, AT&T announced the 4G version of this tablet, the Iconia Tab A501. This tablet is already available in most of the countries including UK and India. AT&T customers in the US are still waiting to get this device. But, the wait is finally over. Amazon has finally started taking the pre-orders of the Acer Iconia Tab 4G A501 in the US.

“Consumers are seeking cutting-edge mobile computing devices and we look forward to giving them another great choice with the Acer Iconia Tab A501,” said David Haight, vice president of business development, AT&T Emerging Devices. “This tablet is packed with features that will enable HD gaming and exceptional video playback. It offers a first-class on-the-go entertainment experience.”

acer iconia tab a501 amazon

Acer Iconia Tab A501 comes a 10.1 inch touchscreen display with 1280 X 800 resolution, 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra dual core processor, Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) OS, Acer User Interface, 5 megapixel rear camera with flash, 2 megapixel front-facing camera, Full HD (1080p) Playback, HDMI port, Bluetooth, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, 4G connectivity, USB port, DLNA certified, Dolby Mobile, 3.5mm headset jack, 16 GB internal memory, 32 GB expandable memory and a Li-polymer battery with up to 8 hrs back up.

Acer Iconia Tab A501 is available for pre-order for just $499.99. The release date of this tablet is still unknown. To pre-order the Acer Iconia Tab A501, head over to this page at Amazon.

Sprint Nexus S 4G Now Available For Free On Contract At Best Buy

Earlier this year, Sprint launched the 4G version of the popular Nexus S smartphone. Nexus S 4G is the first handset to feature the Android Gingerbread OS along with the 4G connectivity. This handset is available exclusively to the Sprint customer in the US. Last week, AT&T launched the Nexus S for $99.99. To stay ahead of the competition, Sprint finally reduced the price of this smartphone.

Nexus S

Google Nexus S 4G features a 4 inch WVGA SUPER AMOLED display with 800 x 480 pixels resolution, 1 GHz application processor, Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS, Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR, Wi-Fi Connectivity, 5 megapixel camera with flash, VGA front Camera, HD (720p) video recording, USB 2.0, Android Market and so on.

Other features include a 3.5mm headset jack, 4G connectivity, A-GPS, Stereo Speakers, Accelerometer, Digital compass, Proximity and Light Sensor, 16 GB internal memory, 512MB RAM, NFC (Near Field Communication) Capability, 4G Mobile Hotspot capability, Android Market and a 1500 mAh battery.

Sprint originally launched the 4G variant of Nexus S for $199.99. Later the price of the phone was reduced to $99.99. Now, Best Buy is selling the powerful Nexus S 4G for free with 2 year service agreement. You can also purchase this handset for $0.01 on contract from Amazon. Sprint Nexus S 4G allows you to access more than 250,000 apps from the Android Market. To get this handset, head over to Best Buy or Amazon. Announces Q2 2011 Results; Revenues Up 51% to $9.91 Billion

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer and e-commerce giant, just posted its second quarter results, and they are quite encouraging. Revenues have increased 51% to $9.91 billion over the second quarter in 2010. Its net income was $191 million, down 8% from $207 million in Q2 2010, implying an EPS of $0.41 this quarter.

Low prices, expanding selection, fast delivery and innovation are driving the fastest growth we’ve seen in over a decade,said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Kindle 3G with Special Offers has quickly become our bestselling Kindle at only $139. Customers love the convenience of a 3G reader — no hunting for or paying for Wi-Fi hotspots. Amazon picks up the tab for the 3G wireless, so you have no monthly payments or annual contracts.

Here are a few highlights of the earnings release:

1. The Kindle 3G with Special Offers is now the bestselling Kindle at just $139.

2. The Kindle U.S. store now has close to 1 million books, with a majority priced below $9.99.

3. Amazon launched Kindle Textbook Rental which offers students books at up to 80% off from textbook list prices.

4. Amazon Prime customers will now be able to stream TV shows from CBS for free.

5. Amazon launched Amazon Relational Database Service for Oracle databases which will allow customers to set up their Oracle databases in the cloud.

Amazon also released some Q3 2011 guidance figures. It expects sales to increase to between $10.3 billion and $11.1 billion, with the operating income expected to be between $20 million and $170 million.

Its stock (AMZN) is up nearly 6% in pre-market trading.

You can check out the press release here: Announces Second Quarter Results

Amazon Coming to India in 2012

Amazon, the world’s largest online retail company, is planning to enter the Indian market, according to a report by TOI. It is in talks with multiple Indian e-commerce startups like Flipkart and Letsbuy, about a possible acquisition.

An acquisition would be the best way for Amazon to enter the Indian market, and ramp up quickly, in terms of market share. So far though, most of the talks haven’t been working out, and Amazon may also consider entering the market on its own.

It is currently in the process of hiring more than 200 people in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai to man its operations. We had reported about this around a month back – Amazon Might Be Preparing to Enter India Soon.

It has already bought space for a warehouse in Mumbai. Flipkart is currently the biggest player in the Indian e-commerce space. Like Amazon, it started out by selling books online, but has since branched out into multiple products. It recently raised $20 million in Series C funding from Tiger Global.

Considering the huge e-commerce opportunity in India, it is unlikely that they will sell to Amazon, unless they get a huge premium above their current valuation.

The Indian e-commerce market is supposed to be worth around $10 billion in 2011. If Amazon enters now, with a big ticket acquisition, it has a good chance of dominating the space in a couple of years.

iriver Story HD Launched: The First Google eBook Reader

iriver Story HDWhile Amazon plans to launch an Android tablet by the end of this year, Google has already announced the launch of an eBook reader by iriver. The iriver Story HD will be the first eBook reader powered solely by Google eBooks and will offer access to more than 3 million e-books hosted by Google.

While Google eBooks offers support for multiple platforms, this is the first eBook reader which offers direct integration with Google eBooks platform. It will retail for $139.99, at exactly the same price point as the Kindle Wi-Fi. Which is why I think it won’t make much of an impact, considering we already have very good options in the form of the Kindle, the new Nook and the Nook Color.

The iriver Story HD comes with a 6 inch, 1024 x 768 pixel XGA e-ink display and is powered by a Cortex A8 processor. It has 2 GB internal storage, and comes with an SD card slot and Wi-Fi support. It is similar to the Amazon Kindle in terms of design and form factor and offers 3 weeks of battery life. It will be available starting July 17 at Target stores.

Apple and Amazon Expect to Sell Most Tablets in Q3 2011

Apple iPadSo the third quarter of 2011 has already started, and it seems that the folks at Digitimes have gotten their hands on some really interesting data. In a post today, they have posted a list of the supply volume of tablets by all major manufacturers. Since most of the tablets are now manufactured in Taiwan and China, this could be quite an accurate indicator of the total tablet production by these companies.

According to the list, Apple, obviously, is the most optimistic about its tablet – the iPad. It has ordered close to 14-15 million iPad units from its hardware partners. The total orders are close to 22 million, so iPad production volumes will be close to 65-70% of the entire tablet market.

After Apple, the second largest order for tablets was given by Amazon. As we already know, rumors are that Amazon is planning to launch its own Android powered tablet by August 2011. Following the success of the Kindle, they seem to be quite optimistic about their tablet prospects. They have ordered close to 1.2 million units from their supply partners.

Every other Android tablet manufacturer, including Acer, Asus and Samsung has ordered between 750,000 and 900,000 units. HP and RIM have also ordered around the same number of their tablets – the TouchPad and the Playbook.

HTC, Motorola and Dell don’t seem very optimistic about the sales of their tablets. They have ordered less than 400,000 tablets each.

I was expecting Samsung to order much more, considering that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is currently the best Android Honeycomb tablet around. If Amazon can replicate the success of the Kindle in the tablet space, which seems very likely, it will have a much larger order in the next quarter.

Amazon Might Be Preparing to Enter India Soon

eCommercePluggd.In has uncovered compelling evidence that suggests that the American online ecommerce giant Amazon is preparing to expand to India soon. It has hired Madhu M from Landmark to head its book operations in India. It is also hiring people with earlier exposure to retails or online domain across all levels. Additionally, it is currently searching for a Manager for its Fulfillment Center.

Amazon hiring across all levels in Non-Tech, IIM,ISB good education MBA grade… earlier exposure to Retails or Online domain…Exposure de…less than a minute ago via LinkedIn Favorite Retweet Reply

Ecommerce in India is still in its infancy, but is experiencing rapid growth. If Amazon gets into the Indian market, it will face stiff competition from the likes of Flipkart and Infibeam. There is a good chance that Amazon might decide to acquire an already established player, instead of deciding to go in alone. In India, where most consumers are still wary about shopping online, reputation matters. Even more crucially, FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) caps in India make it pretty much impossible for an US based entity like Amazon to launch a consumer-facing ecommerce venture in India, unless it wants to restrict itself to the six metros.

In the past we have seen eBay acquiring, and Groupon picking up SoSasta to enter the Indian market. Pluggd.In believes that a deal with Flipkart is off the table as the buyout price demanded by it was too high for Amazon. Earlier in the month, Flipkart raised $20 million from Tiger Global, which strongly suggests that it is planning on staying independent. Infibeam, which has been criticized in the past for ripping off Amazon’s products, website layout, and even logo, was also reported to be in talks with Amazon earlier, but that failed to yield any result.

Given the success and popularity of Amazon-like ecommerce services in India, it seems a no-brainer that Amazon itself will be interested in grabbing a piece of the pie. However, when and how it will do so remains to be seen.