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A catalog of Android reading apps

A catalog of Android reading apps

Everyday more and more folks are getting Android based phones and tablets. For readers these devices can be a great way to read both on the go and in a more relaxed setting. The problem comes when looking for reading apps. There are so many out there and searching the Android Market often dosn’t give great results unless you already know the apps name (which doesn’t help if you’re browsing).

This is my attempt to catalog the multitude of reading apps available for the Android platform (and there are a lot more than I ever thought there were). I’ve tried to include a listing for every app available along with basic information such as the formats it supports and its system requirements. Hopefully this will give users looking for apps an easy way to see what’s out there since searching the Android Market can give mixed results.

This is just a catalog so there are no reviews, but I have done reviews of some apps that you can find here, here, and here. While all of the links go to the apps listing on the Android Market (where you can read about features and user reviews) many of these apps can be found at third party markets or direct from the developers website. If you don’t have the Android market and need info on sideloading and third party markets, I wrote about that here.

First up we have the apps which are primarily for use with a specific store, however some of these apps allow sideloading which can greatly expand on their usefulness. I myself find that I use the Kindle app more than any of the others, but occasionally do use the Kobo app as I have a lot of books on my “shelf” there as well.

Bookseller Reading Apps


Kindle

Formats:
azw, topaz (azw1), drm free mobi

Requires Android:
Varies with Device

Price:
Free


Nook

Formats:
B&N ePub, drm free ePub

Requires Android:
2.1 or higher

Price:
Free


Kobo

Formats:
Kobo kePub, drm free ePub

Requires Android:
1.6 or higher

Price:
Free


Google Books

Formats:
ePubs and PDFs purchased from Google eBook store

Requires Android:
Varies with Device

Price:
Free


Sony Reader

Formats:
ePubs purchased from Sony eBook stores
 

Requires Android:
Varies with Device

Price:
Free


eReader (beta)

Formats:
eReader PDBs
 
 

Requires Android:
Android 1.0 or higher

Price:
Free


Other bookseller apps

Ebook Reader: Supports books purchased from ebooks.com; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

Borders Australia: Supports books purchased from borders.com.au; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

Angus & Robertson: Supports books purchased from angusrobertson.com.au; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

Whitcoulls: Supports books purchased from whitcoulls.co.nz; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

Dymocks: Supports books purchased from dymocks.com.au; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free

Inktera: Supports books purchased from inktera.com; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

Blio: Supports books purchased from the Blio store also imports DRM free ePubs; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

Book Place: Supports books purchased from toshibabookplace.com also imports DRM free ePubs (this is the Blio app re-skinned); Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

Go Spoken: Supports books purchased from gospoken.com; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

DNL eBook Reader: Supports DNL DRM’d books purchased from ebook.com and drm free ePub; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free
 

Non-English language eBook store apps

Numilog: Supports books purchased from numilog.com (a French eBook store); Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

BooksV: Supports books purchased from booksv.fmworld.net (a Japanese eBook Store); Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

E-books by greekbooks: Supports books purchased from greekbooks.gr (Greek eBook store) also ePubs & PDFs both DRM free and with Adobe DRM; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

My eBooks: Supports books purchased from myebooks.gr (Greek eBook store) also ePubs & PDFs both DRM free and with Adobe DRM; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

Tradebit eBook Reader: Supports books purchased from tradebit.com also ePubs & PDFs both DRM free and with Adobe DRM; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

Libri.de eBookS Reader: Supports books purchased from libri.de (German eBook store) also ePubs & PDFs both DRM free and with Adobe DRM & txt; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

OYO eReader: Supports books purchased from thalia.de (German eBook store); Requires Android 2.0 or higher; Cost Free

Weltbild.de eBooks: Supports books purchased from weltbild.de (German eBook store); Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

Weltbild.ch eBooks: Supports books purchased from weltbild.ch (Swiss eBook store); Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

Weltbild.at eBooks: Supports books purchased from weltbild.at (Austrian eBook store); Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

textunes eBooks: Supports books purchased from textunes.de (German eBook store); Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

PagePlace eBooks: Supports books purchased from pageplace.de (German eBook store); Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

Carturesti Reader: Supports books purchased from librarie.carturesti.ro (Romanian eBook store) also ePubs & PDFs both DRM free and with Adobe DRM; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

Metaixmio: Supports books purchased from ebooks.metaixmio.gr (Greek eBook store) also ePubs & PDFs both DRM free and with Adobe DRM; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

eLibris: Supports books purchased from ebooks.metaixmio.gr (Finish eBook store) also ePubs & PDFs both DRM free and with Adobe DRM; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

Libroteca: Supports books purchased from libhumanitas.ro (Romanian eBook store) also ePubs & PDFs both DRM free and with Adobe DRM; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

Tavasli Reader: Supports books purchased from tavasliyayinlari.com (Turkish eBook store) also ePubs & PDFs both DRM free and with Adobe DRM; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

Biblio.bg Reader: Supports books purchased from biblio.bg (Bulgarian eBook store) also ePubs & PDFs both DRM free and with Adobe DRM; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

Evripidis Reader: Supports books purchased from evripidis.gr (Greek eBook store); Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

TD Bookstore: Supports books purchased from tritiumdigital.com (Singapore eBook store) also ePubs & PDFs both DRM free and with Adobe DRM, Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

DLivre: Supports books purchased from dlivre.com (Belgian eBook store) also ePubs & PDFs both DRM free and with Adobe DRM; Requires Android 2.2 or highe; Cost Free

CLB eBooks: Supports books purchased from clb.ro (Romanian eBook store) also ePubs & PDFs both DRM free and with Adobe DRM; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

Digibooks4All: Supports books purchased from various bookstores also ePubs & PDFs both DRM free and with Adobe DRM; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

HyRead eBook: Supports books purchased from ebook.hyread.com.tw (Tiwanese eBook store); Requires Android 2.0 or higher; Cost Free

iPubu: Supports books purchased from pubu.com.tw (Tiwanese eBook store); Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

Handheld Culture: Supports books purchased from handheldculture.com (Chinese eBook store); Requires Android 2.0 or higher; Cost Free

UPaper: Supports books purchased from upaper.net, ePub (Chinese eBook store); Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

MuchMarts eBook/app market: Supports books and apps purchased from MuchMarts (Chinese eBook store); Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

Nexto Reader: Supports books and audiobooks purchased through the app (Polish eBook store); Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

E-Booki T-Mobile: Supports books purchased at ebooki.t-mobile.pl (Polish eBook store); Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

Saraiva Digital Reader: Supports books purchased at livrariasaraiva.com.br (Brazilian eBook store), ePub and PDF with or without DRM; Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

Naver Books: Supports books purchased at books.naver.com (Korean eBook store); Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

Mekia: Supports books purchased at mekia.net (Korean eBook store); Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

Ridi Books: Supports books purchased at ridibooks.com (Korean eBook store); Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

Bookcube: Supports books purchased at bookcube.com (Korean eBook store); Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free



Next up are general purpose reading apps. These apps support various formats and some support DRM’d content, but they aren’t primarily tied to any give store (some do have catalogs/links to various stores such as Aldiko’s link to All Romance eBooks catalog). I’ve used a fair number of the more popular apps and have settled on Mantano as my go to app. Other apps I’ve liked for various reasons include Aldiko, BlueFire, Moon+ and Cool Reader.

General Purpose Reading Apps


Mantano

Formats:
Adobe DRM ePub, B&N DRM ePub, drm free ePub, Adobe DRM PDF, drm free PDF

Requires Android:
2.1 or higher

Price:
Free/$7.49


Aldiko

Formats:
Adobe DRM ePub, B&N DRM ePub, drm free ePub, Adobe DRM PDF, drm free PDF

Requires Android:
2.1 or higher

Price:
Free/$2.99


Bluefire Reader

Formats:
Adobe DRM ePub, B&N DRM ePub, drm free ePub, Adobe DRM PDF, drm free PDF

Requires Android:
2.2 or higher

Price:
Free


Moon+ Reader

Formats:
ePub, html, fb2, txt, umd, zip and chm
 

Requires Android:
1.6 or higher

Price:
Free/$4.99


FBReader

Formats:
epub, oeb and fb2(.zip)
 
 

Requires Android:
Varies with Devices

Price:
Free


Cool Reader

Formats:
ePub, fb2, doc, txt, rtf, html, chm, tcr, pdb, prc, mobi, pml

Requires Android:
1.5 or higher

Price:
Free/Donations


OverDrive

Formats:
Adobe DRM ePub from OverDrive sources

Requires Android:
1.5 or higher

Price:
Free


Wordoholic

Formats:
epub, fb2 & txt
 

Requires Android:
1.5 or higher

Price:
Free


iReader

Formats:
txt, chm, pdb (eReader & Mobi), UMD, HTML

Requires Android:
1.6 or higher

Price:
Free


Other general reading apps

txtr ebooks: Supports Adobe DRM ePub (uploaded through txtr website), drm free ePub, Adobe DRM PDF, drm free PDF; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

DL Reader: Supports ePub & PDF (drm free, Adobe DRM, B&N DRM); Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

SE-ED Reader: Supports ePub & PDF (drm free, Adobe DRM, B&N DRM); Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

AReader: Supports ePub, PDF, txt; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

DuoKan: Supports ePub, txt; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

Nomad Reader: Supports ePub, fb2; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free

iSilo: Supports iSilo, Palm Doc, and plain text files; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost $19.99

Booqua: Supports fb2; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

LDS Reveal Reader: Supports ybk (YanceyWare), oeb; Requires, Varies by Device; Cost Free

Palm Book Reader: Supports pdb (palmdoc, no iSilo or eReader), txt; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free

Android txt eBook Reader: Supports txt; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free

Android chm eBook Reader: Supports chm; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free

HyReader: Supports ePub, txt, chm, umd, html; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost $0.99

eBook Reader (by SpicySquid): Supports prc, epub, oeb and fb2(.zip) [based on FBReader]; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free

eBook Reader (by S4BB): Supports S4BB format; Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

Speak Text Easy: Supports ePub and PDF; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost $1.45

Captionary eBook Viewer: Supports ePub, txt ,zip, pdf; Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

ePub Reader for Android: Supports ePub; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

Himawari: Supports ePub; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free/$1.56

Wattpad: Supports stories from wattpad.com; Requires Android 1.1 or higher; Cost Free

Nightbook: Supports txt; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free/$1.50

Multireader: Supports PDF, ePub, txt, Word, RTF , Power Point; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost $4.82

Foliant (beta): Supports ePub, txt, fb2; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

Legimi: Supports ePub & PDF uploaded to Legimi cloud; Requires, Varies by Device; Cost Free

GeckoReader Lite/Paid: Supports txt; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free/$1.59

Chaek: Supports ePub, txt, html; Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

PDB Book Reader: Supports pdb, txt; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

Fanfiction Reader: Supports, for reading material from fanfiction.net; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free/$2.96

Fiction Press Reader: Supports, for reading material from fictionpress.com; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

Compact Reader: Supports txt; Requires Android 1.0 or higher; Cost Free

aReader: Supports pdb (palmdoc); Requires Android 1.1 or higher; Cost Free

ZXReader: Supports docx, fb2, ePub, txt; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

EBookDroid: Supports PDF, djvu, xps, cbz/cbr, fb2; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free

GO Book: Supports ePub, txt, umd, PDF, fb2; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free

epubReader: Supports ePub, txt, mobi; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

Bookfm: Supports doc, docx, pdf, txt, ppt by converting to ePub when you upload to bookfm.com; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free

Book Troupe: Supports ePub read from your DropBox or Box account; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free



General reading apps for non-Latin/Asain text (many supporting both horizontal & vertical modes) [some apps above also support non-Latin text]

KingReader: Supports ePub, txt, html; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

SnowLamp Reader (Korean): Supports ePub; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free

cBook (Chinese only): Supports pdb and updb files from www.haodoo.net; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

Tulip Reader: Supports pdb (Haodoo, PalmDoc, zTXT Mode 1), txt, umd; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free

CuckooReader: Supports ePub, chm, txt, umd; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

AlmorBook: Supports unsure, but does support haodoo.net; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

SmartBooks: Supports ePub; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

qqReader: Supports txt, umd, pdf, chm; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free

BestReader: Supports txt, umd, html, chm; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free

TxtReader: Supports txt; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free

GobyReader: Supports pdb/updb; Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

Vertxt Reader: Supports txt (UTF-8, UTF16, Big5, EUC_JP, EUC_KR, GBK, and SJIS); Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free

Apabi Reader: Supports cebx, txt; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free


Now we come to dedicated PDF readers. I find that I no longer use a dedicated PDF reader as Mantano does a good job with them, but in the past I’ve been quite happy with ezPDF and Adobe Reader.

Dedicated PDF Viewers


ezPDF Reader

Formats:
PDF

Requires Android:
2.1 and up

Price:
$0.99/$2.99


RepliGo Reader

Formats:
PDF

Requires Android:
2.0 or higher

Price:
$4.99


Adobe Reader

Formats:
PDF

Requires Android:
2.2 or higher

Price:
Free


Other dedicated PDF viewers

Foxit Mobile PDF: Supports PDF; Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost $2.99

BeamReader PDF Viewer: Supports PDF; Requires Android 1.1 or higher; Cost 10 day trial/$4.99

qPDF Viewer: Supports PDF; Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

MobilePDF Viewer: Supports PDF; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free

ODGPdf Viewer: Supports PDF; Requires Android 2.2 or higher; Cost Free

APV PDF Viewer: Supports PDF; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free

Android PDF Viewer: Supports PDF; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free

PDF GView: Supports PDF; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free

Ebooka PDF Viewer: Supports PDF; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free


Last up are apps designed primarily for viewing Comics and Manga. I’ll admit my experience here isn’t as in depth as with other reading apps, but I’ve been happy with Droid Comic Viewer, Comics by ComiXology and the Marvel app in the past with very limited use.

Comic/Manga viewing apps


Droid Comic Viewer

Formats:
cbz/zip, crb/rar, jpeg, png, bmp

Requires Android:
1.5 and up

Price:
Free


Comics

Formats:
Comics purchased from comiXology

Requires Android:
2.1 or higher

Price:
Free


Perfect Viewer

Formats:
cbz/zip, cbr/rar, 7Z/cb7, lzh, PDF (with plugin)

Requires Android:
1.6 or higher

Price:
Free


Other Comic/Manga viewing apps

Comic Reader Mobi: Supports rar, zip, cbr, cbz; Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost $14.99

ComicRack: Supports cbr, cbz, (CB7, CBT, PDF, DJVU and WebComics via conversion with Windows app); Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free/$6.89

Marvel Comics: Supports comics purchased from Marvel; Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

DC Comics: Supports comics purchased from DC; Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

Dark Horse Comics: Supports comics purchased from Dark Horse; Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

Graphicly Comics: Supports buy and read comics from publishers such as Image, IDW, and Archie; Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

AveComics: Supports comics purchased from AveComics; Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

e-book/Manga reader: Supports manga (& eBooks) from eBookJapan; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

jjComics Viewer: Supports cbr, cbz, rar,zip, jpg, gif, png, bmp; Requires Android 2.0 or higher; Cost Free

Komik Reader: Supports cbr, cbz; Requires Android 3.0 or higher; Cost Free

Comic Reader: Supports, read 347 of the most famous comics including Dilbert, Xkcd, Abstruse Goose, Geek and Poke, Calvin and Hobbes, PhD Comics, Pickles, Garfield, Spiked Math and many more; Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

Manga Watcher: Supports manga from a bunch of manga websites; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost $2.99

MangaWhat: Supports manga from a bunch of manga websites; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

TIViewer (comic & text viewer): Supports zip (jpg, bmp, gif, png), txt; Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

Simple Comic Viewer: Supports zip, rar, cbr, cbz, jpg, png, gif, bmp; Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

Comic Strips: Supports over 300,000 comic strips from over 120 comics; Requires Android 2.0 or higher; Cost Free

Comic Viewer: Supports images and compressed files (zip); Requires Android 2.0.1 or higher; Cost Free

AyaComicViewer: Supports zip, rar, jpg, png, bmp; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free

Manga Reader: Supports manga from MangaStream, MangaReader; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free

Our Comic Viewer: Supports jpeg, png, gif, bmp, zip/cbz, rar/cbr; Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

Esay Comic Viewer: Supports image & zip files; Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

Comics by ArcaMax: Supports more than 65 of the funniest comic strips ever known to mankind — including famous strips such as Wizard of Id, Dennis the Menace, Blondie, Mutts, and Mother Goose & Grimm; Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free

xkcdViewer: Supports access to the xkcd archives; Requires Android 1.5 or higher; Cost Free


 

non-reader apps/utilities

Calibre Library: Connect wirelessly to your Calibre e-book library; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost $2.99

Aldiko Sync free/pro: Sync your books and bookmarks from Aldiko across your devices using your Dropbox account; Requires Android 2.1 or higher; Cost Free/$0.99

FBSync: Sync your position (by paragraph and word) in every e-book you’ve opened with FBReader to the web, Dropbox interface that will allow you to sync your actual book files from one devices to another, REQUIRES ROOT ACCESS; Requires Android 1.6 or higher; Cost Free
 

I hope this catalog will be a useful one stop place for folks to be able to find out what’s available to them for the various formats that are out there. I’ve no doubt missed some (especially when it comes to non English stores and apps) so if you see your favorites missing be sure to leave a comment so that I can add them to the list.

Next month I’ll share some of my favorite non-reading apps with you.

Review: Kindle Touch

Review: Kindle Touch

When Amazon first announced the Kindle Touch line of readers I was pretty indifferent about it.  I mean they looked nice, but I was perfectly happy with my Kindle 3 (now the Kindle Keyboard) and my older eInk devices (Kindle 2, Cybook Opus & Sony PRS-505) and saw no real need for anything else.  So I didn’t need a Kindle Touch by any stretch of the imagination, but need seldom comes into play when it comes to gadgets for me.

I opted for the $99 Kindle Touch WiFi with Special Offers.  Since you can now pay the difference ($40) and get the ads removed I figured there was little to lose by getting the special offer version and some of the previous offers folks have received seemed to be pretty good.  For what it’s worth I’ll be keeping the ads as I don’t care what my “screen saver” looks like (I don’t really look at the device when not reading) and the banner on the home screen is quite unobtrusive.

 

What You Get:

The Kindle Touch comes packaged in a very minimalist cardboard box that contains the device itself, a very short getting started card and a USB cable.  Amazon went cheap and eliminated the power adapter that came with previous versions (in the US anyway) of the Kindle from the package.  You can charge via USB or order Amazon’s power adapter for $10 (this is the same adapter the K2 and K3 came with).  I also tried charging with my iGo charger and had no problems.

 

Hardware:

The Kindle Touch itself is fairly minimalist in design, gone are the days of a hardware keyboard, 5-way controllers and page turn buttons.  There are no buttons on the device at all except for the Home button (looks like a speaker grill) on the front and a power button on the bottom edge.  Other than that you have a micro USB port and headphone jack next to the power button and a pair of speakers on the back.  The device housing, like all other Kindles, is plastic and has a nice feel in-hand.  The back is smooth and slightly rubberized and I find the device to be quite comfortable to hold.

The display is the same Pearl eInk screen used by the majority of eInk based readers now.  The screen on my Kindle 3 has a very slightly lighter background to it, but I think it’s manufacturing variances as two other K3′s I compared the Touch too looked to be exactly the same as the Touch’s screen.  Either way the Touch has the contrast folks have come to expect from Pearl screens.

The big difference between the Touch and previous Kindles is of course the touch screen.  Like readers from Sony, B&N and Kobo the Kindle Touch uses an infrared touchscreen which allows the screen to appear the same as non-touch devices (no extra touch layer causing glare).  The bezel edge around the screen is slightly raised to accommodate the touch sensors (like other IR touch devices).  I found the touch screen to be nicely responsive (not quite as responsive as a capacitive LCD as found on modern smart phones) and had no problems using it to turn pages or access menus on the device.

Of course one thing missing from this edition of the Kindle is the physical keyboard, which I found I don’t miss at all.  Now I don’t type much on the Kindle by any means, so I might not be the best judge, but while the hardware keyboards always worked fine for me I found I was able to type faster and with more accuracy on the Touch’s onscreen keyboard.

 

Technical Details:

Screen:
6” E Ink Pearl screen with infrared multi-touch interface, optimized with proprietary waveform and font technology. 600 x 800 pixel resolution at 167 ppi and 16 levels of grayscale.

Size/Weight:
6.8” x 4.7” x 0.40” (172mm x 120mm x 10.1mm)
7.5 ounces (213 grams) for WiFi, 7.8 ounces (220 grams) for WiFi + 3G

Storage:
4GB internal storage (approx 3GB available for user content), no storage card slot.  Free cloud storage for all Amazon content.

Battery Life:
Battery lasts up to two months with wireless turned off, up to 6 weeks with wireless always on depending on usage.

Wireless:
Supports public and private 802.11b/g/n WiFi networks and hotspots with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication.  Does not support WPA or WPA2 using 802.xx authentication methods or connection to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) WiFi networks.

WiFi+3G models also have an HSDPA modem (3G) with EDGE/GPRS fallback; wireless coverage provided by AT&T in the US and through partner networks outside the US.

Ports:
USB micro connector (USB cable included, power adapter sold separately), 3.5mm stereo audio jack, rear mounted speakers.

Content Formats:
Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, Audible, Audible Enhanced, MP3, unprotected MOBI/PRC; HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG and BMP through conversion.

 

Software:

The overall look of the Kindle Touch’s interface will be very familiar to users of previous generations of Kindle’s.  The Home Screen lists your books and/or collections in the same way as other Kindles with one change, collections are now sorted alphabetically instead of by last read as they are on the Kindle 2, 3 and DX.  I still wish Amazon would let users have options in how their collections are sorted, but they didn’t ask me.  The Home Screen also has a back arrow, store button, search box and menu icon across the top of the page.  Changing pages on the home screen is accomplished by swiping back and forth on the screen.

One place the touch screen shines is when interfacing with the Home Screen and with menus.  It’s no longer necessary to use the 5-way controller earlier Kindles had to make selections and navigate in general.  Now all one has to do is tap a collection or book to open it or tap and hold to bring up a menu giving you various options.  It’s much more intuitive and navigation feels much faster.

Reading a book looks much the same as it does on earlier Kindle’s with a few exceptions.  The progress bar is gone and all we are left with is the current location number in the lower left corner and the percentage read in the lower right.  Right now I’m unsure how I feel about the progress bars demise.  While the screen has a nice clean look I had gotten accustomed to seeing the bar and more importantly the little marks that indicated each chapter in a properly formatted Kindle book.  I’d often find myself planning my stopping point for the night by seeing how much was left of the chapter.  That said, in actual use I haven’t overly missed the chapter marks at this point and even though they’re unseen you can still use them to skip forward and back by swiping up and down on the screen.

Amazon has designed the touch screen with zones.  Tapping at the top of any page will bring up the same menu bar as the Home Screen at the top of the page and options to change font size/face/spacing, Go To and X-Ray or Sync (if the book doesn’t have x-ray) at the bottom.  Tapping on the left maybe 1/5th of the screen will go to the previous page and tapping on the other 4/5th’s of the screen will page forward.  Amazon’s reasoning is people will be going forward more than back and at least for me the design works great.  The forward zone extends over enough that I can tap to turn pages while holding the device in either hand with ease.  You can also swipe forward and back to turn pages if that is your preference.  I was glad to see that tapping as well as swiping works for page turns and I’ve tried different Sony devices and found I don’t really care for swiping to turn when reading for long periods, tapping however isn’t all that different than using a physical button.

Since this is a multi-touch interface you can also change font sizes by pinching or expanding you fingers on the screen (much like zooming in/out on smart phones/tablets) if you don’t want to delve into the menu’s to do it when reading.

While reading you can look-up a words definition by simply tapping and holding on the word, this is much less cumbersome than using the older Kindle’s 5-way controller.  Tapping and then dragging right after a word is highlighted will allow you to select passages which you can then highlight, add notes or share via social networks Facebook and Twitter.

X-Ray is a new development for the Touch which allows users to see the “bones of the book”.  When you use x-ray, if available for your book, you can see a time-line illustration that shows where fictional characters, ideas, historical figures, places and topics are mentioned on the current page, current chapter or the entire book.  Tapping on one of these entries will bring up a details page with a description/detail and also a list of excerpts from each page containing the selected character/item/etc., more detailed info can be had through links to Wikipedia or Shelfari.  At this stage I find x-ray interesting, but I’m unsure if it’s something I’d ever really use.

The Kindle Touch will also read PDFs, kind of.  Similar to the Sony’s you can pinch to zoom your document although it’s kind of cumbersome with the pages taking multiple seconds and flashes to actually appear zoomed.  Once the page is zoomed in swiping allows you to pan across the page and swiping far enough will change the page.  The next page will appear at it’s normal size and you can then zoom in again if desired.  I’ve yet to find a 6” eInk device that’s actually pleasant to read PDF’s on unless they’re formatted to the size of the screen and while I know some folks appear to like the way the Touch handles PDFs I find I preferred reading them on the Kindle 3 for one simple reason.

The Touch has done away with landscape mode as an option for reading and I found this the best way to read PDFs on the few occasions I tried.  Landscape viewing is also out for regular AZW/Mobi books as well which is something a few folks I’ve talked to that use really large fonts were disappointed to hear.  I don’t know if the problem has to do with the touch zones needing to reconfigure for landscape mode or what, but it’s too bad Amazon didn’t include the option for folks who like to use it.  I very seldom used it so it’s not a huge loss for me.

 

The Store:

I found going through the Kindle store on the device a much more pleasant experience than using the 5-way on the older devices.  Touch is a welcome feature here, although if I had to guess I’d say I’ll still to most of my purchasing of Kindle books by using Amazon.com and not by using the on device store.

 

Experimental:

The experimental features like the web browser, MP3 player and Text-to-Speech are all still there in this version of the Kindle.

I found the browser much nicer to use, although it’s still not a great experience and I doubt it ever will be with eInk’s refresh rates.  I was easily able to connect to my DropBox and download a few Mobi files to the device (PDF’s can’t be downloaded via the browser) and it was much quicker than doing it on my K3.  One note for folks used to using the Kindle’s free 3G to access their email, surf the web or download from DropBox.  That can’t be done with the 3G version of the Touch (which is why I went WiFi only this go around), the only thing you can use the 3G for is to access the Kindle store to buy and download books (and download from your archives).

The MP3 player is very basic.  It shows the current track and has skip forward and back arrows, volume, play/pause and an off button.  Once playing music will continue to play while you do other things, like reading, until you turn it off.  While the speakers aren’t the worst I’ve heard on a small device, headphones will give a much better experience.

Text-to-Speech is most easily accessed from the menu while in your book of choice.  Of course it only works on DRM-free books and on DRM’d books where publishers allow it to be used.  It acts/sound much the same as in previous Kindles to the best of my recollection.  It’s not a replacement for audio books by any means, but I know it’s quite useful for certain users, such as those with vision problems.  You can control the gender of the voice used and also control the voices speed, but it will always lack inflection and sound somewhat robotic.

 

Conclusions:

So is the Touch a game changer in the world of dedicated readers?  Nope, not really.  If I already had a touchscreen device from Sony, B&N or Kobo I probably wouldn’t drop them for the Kindle Touch unless there’s a specific feature you want and I wouldn’t dump a Kindle 3 for it unless you want the touch functionality.  That said the Kindle Touch is a solid new entry and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it, I know I’m quite happy with mine.

The Kindle Touch can be had (in the US only for now) in four versions.  $99 gets you the WiFi only version with special offers or you can get the same device without ads for $139.  For $149 you get WiFi + 3G with special offers or get the 3G version without ads for $189. Also remember you can remove the ads on the special offers models by paying the subsidy discount of $40.  You can also opt-in to the ads if you want to on a non-special offer Touch, K3 or K4 (and opt-out whenever you want).