Amazon just let us know that their Kindle Cloud Reader is now live, and lets you read any of their over 950,000 Kindle books right in Safari on iPad, Mac, or Windows, or Chrome on Windows, Mac, or Linux, without needing the Kindle app or hardware.
While there's no iPhone or iPod touch (it tells you your browser isn't supported and you should download Safari or Chrome, though hopefully a better intercept screen is in the works), it's a full HTML5 web app and includes offline storage. I've tried it out on iPad and it works quickly and cleanly. The Kindle Store is built in, so there's no jarring transition to the Amazon.com version of the store, and all the menus and options work really well. Likewise, the text is just a legible as it is in the app, and the WhisperSync works perfectly. Hopefully it keeps up that level of performance when personal libraries get really big.
With the controversy that arose in the wake of Apple's App Store subscription service, and the requirements to match pricing (since dropped) and remove links to external stores (still in effect), it felt like only a matter of time before Amazon would go this route. It will be interesting to see how many others follow.
Details and screen shots after the break. Anyone going to stop using the app and switch to the web app?
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.