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Amazon Launches Kindle For BlackBerry

The retailer said user demand spurred them to develop the e-book reader software for BlackBerry smartphones.

Amazon on Thursday launched its Kindle application for the BlackBerry, making it possible for users of the smartphone to read digital books purchased from the online retailer and synchronize bookmarks with the Kindle electronic reader and other supported devices.

The Research In Motion smartphone joins Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch with a Kindle app, which is also available for Windows PCs. Amazon also plans to release applications for the Mac and Apple iPad, a tablet computer set to be released at the end of March.

E-books purchased from Amazon can be downloaded to the Kindle using its Whispersync wireless technology or to any other device with the Kindle application. E-books purchased on one device can also be accessed by other devices through Amazon.

In releasing Kindle applications, Amazon does not tie customers to its own e-reader or hamper the reseller from selling as many e-books as possible. Amazon said it chose to support the BlackBerry because of user demand.

"Since the launch of our popular Kindle for iPhone app last year, customers have been asking us to bring a similar experience to the BlackBerry, and we are thrilled to make it available today," Ian Freed, VP of Amazon Kindle, said in a statement.

Customers using BlackBerry devices on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and other U.S. carriers will be able to use the Kindle application. Amazon has 420,000 e-books available, including 102 of the 112 New York Times bestsellers. However, because Amazon uses proprietary copyright protection technology, the retailer has fewer than half the e-books available from competitors, such as Sony and Barnes & Noble, which support an open e-book standard in their e-readers, the Reader and Nook, respectively.

Nevertheless, the Kindle leads the e-reader market, with Sony's Reader a distant second. In releasing fourth-quarter financial results last month, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos said the retailer sells six books for the Kindle for every 10 physical books with the same titles. The total number of Kindle books downloaded would be higher, if Amazon counted free books.

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