Excitement about Amazon's new Kindle software for the iPhone seems at risk of eclipsing the Kindle 2 announcement itself. Nobody argues that the iPhone is a better device for reading than a dedicated E-book reader. It isn't, with its smaller screen and fewer controls.
But we carry our phones everywhere, unlike the bulkier Kindle. And the iPhone is just the first mobile phone to get the software, which Amazon has said will arrive for a wide variety of handsets. Amazon has to wonder how many Kindle customers it will lose to cellphone owners.
Not that the bookseller has a choice about supporting cellphones. A variety of apps already make it possible to buy, download and read E-books on phones. Stanza on the iPhone, for example, was at one point threatening to leave the Kindle out in the cold, notes Jane McEntegart at Tom's Guide.
None of that was likely a surprise to Amazon, anyway. The company owns Mobipocket, which provides software and E-books for mobile phones.
Amazon's iPhone app tries to keep the Kindle at the center. Users can't buy books through the iPhone software, for example. "We think the iPhone can be a great companion device for customers who are caught without their Kindle," Amazon's Ian Freed told the New York Times.
Also, the iPhone app hit the market with a simple press release. No new Stephen King novella or big press event.
But it's generating a lot of buzz. I think that's because many suspect that smartphones will hold a lot more E-books than expensive, dedicated readers like the Kindle. What do you think?