Amazon Releases iPhone Kindle 1.1

Amazon's free iPhone Kindle application has received an update with several improvements to make the app more user-friendly. Many of the features were expected by users in the first release, as they are typical to many iPhone apps.

Here are the changes:

Users can read in portrait or landscape mode.
Gesture (pinch) to zoom images in books.
Select alternate background and text colors to improve reading comfort in low light conditions.
Tap on either side of the screen or flick to turn pages.

As with the Kindle reading device, users can still change text size, highlight passages, and bookmark pages on the iPhone. Annotations to text can't be made on the iPhone, however previous notes made on a Kindle device are viewable on the Kindle iPhone app.

Whispersync is a feature of the iPhone Kindle application that automatically syncs your last read position with your Amazon account and your Kindle device, should you have one.

The iPhone app accesses all of the titles you've purchased through Amazon's website or with your Kindle device. 285,000 titles are available, and $9.99 will deliver you a New York Times bestseller immediately. For $1.25 a month you can get the current issue of the Atlantic (sans pictures) delivered automatically as soon as the new issue hits newsstands.

Kindle also allows the user to read the first chapter of a book for free before purchasing the text.

The improvements in iPhone Kindle 1.1 make the reader even more usable and may give Amazon the edge as eBook readers become more popular.

Amazon recently acquired Lexcycle, the company that developed the free iPhone eBook reader Stanza. The software is widely seen as a rival to Amazon's own Kindle application. Stanza provides free access to over 100,000 books in ePub format, which Amazon's Kindle does not support.

Google has also recently announced a mobile-optimized Book Search on the web, offering access to 1.5 million books.