Monday, February 9, 2009

Kindle 2: WhisperSync for Mobiles

Competition. Competition. Competition.

That's what I see when Kindle books from Amazon becomes available on mobile communication platforms other than Amazon's Kindle.

Gizmodo and Alley Insider have some details about Whispersync that didn't quite make a big splash in the live blogs. You can visit them to see if you gather anything from this. So far, from what I can tell, Amazon is looking to distribute as much Kindle material as possible.

Here's where I can kind of guess what is going on behind the scene. Amazon is likely negotiating with the different platforms and trying to figure out how to bring Kindle-like services to say the Blackberry, Android, and the iPhone. They'll likely have a better time of it with Windows Mobile. Maybe even Palm.

There are a few sticking points they have to work out first, which may explain why we didn't hear anything more today:
  • Wireless providers. If you read Onxo in the past, you'll know how I love these guys, you know, the folks who want to be our gatekeepers. Protect us from the big bad Web. They'll want a couple of bucks from Amazon for if they want use their networks. Of course, Amazon might just say "screw it" and go Wi-Fi for mobile devices.
  • Wireless platforms may be negotiating to get a piece of the pie too. Microsoft less likely so but, others, not sure yet. Apple might insist on it.
  • Kindle is more than just ebooks. It offers subscriptions. Audiobooks too. This is where negotiating with Apple is hellish. Apple offers audiobooks through iTunes. Granted that the iPods and iPhones are Audible-compatible, don't think Apple will just let Amazon stick a Kindle app in the app store. There'll probably be stipulations on what Amazon can or cannot sell through a Kindle app.
  • Android looks like a perfect fit for Amazon since its music store is already on the Android. I'm guess we'll see Kindle here first. Perhaps even on the Pre when it launches.
  • NYT is already free but its a paid subscription on the Kindle? How will Amazon reconcile this and other paid materials that are normally free?
Anyway, we'll know soon enough. But I'm still hopefully Amazon will get clever with Kindle ebook subscriptions like Audible.

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