Nick Page

The kPad?

‘Is Amazon building a superkindle?’ The New York Times reckons Amazon has bought up a small touch-screen company and will build a ‘Superkindle’ – a rival version of the iPad, with built in applications.

Well, they’re bound to launch a colour reader. But as to adding applications, I doubt Amazon could rival the iPad for that. Amazon is very good at selling books, but rivalling Apple at software and hardware looks like a step way beyond them.

And the real issue around eBooks remains the format. Apples choice of the ePub format is canny, since it’s not a proprietary format, unlike Amazon’s AZW format on the Kindle. (We’re back into Betamax versus VHS.) There is a hint of monoply about Amazon, with the AZW format books only available at their website. The iPod is the dominant mp3 player – but you can add mp3s from anywhere. It’s easy to buy them from Apple, but it’s not obligatory. That alone would make me think twice about buying a kindle.