Kindle Cloud Reader. The app is built from the ground up in HTML5 and is designed to be used in whatever browser environment a user desires. The initial rollout is available in Safari for iOS, Safari for Mac and Chrome. Amazon is one of the first major application makers to create its own dedicated HTML5 app that purposefully skirts around the Apple App Store and its levy on in-app purchases and subscriptions.Amazon announced this morning that it is releasing a Web-based version of its Kindle application called the
Ostensibly, the Kindle Cloud Reader is just another initiative in the "Buy Once, Read Everywhere" strategy that Amazon has with all its Kindle applications. It can do everything that a normal Kindle app can do, such as synchronize your library, your last page read and bookmarks. Yet, the Kindle Cloud Reader is more of a reaction to the draconian app store rules instituted by the Cupertino giant than it is a dynamic new version of Kindle.
The Amazon press release for Kindle Cloud Reader has many subtle digs at Apple and its app store.
"To make it easy and seamless to discover new books, we've added an integrated, touch optimized store directly into Cloud Reader, allowing customers one click access to a vast selection of books," said Dorothy Nichols, director of the Kindle in the press release.
There is a list of bullet points in the press release outlining what the application does. It is pretty standard fare from what you would expect from a Kindle app. Yet, buried in the middle there is one line that pops out:
"New Kindle Store for iPad is built from the ground up for iPad's touch interface."
Then towards the end of the release, there is this statement: "Without even leaving the app, customers can start shopping in the Kindle Store and will find a unique and immersive shopping experience built specifically for iPad's Safari browser."
Amazon said that the Kindle Cloud Reader will be available for other desktop and mobile browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, BlackBerry PlayBook and "other mobile browsers" (see: Android, webOS and Windows Phone) in the coming months.
That is no mistake. After Apple forced Amazon and the other e-reader applications to boot their bookstore buttons from their iOS apps, it was imperative for Amazon to find a work-around for the situation. When it comes to the battle against Apple and the tyranny it holds over native applications, there is no better work-around than to build an HTML5 iOS functional app that functions in Safari as opposed to the native application.
If the rumors are true, then that is what Facebook has been working on with the so-called "Project Spartan" as well - an online application storefront that exists on the mobile browser yet independent of the Apple App Store. Amazon has beaten Facebook to the punch, but the revolt against Apple's rules is coming into focus. The big corporations have the time, money and infrastructure to push out complicated HTML5 apps but it may only be a matter of time before the mid-sized and small app publishers start doing so as well.