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On e-Reader Tech News we track down the latest e-Reader news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great e-reader tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest devices and accessories.

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Windows 8 Kindle App Now Available

Wow, Amazon moved fast. Microsoft released it’s newest Windows OS, Windows 8, on Friday, and Amazon has already added a new Kindle app to go along with it.  It is currently available in the Kindle Store along with the other Kindle apps, including one for Windows 7.

Windows 8 features a new “metro” style operating system that is suitable for both tablet and PC use.  The traditional start button no longer exists.  The programs are displayed right on the screen and are called apps.  The design is geared towards touchscreens, but can be accessed with the keyboard and mouse.

Considering how much people don’t like change, it will be interesting to see how well this new OS fares in the market.  The 10″ inch Microsoft Surface tablet is one to watch as it enters the increasingly crowded tablet market.

Amazon says that the Windows 8 Kindle app is available on “any Windows 8 device.”  So I am assuming this means both the Surface Tablet and PC versions.

Kindle apps are available on for both PC and Mac, tablets such as the iPad and Android, and popular smartphones including the iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone 7.

These apps are quite handy.  Even if you don’t own a physical Kindle, you can still download these apps for free and purchase Kindle books.  You take your reading from your Kindle to other devices without losing your place or bookmarks.  It saves having to lug several devices around while you travel.  It is quite convenient to sneak a chapter or two on my phone during lunch breaks.

Te only drawback I’ve seen is te Kindle Owner’s Lending Library books.  I can’t download these books to any other devices besides my actual Kindle.  I guess that isn’t surprising since it intended for Kindle owners only.

Well, there is definitely no shortage of reading options.  It will be interesting to see how the competition heats up this holiday season.

Windows 8 Release Preview to Ship Today

Keep an eye on our Windows 8 Release Preview post for updates on download links and hands-on review.

Amazon Kindle Faces Big Trouble as Microsoft Backs Nook Line

Barnes & Noble has finally begun to spin off their Nook brand into its own subsidiary company and Microsoft has jumped at the opportunity to be a major part of that effort.  According to an announcement released jointly this Monday, the software giant will be investing $300 Million into the Nook business thereby acquiring 17.6% equity stake.  This could be bad news for Amazon’s Kindle line, which is already facing some of its toughest competition to date in the realm of eReading thanks to the new Nook Simple Touch w/ GlowLight.

Making things even more pleasant for B&N, this arrangement will also involve the settlement of Microsoft’s ongoing patent litigation the bookseller over certain aspects of the Nook’s design.  Microsoft will now be picking up royalties for all Nook products, but in the end this may result in significant savings compared to the cost of legal defense.  Whether or not that is the case, and admittedly I’m not a lawyer so it is purely speculative, this partnership will open up some major new opportunities for advancing the Nook.

In the immediate future we can expect a Nook app for Windows 8.  This will be an important development for both companies as Microsoft is betting big on the potential for tablets using their new OS while Barnes & Noble will need to be ready for the next major push in operating systems.  The nature of the Metro UI that Windows 8 (and its ARM compatible offshoot Windows RT) uses will actually create an even better reading experience than existing Windows reading apps if done right.

More long-term, Microsoft has already alluded to an interest in using Windows 8 to gain a foothold in the eReader market.  While this was mostly an offhanded remark at a recent event, and could therefore have been meant as a subtle emphasis on how adaptable their new operating system is, buying into as big a player in eReading as the Barnes & Noble Nook line is a fair indication that something more serious is going on.

In the face of this, Amazon has to be wondering what to do next with the Kindle line.  While the Kindle Fire is coming out on top of every other Android tablet on the market today, their Android fork might not quite compare to a properly configured Windows 8 installation powering the next Nook Tablet.  Nothing stops Amazon from following suit and licensing the new OS themselves, of course, but this would likely lose them the ability to completely control the user experience enjoyed under the existing system.  Microsoft will certainly allow locked-down version of their software to circulate, but fragmenting the Metro UI is not going to happen.

This might end up being the first step in a major Android vs Windows 8 fight.  The Kindle Fire holds the majority of non-iPad tablet users, but if a new Nook offered superior hardware and an operating system that shines when compared to Android without increasing the price significantly then the tables could turn.  Amazon still has their content distribution and the tight integration that gives them the edge, but the next Kindle Fire might need to be especially impressive to keep consumer interest going.

Kindle To See Competition From Windows 8 Readers

Say what you will about Windows 8 and the Metro style it introduces as a general computing option, it is amazing on a touch screen.  I’ve had a chance to play around with it more than a bit since the Consumer Preview build was released to the public a few weeks ago and after a short adjustment period I have had nearly no complaints.  There are obvious potential complications for the Kindle world, though since we can’t guess yet how inexpensive it will be possible for a full Windows 8 tablet to be, at best it is possible to make educated guesses about how portable device development changes in months to come.  What might surprise many people, though, is that just as Android has been used effectively to power E Ink reading devices like the Barnes & Noble Nook, Windows 8 has been mentioned as a possible operating system for future Kindle competitors.

The goal has always been to create a consistent experience between every device that runs a version of the operating system.  If you’re using Windows then it doesn’t matter if you’re on a tablet, a desktop, or a smartphone, because they will all function effectively the same way.  Traditionally Windows has been seen as far too slow and overly large to be considered a cost effective way to handle a dedicated eReader, but this may be changing.  Since Windows 8 emphasizes speed, efficiency, and power consumption, it may well work perfectly to bring that distinct touch-centric Metro style to the reading world.

This wouldn’t be bad news for the Kindle platform, of course.  While Microsoft Is developing their own in-house app store to compete with that of Apple, there is already a Kindle for PC app to play with.  It seems fairly safe to assume that since Microsoft will not be allowing highly customized or restricted copies of their software to be shipped (unlike with Google’s Android), the Kindle app will remain open to anybody using these new tablets and eReaders.

While we’re still a long way from anything certain, especially since the launch of Microsoft’s new operating system is expected no earlier than October, we do know that representatives of the company have hinted at an interest in joining the eReader market.  They don’t build the hardware, so it might be quite a while before anything affordable comes along to demonstrate the potential of the Windows 8 option, but if a barebones copy of the software can be had cheaply enough to match existing prices then it might really shake things up.

Right now the Kindle is dominating the reading world.  None of the Kindle eReaders make use of Android, but the Kindle Fire and any number of competing eReaders do.  Microsoft would have to set prices so low as to shock many people if they really wanted to hope to compete with established products, but that doesn’t mean they won’t do so.  They are butting up head to head with Apple and are clearly trying to establish a competing ecosystem.  I don’t see them teaming up with Amazon to offer a dedicated Kindle Store option as an official counter to iBooks, but it’s inevitable that something is brought up to match practically every facet of iOS.  The Kindle might well be caught in the crossfire.

Is Windows 8 Bad News For Kindle Tablet?

There are two major factors favoring the success of the Kindle Tablet right now, aside from being backed by Amazon and all that that entails.  One is that it will be cheaper than pretty much all of the tablet competition, especially the big names like Apple.  Two is that it should be able to provide a consistent, centralized experience practically unheard of in the Android Tablet market today.

Pricing is a key issue, of course.  It will be incredibly hard for most companies to compete with Amazon since their media sales emphasis will allow them to sell hardware at or below cost while confidently expecting to make up the profits in post-sale usage.  The only really usable tablet in the same range is the Nook Color, which is mostly only succeeding by being great compared to other extremely cheap tablets.  If Amazon can manage to provide a genuinely superior experience at the same price, they will stand alone with good reason.

We can’t rely entirely on pricing to determine success, though.  The Pandigital Novel can often be found for $80 or less, but that doesn’t mean it is knocking the Kindle down from their place on top of eReader sales (despite being a color eReader, which many people claim is more important than screen quality or interface).

The act of creating a consistent Android experience, however, might soon be less useful than we might expect, should Windows 8 live up to its promise.  Microsoft’s new tablet-centric operating system seems to have a good chance of focusing tablets around a single unfragmented environment that has no ties to a specific manufacturer.  They’ve got media play capabilities, the full versatility of a Windows OS, an apparently highly streamlined design, and even an App Store.  It can be hard to argue with all that.

The Kindle Tablet will clearly be running lower powered hardware than most Windows tablets can be expected to, and will have a more consumption-focused experience.  The problem they are facing is less direct market competition and more a conflict of perception.  If the idea is to lure in consumers with something that is like an iPad in every way that matters besides the price, it will only work so long as the iPad is what people are using as the basis for comparison.  A $350 Windows tablet with superior hardware and a comparable user experience might be enough to derail the whole effort no matter what kind of incentives Amazon is able to throw in to sweeten the pot.

In the end everything will rest on how the two launches go.  Amazon has earned a great deal of customer loyalty through the Kindle platform, which goes a long way toward jump starting the new product.  Microsoft, on the other hand, has left many potential customers and developers a bit put off with the extremely different direction their newest product has taken things.  A failure to impress on the part of either company will mean a lot for the competition.

Windows 8 runs Kindle

In case you were wondering where I was off to last week… I was on the BUILD conference watching Microsoft unveil Windows 8 developer preview.

Amazon Kindle App on Windows 8

Amazon Kindle App on Windows 8

One of the first things I did is install Kindle App and I’m happy to report that it runs nicely on Windows 8. Microsoft did a great job ensuring backward compatibility.

The screenshot was taken with the app I’ve just finished hacking together. So if you are into installing Window 8 to see what all of this is about, you can use this Window 8 Screenshot Share app to easily take screenshots and share them online with a few clicks (or taps of you finger if you have touch).