Amazon's newly launched Kindle Cloud Reader is an HTML5 app that runs on the Chrome and Safari browsers. It's optimized for the iPad and lets you buy books from the Kindle store.
The Kindle Cloud Reader appears only a fortnight after Amazon removed the "buy books" links from its iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch Kindle apps in order to avoid paying Apple the 30% levy on purchases made via the apps so the fact that it runs under Safari is no coincidence. It is interesting to wonder what it is in Chrome and Safari that make it difficult to create the app for Firefox and IE9. After all they are all supposed to be HTML5 compatible.
Is this the Kindle Web App that was "launched" in beta last September? Clearly not as that could be used via Firefox and Cloud Reader is currently restricted to Chrome (suitable for Android tablets and for Windows, Linux, Mac and Chromebook) and Safari (which covers iOS4, Mac and PC).
It enables users to read titles in their Kindle library online or to download them to read offline and has most of the functionality of the Kindle and the Kindle apps - apart from the ability to make notes or add highlighting.
The book-reading interface differs from the Kindle and device-based Kindle apps in that the default view keeps all of the controls hidden on the screen until you tap the screen to bring them up. Options for book navigation, font size/page color, and bookmarks/highlights can be found across the top of the screen while your progress bar remains at the bottom.
Buying new titles is also a seamless experience with one-click access to the Kindle Store.
So as we speculated last month the reaction to Apple's in-app subscription rules are starting to have a negative impact on Apple itself. It also demonstrated that you can replace an App by an HTML5 App and, at least in this case, obtain a similar functionality.
Apple's new rules come into effect - the fallout
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