Amazon announced an update to Kindle for Android today that adds features and support for tablets running Android 3.0 Honeycomb. The new tablet version offers a new layout for newspapers, magazines and is optimized to take advantage of the larger tablet form factor.
It is a big step for Android tablets as the nascent Honeycomb application ecosystem becomes fleshed out by developers. Kindle is one of the most popular apps on both iOS and Android devices and Amazon's "buy once, read everywhere" strategy is one of the most unique programs in the e-publishing space.
New features for Kindle for Honeycomb include integrated shopping with access to personalized recommendations, the ability to pause downloads and an enhanced word look-up capability. All the Kindle goodness that consumers have come to expect from Kindle apps makes its way to Android tablets such as the ability to sync books through Whispersync from your Kindle account to any device as well as one-click purchasing.
"We've taken all the features customers love about Kindle for Android, and created a beautiful new user interface and a seamless shopping experience tailored to the look and feel of Honeycomb tablets," said Dorothy Nicholls, director of Kindle at Amazon in a press release.
Is this one of the first tangible steps from Amazon to launching its own Android tablet, as is rumored for later this summer? It was just a matter of time before Amazon came out with a Kindle app for Honeycomb as the company's strategy is to be as ubiquitous as possible, developing for all platforms.
So far there has not been much traction in the Android tablet market or really any tablet market that is not an iPad. Yet, as more Android tablets become available as the year goes along the Honeycomb application ecosystem will continue to grow. Kindle for Honeycomb is one of the first salvos in what will probably be a holiday-season showdown between the iPad and Android tablets.