Kindle on Blackberry: A Review

I am a reader.  I want to be able to read whenever I have a chance.  And as much as I love my kindle, I do not bring it with me wherever I go.  It is not the right size.  It is too big to fit in my pocket.  I just do not bring a bag with me most of the time.  I am a guy, guys do not carry bags most of the time.  But I do bring my phone with me everywhere.  I recently switched from a windows mobile phone to a blackberry.  I installed the kindle app as soon as I got the blackberry.

Installation

Installation is easy, but last I checked Amazon had not submitted the app to the official Blackberry App store.  I am not sure why, but what this means is that you need to install via web link, not via the app store.  You can get the link one of two ways.  One way is to go to this link and give amazon your email address and they will email you a link and directions to install.  The easier way is to go to http://amazon.com/kindlebb on your blackberry browser.  That will give you a link to directly install the app on your kindle.  It is just like installing any other blackberry app.  You need to provide it with your amazon login info so you can start reading books linked to your account.  If you do not have a kindle, just use your regular amazon account info.

Features

The Kindle app is a fairly basic but well rounded app.  You can shop in the kindle store, read your books like on a kindle, annotate, bookmark and search.

Sync is probably the killer feature.  To work best you need to keep your wireless on your regular kindle on most of the time, or at least occasionally.  Your kindle syncs your book locations and your annotation file to Amazon servers.  Every time you open the blackberry app, it will pull down the sync info and the annotations file and you are right where you left off.  Because I am always reading a dozen books, I just leave my wireless off on my regular kindle and read a separate book on the blackberry.

Issues

Obviously the blackberry screen is a bit small.  But it is easy to scroll with either the space bar (my method) or the roller ball.  It is also a backlight screen and not eink.  So there is additional strain on your eyes.  And I keep the type smaller on the blackberry than I do on the kindle, but I do not read the blackberry at long stretches.  I read the blackberry when I am standing in line, waiting at a gas station, etc.  This is emergency reading, so it is better than not reading.

Amazon as platform

I think Amazon’s commitment to making its book readable on a variety of devices, not just their own kindle, shows the health of the platform.  Right now you can read on Windows or Mac computers, iphone, or blackberry.  Clients for android and windows mobile are likely to come before the end of the year.  But if your kindle dies and you do not want to keep buy another one, you still have access to your books.  I know a few people that have not liked their kindle for one reason or another and have made their iphone their reader of choice.  (Iphone would make a better alternative reader than blackberry, more screen space.)

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