With Kindle App, Amazon Buys the Blackberry PlayBook Hype

By  |  Monday, September 27, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Amazon is picking winners and losers in smartphones and tablets, and it’s already deemed the Blackberry PlayBook a winner by promising a Kindle app.

The news of Kindle for Blackberry PlayBook landed within hours of Research in Motion’s big tablet reveal, as Harry just noted, even though the PlayBook won’t arrive until early next year. Amazon says the upcoming Kindle app supports the mantra of “Buy Once, Read Everywhere.”

But as I look over the list of platforms Amazon already supports — iOS, Android, Blackberry, Mac, PC — I think that mantra needs tweaking. With no support for WebOS, no promises of support for Windows Phone 7, and native e-reading duties on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab going to Kobo, let me propose a new slogan for Amazon’s Kindle platform: “Buy Once, Read On the Devices We Believe In.”

With smartphones, Amazon has played the waiting game with its support for non-Kindle devices. The iPhone app arrived in March 2009, a year after Apple announced the iPhone software development kit. A Kindle app for Blackberry arrived last February, and an Android app followed in June. I’m guessing that the lack of support for WebOS and WinPho7 is a matter of market share; the former hardly has any, and the latter can’t prove itself until it’s released this fall.

Tablets are a different story. Amazon was showing off its Kindle reader for iPad a full month before the device went on sale, and the company has promised a PlayBook app months before the device launches. The list of potential iPad rivals is long, but to my knowledge, Amazon hasn’t pledged to support any of them except the PlayBook. (You could argue that Android tablet support already exists through the smartphone app, but I beg to differ until a version comes along specifically for large screens.)

Personally, I’m intrigued by the PlayBook, but until RIM provides a firm price and release date, and shows the device in action, I’ll approach it with an ounce of skepticism. Amazon, apparently, will not.



2 Comments For This Post

  1. Harry McCracken Says:

    Kobo was the e-reading company that got love at the keynote today–it's shown in the video, and was demoed as the first app to support RIM's opening up of BlackBerry Messenger as a social platform. Between that and its status as the built-in e–book reader on the Galaxy Tab, the company is on a roll.

    I wonder if Amazon's quick move to promote Kindle on the PlayBook is in part a defensive move as Kobo gains at least some traction?


  2. swildstrom Says:

    I agree that the support for PlayBook may have been premature, but basically Amazon will support Kindle on any platform they think they can sell books on. I can;t imagine anyone really wanting to read a book on a current Pre, never mind a Pixi, but I suspect Amazon will be there when a webOS tablet is really announced–all HP has done so far is announce its intention to announce one. Same may be true of WP7; so far there are no WP7 phones and the initial announcement will be for Europe, not the U.S., where Amazon mostly matters.

    Samsung wanted to do their own cobbled-together e-reader and chose Kobo. I figure that once the Android Market supports tablets–not until Gingerbread–Amazon will have an app.

    Unless a platform is just horrible to develop for–and they did suck it up for BlackBerry 5–Iexpect Amazon will be device-agnostic.