Kindle: A reading experience superior to the iPhone
Even if all this politicies and technical hurdles are to be somehow addressed in a satisfactory enough manner, users would still get a sub-par reading experience that isn't the substitute for specialized gadgets like Kindle that remains, like it or not, the best gizmo so far to enjoy e-books.
Packing a 9.7-inch display (versus 3.5-inch on the iPhone) and an electronic ink technology, the Kindle DX features a crisp, paper-like appearance and readability, with no glare or backlight, unlike electronic displays used in computers and mobile phones. The device never gets warm so you can comfortably read as long as you like and comes with text-to-speech technology for hands-free "reading". To boot, it also comes with completely integrated New Oxford American Dictionary with over 250,000 entries and definitions to help you with unknown words.
Your iPhone does none of this.
In addition to that, the Kindle can do basic web surfing on simple sites, has a built-in support for Wikipedia and basic music player functions, all domains of Apple's iPhone. Essentially, one might argue that Kindle is what a book is supposed to be in the 21st Century - all the knowledge at the grasp of your fingers, yet lacking any intrusiveness imposed by the flashy electronic gadgets.
So, is Kindle battling the iPhone or vice versa?
Kindle and iPhone make love, not war
There are around 40 million installed iPhone and iPod touch devices in the wild. Even if Amazon can't push these users into purchasing a pricey Kindle DX ($489), the company can still profit from iPhone users by selling them e-books. The iPhone and iPod touch do not really compete with Kindle. While these devices are great for casual mobile gaming, surfing the web and checking your email, their too tiny form factor and LCD technology make the experience of reading e-books pathetic. Also, bear in mind that you can now use Kindle as an newspaper reader, and for a small fee, you can read your favorite publications through it - for instance, Bright Side of News* is also available through the Kindle Store.
Of course, things could change in the future. Kindle's success could already be one of the reasons why Apple appears to be interested in bringing a rumored media pad to the market. Basically an oversized iPod touch designed to enjoy movies and pictures, Apple media pad could be also well suited for reading e-books.
Even Apple media pad won't replace Kindle
Of course, even a media pad will be no match to Kindle's crisp e-paper screen that reduces eye strain to minimum. Anyone who had a chance to compare the experience of reading an e-book on Kindle's and iPhone's screen side-by-side must have noticed the abyss of difference that separates the two.
So, despite supporting the iPhone, Amazon can rest assured that the iPhone won't knock down Kindle as the de facto standard for reading e-books on the go. Amazon knows this and this is why the company released a free Kindle for iPhone application and is even pitching the gadget as "a perfect companion for your Kindle," suggesting you buy both.
Whichever way you look at it, Amazon wins - at least until Steve Jobs changes his mind about books.
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