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Review: Amazon's Kindle App For iPhone

Amazon has introduced an iPhone and iPod Touch version of the software that powers its Kindle e-book reader. It's a fine app, with a great service behind it -- but it has a few rough edges.

Eager to try Amazon's e-books, but not willing to shell out $359 for a Kindle? Now there's an alternative: An e-book reader from Amazon that's completely free -- if you already own an iPhone or iPod Touch.

The Kindle store on isn't optimized for Mobile Safari.
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Amazon this week released free Kindle e-book software for the iPhone and Touch, allowing users to buy Amazon e-books and share them between Kindle hardware and iPhone. I've been using it for a few days now, and I have to say, I'm excited. I think it's great software, and I'm looking forward to spending a lot of money happy hours reading books on my iPhone.

The launch of the iPhone version of the Kindle software is part of Amazon's overall strategy to make its Kindle e-books available on multiple mobile devices. Availability on the iPhone gives Amazon access to a much, much bigger audience for is e-books; Apple has sold more than 17 million iPhones (that's not even counting the iPod Touch), compared with an estimated few hundred thousand Kindles, according to Fortune.

To use the Kindle app for the iPhone, download the software as you would any app from the iTunes App Store. (Store URL.) When you open the app, it will ask you for your Amazon login and password.

After a few seconds, the application displays a selection of Kindle e-books you've already bought from Amazon. I had five, which I purchased when trying out the Kindle for a few weeks in late 2007.

Hi-Res Text, Images

The reading experience on the iPhone is very good. The Kindle software uses the same elegant font on the iPhone that the hardware device uses. Turn pages by swiping with your thumb. Tap the bottom of the screen, and a tool overlay comes up that allows you to change the font size, access a chapter list, and see how much you've read and how far you have to go.

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