Notes on the Kindle app (Windows Phone, Android, iOS and Windows 10) Part 1
Although Amazon and their Kindle devices practically own the ebook reader market, it's not unheard of for users to prefer Kobo or Nook devices instead. Kindle devices are great, but if you already own an ereader, you can always install the popular Kindle app on your smartphone or tablet.
The Kindle app is an interesting use case example of an app for different platforms. The quality of the app in Windows Phone and Windows 10 is unimpressive considering Amazon is a tech company. The iOS and Android version, as expected, is pretty solid. Amazon probably prefers that you buy one of their Amazon Fire tablets, but the Kindle app for Android and iOS are more than adequate no matter how cheap the Fire and PaperWhite are. The Windows app versions aren't perfect but if you need that rare book you can find only on Kindle Store, then the app quirks are tolerable. Besides, if you bought a digital textbook or a technical tome, than having the Kindle app on your Windows 10 2-in-1 or desktop can be useful too.
The Kindle app for Windows 10 is all right if you're studying but issues with orientation and performance may put users off even if you installed the app on a nice 2-in-1 or hybrid Windows 10 device like the Yoga or Surface Pro.
For this article, I used Amazon's WhisperSync to view Telecom, Datacom and Networking for Non-Engineers by Eric Coll on a Lumia 925 (Windows Phone 8.1), iPad 2 (iOS9), HP Stream 8 (Windows 10 32-bit), Sony Xperia C3 Dual (Android 5.x) and a Zotac mini-PC running Windows 10 64-bit Pro.
Kindle app for Windows Phone 8
Unsurprisingly, the Kindle app for Windows Phone is shaky and sports a dated user interface. The app repeatedly failed to connect to the WhisperSync service. After reinstalling the Kindle app from Microsoft Store, I was able to finally download the 400-page telecommunications book on the Windows Phone.
The ebook, which had no problems syncing to a Windows 10 desktop and tablet, iOS and Android device, wouldn't download on the Windows Phone Kindle app.
Unfortunately, the app would crash on my Lumia 925 when I would try to open the ebook I purchased, which made me review the app description in Microsoft Store. The text description for the app was unusually honest - "Some Kindle book formats may not be supported on Windows Phone 8".
Considering the telecom book I purchased was published by Amazon Services, it was disappointing not being able to download it to my Lumia 925.
Hopefully, the limitation will not be present when Windows Mobile 10 is released to older Lumia devices.
Kindle app for Android 5.x
Syncing Telecom, Datacom and Networking for Non-Engineers was not a problem on the Sony Xperia C3 Dual. Unlike the Kindle app for Windows 10, the Android version was able to display the Table of Contents. The Kindle app was designed for Android so features like Popular Highlights, Before you go, page scrubber, bookmarking, access to Kindle Store, page formatting, "search in book" and numerous sharing options were all available.
Kindle app for Android 5.x on a Sony Xperia C3 Dual.
I have a strong aversion to social networking sites and sharing anything so I probably will never use any of the sharing options included with the Kindle app. However, I do see the value in having instant access to Bing Translator and a dictionary. Like the Kobo app, you will have to download Kindle dictionaries separately however.
Note: The New Oxford American Dictionary integrated with the Kindle app is downloaded in-app. You can actually install the dictionary even if you don't have access to Google Play (as in China).
The Kindle app for Android has all types of search features as well as annotation tools.
I was strangely offended that Wikipedia was the the default online resource for Kindle though. I would have preferred an impartial search engine. I prefer Bing or DuckDuckGo than Wikipedia any day of the week. Thankfully, you have that option too by tapping the Options button and then tapping Search the Web.
Amazon clearly wants you to use the Share features on the Kindle app so more people will buy their ebooks. A Kindle API checks your device for the apps on your mobile device and they're offered as options for sharing information regarding the book you purchased.
As a side note, although the Xperia C3 is a few inches smaller than the HP Stream 8, the reading experience on the Sony was much better (and faster) than on the Windows 10 32-bit HP tablet. There was a lag when loading the ebook on the C3, but this was probably due to the C3 being a budget smartphone and its small internal memory than the Kindle app itself.