Android App Review: Kindle For Android

Nate Allen
Columnist from Indianola, IA
Published: July 7, 2010

Overview

The Good: Whispersync provides instant access to books previously downloaded to a user’s Amazon.com account, as well as synchronization of the last page read, bookmarks and other annotations; the price is right - free.

The Bad: You probably wouldn’t want to read a whole book on your phone.

The Verdict
: Kindle for Android is the perfect supplement (a/k/a time-waster or boredom-filler) for those users with Kindles, or perhaps those who enjoy Amazon’s multi-platform support and synchronization (Kindle, Mac/PC, iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, Blackberry, Android).

Review

Kindle for Android joins a vast array of platforms supported by Amazon.com’s Kindle e-book service, including obviously the Kindle hardware, Mac and PC desktop software, the gambit of touch-sensitive Apple devices (i.e. iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad), and Blackberry.  Kindle’s Whispersync system keeps books downloaded to the user’s Amazon.com account (both purchased and free) synced across each of the supported platforms.

Upon first use, the user needs to register the app to the user’s Amazon.com account.  Any books previously purchased or downloaded to any Kindle or Kindle app that is also registered to the user’s Amazon.com account will be available in the “Archived Items” section of the menu.  Additionally, the user has the option to search and download books from the Kindle Store, which contains the largest selection of e-books available on the web, with approximately 630,000 titles.

Books that have been downloaded to the user’s device, either directly from the Kindle Store or from the account’s Archived Items will appear on the app homescreen.  One tap on the book will open it to the front cover.  Turning pages in either direction is as easy as a swipe left or right, or a tap on the left or the right side of the screen.  

There are a number of readability-related options available in the menu under “View Options,” including the option to re-size text and change the screen brightness.  Additionally, the user has the option to toggle the text and background color between white background & black text, sepia background & black text, and black background & white text. The last option would be best suited to a dark environment. The default settings were great for me as I did not feel the need to alter the text size or color.

My wife and I have had the original Kindle for about a year now and I was very impressed with how smooth and effortless the Kindle for Android app fetched, downloaded and synced books that we had already downloaded to our Amazon.com account.  Additionally, bookmarks and notes automatically and accurately synced between my iPad Kindle app and my Android Kindle app.  In my opinion, the best use-case for this app is for taking in a few pages of a book here and there while in a waiting room or really any other boring situation.  I can’t imagine trying to read an entire book on the small screen of my Droid Eris, but I could definitely imagine reading for 10 minute stints without issue.  The app is free, so I don’t know why anyone with a Kindle or Kindle app on another supported platform wouldn’t want to download it and fill a few bored moments with a couple of pages from their favorite book.  Let me know in the comments how you use and integrate your Kindle for Android app into your life.