Kindle Vs Kindle for PC Vs Kindle for iPhone

Kindle Vs Kindle for PC Vs Kindle for iPhone becomes a really interesting choice if you’re not sure you want to spend $259 on a dedicated eReader like Kindle 2.

Here’s a video contrasting the three options -

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each -

Where does the Kindle shine?

The Kindle does great at reading – exactly what you’d expect in an eReader. It also has a lot of benefits that the PC and iPhone offerings don’t i.e. Read To Me, Free Internet Access, etc.

Kindle – Pros

  1. The Screen is great for reading and works in all lighting conditions.
  2. The Screen does not hurt your eyes.
  3. There are zero distractions.
  4. In-built dictionary and Search.
  5. Free Wikipedia access and Free Internet access for reference.
  6. Good sized screen i.e. 6″.

Kindle – Cons

  1. You have to buy a Kindle for $259.
  2. No Color.
  3. No Touch.
  4. Not as compact as an iPhone.
  5. Screen isn’t as big as a laptop or PC.

Please check my Kindle 2 Review if you’re thinking of getting a Kindle.

Where does Kindle for PC shine?

Kindle for PC lets you read all your Kindle Books (or any book in the Kindle Store) on any PC, anywhere in the world.

Kindle for PC – Pros

  1. Very, very simple and easy to use.
  2. It’s free.
  3. Color (and on Windows 7 multi-touch).
  4. Lots of font sizes and lots of options for number of words per line.
  5. Works on almost every netbook and PC (Kindle for Mac is slated for release in a few months).
  6. Works on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.
  7. Windows 7 optimized i.e. multi-touch etc.
  8. Screen is as big as your monitor.
  9. Lets you shop the Kindle Store and buy books. Though the ‘Shop in Kindle Store’ button doesn’t seem to be working for me.

Kindle for PC – Cons

  1. Portability is limited to portability of your PC (none) or Laptop (good) or Netbook (much better than a PC).
  2. The Screen hurts your eyes – although if you disagree feel free to leave a comment.
  3. For the moment you can’t add notes and highlights.
  4. No Text To Speech.
  5. It’s more of an add-on than an independent offering.

Check my detailed review of Kindle for PC if you want more details.

Kindle for iPhone

Kindle for iPhone recently added support for notes and highlights and made it a better product.

Kindle for iPhone – Pros

  1. You have your phone with you nearly all the time.
  2. Fits in your pocket.
  3. Free.
  4. Color and Multi-touch.
  5. Bright LCD screen for reading without light at night.
  6. Sepia theme/color setting is great.
  7. 5 Font Sizes and 3 text color settings.

Kindle for iPhone – Cons

  1. Doesn’t work well in bright light (sunshine).
  2. Screen is too small.  
  3. Screen hurts your eyes – again, leave your comments if you feel compelled to disagree.
  4. Lots of distractions.
  5. Battery life doesn’t compare with the Kindle.  

Check my iPhone Reading App Reviews for more on iPhone reading.

The big takeaway after contrasting the three is -

Amazon is creating Kindle for PC and Kindle for iPhone as Starting Points (Add-On Services for Owners)

Amazon is making it a point to make the Kindle the focal point and create Kindle for PC and Kindle for iPhone as starting points from which you can graduate to buying a Kindle.

For Kindle owners, they become valuable add-ons. Think of the features -

  • The ability to sync your book location across the devices.
  • The ability to make notes and highlights on the Kindle and the iPhone (and soon on the PC).
  • Access notes and bookmarks across devices.
  • Buy books and access your books from all three.

These features combine to create a very compelling overall offering.

How do Kindle for PC and Kindle for iPhone rate as independent products?

By themselves, both Kindle for PC and Kindle for iPhone are starting points – they are good enough for reading. As you begin to read more you’ll probably want a Kindle.

There are going to be people who curse me for writing that a PC or an iPhone can not be as good for reading as a Kindle.

However, ‘good enough’ is not the same as ‘great’.

  1. Reading on the Kindle is 8.5 stars (8.75 stars if you’re generous).
  2. Reading using Kindle for iPhone is 7 stars – Amazon intentionally leave a few features out to not make it too good. There are other apps that hit 7.5 despite the eye-strain and small screen size.
  3. Reading using Kindle for PC is perhaps 7 to 7.5 – haven’t done enough of it to say for sure. Again, you get the feeling Amazon left out some features to ensure it’s a stepping stone to the Kindle and not a substitute.

If you love to read and can afford it, get a Kindle. If $259 is out of your reach, get Kindle for PC or Kindle for iPhone.

Where does that leave us?

  1. Well, lots of people will download and read on one or both of Kindle for PC and Kindle for iPhone.
  2. Some of them, especially the ones who read a lot, will end up deciding to buy a Kindle.
  3. The books they’ve bought already and the use of a Kindle offering ties them to Amazon.
  4. Even people who don’t buy a Kindle will associate ‘Kindle’ with ebooks and reading.

Kindle for PC and Kindle for iPhone are great for Amazon

Amazon is already doing great with eReaders.  

  • If the skeptics are right and eReaders disappear then Amazon still owns the main reading channels and can sell ebooks.
  • If the skeptics are wrong, then Amazon owns the main channel i.e. eReaders and also owns the other important channels (PCs, netbooks, iPhones).

Barnes and Noble have become a real threat to Amazon (something Sony never was). Kindle for PC is a necessary measure – expect a few more Kindle features and improvements before Christmas.

As far as Kindle Vs Kindle for PC Vs Kindle for iPhone – all of them are simple to use and great products. The range of books in the Kindle Store and the low prices make each a compelling option.

If you read a book a week (or more), the Kindle is worth the $259. If you read just one book a month, get Kindle for PC and Kindle for iPhone and enjoy the Kindle store.

11 Responses

  1. The biggest thing I think Amazon needs to address is the 6-device limit per book. Between my wife and I we have three computers alone at home. Add my work PC, plus our two Kindles and I’ve already hit the 6 device limit. We each also have an iPhone. So, with just two people on an Amazon Kindle account, we’ve exceeded our Kindle content device limit without really even trying.

    • Someone fell free to jump in here and tell me what I’m about to say is wrong but I do believe that the Kindle is intended to be a ‘single user’ device not a ‘one-per-family’ solution. With that in mind, a six-device limit seems quite reasonable and since you and your wife both have a kindle that means you actually have a 12 device limit in your household already. Now, if the real reason you want to share one account is so you can both read the same book without buying it twice, I can support that line of thinking – after all, if I buy a book in the traditional printed/paper format, I can share that with my friends until the cows come home. It should be the same for the Kindle and once purchased, we should have the ability to loan our books to others.

      • If I buy a physical book and put it on my bookshelf, anyone in my family can read it. I treat my Kindle book the same way. My wife and I have our Kindles on the same account for that reason.

  2. I downloaded it yesterday and gave it a try. It does have a lot of work to go, but I like the idea and I hope to see a lot of improvements in the future. But it’ll be nice to throw some free books into it as well as some things from around the web.

  3. why cant we read newspapers and magazines on the kindle for iphone app. Im a dx owner who loves it – but they need to keep pace

  4. Will the Kindle be made available for Macs soon? I have a PC desktop, but my laptop is a Mac and it would be great to have the capability to read my Kindle books on my laptop in case I don’t have a light source when I travel, etc.

  5. Using the Kindle for PC does hurt your eyes, but I’ve found that altering the settings makes a big difference.

    Turn the background to black with white text.
    Drop the brightness down a little if you want to white becomes light grey.
    Up the font size a couple of notches
    Increase the words per line settings

    Makes for much more comfortable reading.

  6. I can get a free iPhone and want to so I can access Kindle’s read aloud feature as I work with students who have reading disabilities. Does the iPhone version have the read aloud feature? If not, is it possible to download books on Kindle iPhone and have another iPhone app read the Kindle books to me… another app such as Read to Me or Text to Speech? Thanks!

    • Not really.

      iPhone has its own accessibility feature but it’s not as usable. It’s called Voice Over. you can search for videos for ‘iphone voice over’ to see what it’s like.

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