Continuing its effort to expand the e-book business beyond its own hardware, Amazon.com on Thursday released a Kindle application for BlackBerry phones.
Amazon got its start as an online book seller, expanded to electronics and other retail categories, then returned to its roots with its own Kindle reader devices. More recently, though, it expanded with Kindle applications that let people read books on the iPhone and iPod Touch and on Windows computers. After purchasing rights to read a book, a customer may read it on any of those devices.
That device list now includes BlackBerry phones, and according to Amazon, soon also will include Apple's Macs and iPads. Amazon didn't mention Android phone support in the announcement.
"Since the launch of our popular Kindle for iPhone app last year, customers have been asking us to bring a similar experience to the BlackBerry, and we are thrilled to make it available today," said Ian Freed, Amazon's vice president for Kindle work.
The electronic book market is burgeoning after years of obscurity, catalyzed in part by the Kindle. However, Kindle doesn't have the market to itself anymore, with dedicated e-book readers arriving from Barnes & Noble and others and with Apple's forthcoming iPad sporting e-book reading as only one of several abilities.
The BlackBerry devices compatible with the Amazon application are the Bold 9000 and 9700, the Curve 8520 and 8900, the Storm 9530 and 9550, and the Tour 9630, according to the Amazon's Kindle for BlackBerry site.
The free application lets people browse Amazon's catalog, read a book's beginning before purchasing, bookmark locations in books, synchronize the reading location among different devices, and read books in full color. Although books can be annotated on Kindle devices and with the iPhone and iPod Touch application, the BlackBerry application doesn't permit new annotations.