Amazon Kindle: Lite Version Wanted

Oct 31, 2016
Books
kindle

Ebook reader device sales were exploding in the beginning of this decade, and so was the proliferation of ebook apps. You might be thinking – so what? What does that have to do with traditional print publishing and your cherished bound paper books? Here’s what – from an author’s perspective, self-publishing now makes much more economic sense than it used to. This means some exciting new authors will publish only in ebook format, and even authors you know and love will publish some books only in digital form. For you to read these digital-only books, you’ll need either an e-reader device or an e-reader app like Amazon’s powerful Kindle for Android.

When I first met Amazon Kindle, cheap tablets just hit the markets. My old device, which was a no-name, early Android one, could not read the most popular e-book formats with its pre-installed apps, and, being afraid of viruses, I downloaded the most popular Android app from the PlayStore. I was quite satisfied, and, since then, I always download Amazon Kindle app to my devices. However, “downloading” does not mean that I actually use it.

I have to admit at the beginning, that I am really keen on this application, since it is easy-to-use and handy. It is extremely good in displaying and recognizing special characters – it is a good feature when your mother tongue is not a traditional Latin one.

Amazon Kindle is one of the best Android applications when it comes to reading e-books. It provides a very easy way to browse the books and documents which were downloaded to the device, it enables the users to order new books from the Amazon store, which is a very good feature, since there are always special offers, which means, you might get publications for free.

You’re able to access new releases, titles on the New York Times Best Sellers list and tons of literary classics through the app. A lot of these will cost you some money, but there are also a number of free ones. When you open up an eBook through Kindle, you’ll find that it’s easy to read as a page that’s printed on paper. In case the glowing screen is rough on your eyes, users have the option to increase the font size and change background settings.

Searching is fast and easy. You can search by voice or by typing on the digital keypad. Highlighting works seamlessly, and you can annotate highlights with your own text notes. It’s also great to be able to leverage the encyclopedia-level depth of Wikipedia and the dictionary resource of Dictionary.com. Orientation lock is helpful when you’re reading in a car, bus or train, where you might accidentally shift the phone position.

Surprisingly, Kindle is quite good in displaying .pdf files  – even though the original Kindle e-book readers are traditionally clumsy in viewing them in a readable format. The application provides a plenty of opportunities to edit or mark the documents – and this, together with the .pdf function gives a godsend to those who are preparing for the exams.

As I have already mentioned, I like using and trying out cheap Android devices, since I think those are the “technology of people” and they provide extremely opportunities to see the boundaries of software running on weak hardware. And Android Kindle does not pass the “Cheap Device” exam.

I was able to download the Android app to any devices which gone through my hand. Some of them were phones, some of them were tablets, and once I tried a cheap Concorde Phablet too. Many of my the phones I used came with the application already installed, but there were no devices in my hands which could not host and run it – at least for a while. This is one thing for which I extremely respect the creators. No matter what, at least it starts.

However, if you have an old or cheap device, according to my experience, you will certainly experience some errors. For example, my poor and clumsy Concord phone absolutely fails to sync this app whit my fancy Asus Tablet. The Humble, little Galaxy Phone simply loses the books from the app (but it never happened to any books which I purchased directly through it), while the MyAudio device which I use in the kitchen crashes after 30 minute and requires a restart to get Kindle work again. (Causing me panicking when I want to read my cookery book.)

Of course, it works perfectly on my high quality gadgets, with some limitations. I have already experienced some crashes on my Samsung J5, and sometimes it simply fails to sync my library with the different device, even if I completely sign out on all the cheap and weak ones and use only the “exclusive” ones. This is a bit disappointing, since some of the less-fancy readers managed to solve this problem easily (but I still have to mention that they lacked the possibility to order books from the store.

All in all, if I have to summarize my opinion about the device I’d say: respectable. It has a cool design, a nice interface, a strong ability to visualize things perfectly. Its only problem is that it is too big for cheap devices, but I think a “Lite” or basic version would solve this problem. If this would be solved, I would use it on all my phones, doubtlessly.

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Eniko Toth

Freelance techblogger, hobby runner and phone addict. A low-cost geek with special interest in social media, wearables and lifestyle apps.

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