updated 08:40 am EDT, Wed August 10, 2011
Kindle Cloud Reader carries offline support
Amazon has quietly provided an end-run around Apple's App Store rules. Kindle Cloud Reader brings a touch-friendly reading app that provides all the settings, highlights, bookmarks and other features of native apps in a device-independent form. The page takes advantage of HTML5 to work entirely offline and thus can keep going even during a flight or another moment where no Internet connection exists.
Any current book is automatically cached for offline, but readers can download specific titles in the browser. Chrome and Chrome OS users can pin it as an app. Anyone can sync their most recent place in a book when the app is online.
The Cloud Reader brings book shopping back to iPad owners and has a new, touch-optimized store instead of simply pushing readers to the regular web page.
Initial access to the web version works on any modern mobile or desktop version of Safari as well as Chrome and Chrome OS. Other browsers, such as the BlackBerry PlayBook browser, Firefox, and Internet Explorer 9 will be available in the months ahead. Support depends on the browser recognizing HTML5 offline content.
Amazon along with other competitors had to remove its web store link from its native iPad app in late July after Apple began enforcing its policy on in-app content against major developers. Apple has argued that it would only be "fair" for purchases in the apps themselves to go through iTunes, but the move has made certain store business models unfeasible. Companies like Amazon and Kobo would likely have to sell books at a loss or else raise their prices to accommodate Apple's 30 percent cut, giving Apple an inherent competitive advantage with its own store.