Good news, Android owners! One of the iPhone and iPad's best mobile applications, the Amazon Kindle app, is coming soon to phones running the Google Android mobile operating system. Like all Kindle products, the Android app will include Amazon's Whispersync technology, which synchronizes reading progress, notes and bookmarks across devices including Kindle brand e-readers, desktop software and mobile applications.
Techcrunch, who reported the news late last night when the press release hit the wires, notes that the new Android app will include a native Kindle bookstore that operates within the mobile application itself (at least that's what the headline appears to imply: "You Can Buy Books in It.") This would be a bit different than how the iPhone and iPad Kindle apps work - they redirect you to the device's web browser so you can purchase Kindle books from Amazon's mobile-optimized website.
Many have suspected that the reason Amazon's Apple-compatible applications do this redirection is so they don't compete with Apple's own venture into mobile e-books: Apple iBooks. Originally released alongside the new iPad, the Apple iBooks mobile application is now available for iPhones and iPod Touch devices, too.
A native bookstore within the Android app would be ideal, and definitely a selling point for not just the app itself, but for Android phones in general as yet another example of how Apple's application restrictions lead to a less than ideal experience for its smartphone owners. However, it's unclear if that's the case from the way both the Kindle for Android website text and the press release text is worded (i.e. "the Kindle Store optimized for your Android phone").
Also, the screenshot included with the press release shows the Android Kindle Store which looks identical to the mobile website the iPhone sends you to when you want to find a new book.
Of course, that's not to say that the Android app doesn't wrap the mobile site into the application itself as opposed to kicking you out of the app and redirecting you to the mobile web browser. The Kindle Blackberry application keeps you in-app, so it's likely that the Android app will as well. But to be sure, we've contacted Amazon for clarification.
In any event, what we do know about the coming Kindle for Android app is that it will be out "later this summer" and will provide access to 540,000 books, plus tens of thousands of free classics. As mentioned above, the app supports Whispersync and it also will offer five different font sizes, the ability to read the beginning of a book prior to purchase, multiple ways to flip through pages and support for both portrait and landscape reading modes.
Instead Android phone owners can sign up here to be notified when the Kindle for Android application becomes available.