"Kindle for Android," announced today, is a game-changer for anyone who wants books on their Motorola Droid phone and other Android-based smartphones. And it works exactly as this Droid user has long hoped it would. Until today, I've been stuck with eReader.com's app. It's inelegant, punctuation is often missing, and many popular titles and authors are glaringly unavailable.
I was starting to lean on my iPad as a book reader, especially since it was recently blessed with the Kindle app (I've never owned a Kindle, but I've been buying books from Amazon for years). The Kindle app includes a vast library (600,000 titles, Amazon claims). But I find the iPad heavy and clunky, required two hands for reading in most contortions. The Droid, on the other hand, is a one-handed device. At night, I dock it and lay on my side, reading it hand-free except to swipe for each page turn.
It took just seconds to download "Kindle for Android" to my Droid, and no special configuring was required other than signing into my existing Amazon.com account. Importantly, the app menu allows downloading existing Kindle books, including the one I'd bought and downloaded to my iPad the other day.
"Books you purchase can also be read on a Kindle, computer, or other Kindle-compatible mobile devices," Amazon confirms in a statement.
"Kindle for Android" has a simple interface — just what phone apps need. The serif font is readable and its size adjustable, and you can choose a white, black or sepia page color. You can also adjust brightness within the app, which is important when reading in broad daylight or in bed at night.
One glitch: The book I'd most recently read via the iPad Kindle app opened, in my Droid version, to a page early in the book. So synching is done at the library level, but not at the individual bookmark level. But for Android fans who wish to use their smartphone as an e-reader, "Kindle for Android" could spell one less device to pack around.