Friday, February 06, 2009

Kindle Books on Cellphones?

Looks like the eBook wars are ratcheting up a notch:

It seems I missed this rather important piece of news that the NY Times just published -

Also Thursday, Amazon said that it was working on making the titles for its popular e-book reader, the Kindle, available on a variety of mobile phones. The company… did not say when Kindle titles would be available on mobile phones.

“We are excited to make Kindle books available on a range of mobile phones,” said Drew Herdener, a spokesman for Amazon.

This is hugely important as it means we’re just

  1. A step away from having all manner of cellphone eReaders start offering Kindle Store Books.
  2. A few steps away from having an eReader for netbooks that couples with Amazon’s Kindle Book Store.

My suspicion is that Amazon might start off with their own eReader - however, at some point of time they would want to open it up to all the different eReading softwares that are available, and more importantly, already popular.

The biggest thing it does is it turns a potential Apple Vs Amazon Kindle battle into a Apple Vs Kindle+Netbooks+cellphones battle. Very cool strategic move by Amazon.

Technologically speaking, it ought to be a piece of cake for Amazon to develop software that would allow you to read all of your Kindle books on your PC as well. Amazon could really position themselves strongly by focusing on being a content provider for eBooks, allowing you access to your entire digital library on your Kindle (or other eBook reader?), you cell phone, and your PC.

This could be very big news indeed.

P.S. -- Kevin Tofel has more thoughts. Here are some reasons why smartphones may be Kindle killers. (I'm not totally convinced. If I'm reading long books, I'd much prefer ePaper to a smartphone screen.) And why targeting cellphones is so important for eBooks. (Short answer -- 4 billion (!) subscribers around the world. That's approximately equivalent to two-thirds of the earth's population!)

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