HP’s TouchPad Kindle Review

True to their word to bring Kindle platform to everything including your toaster, Amazon launched Kindle app for HP’s newest tablet toy, TouchPad. The application is free and matches 100% the functionality found on other platforms like Android and iPhone / iPad. That means Amazon bookstore, synchronization across platforms, etc. The basics are there as well, including portrait / landscape support, text size and font selection, search, etc.

If you want to get yours, it is free via HP App Catalog. I got mine, let’s see how it performs.

TouchPad Kindle App Review

I will start by declaring that I love reading, and my daily commute by train gives me ample opportunities to follow my passion. That being said, I tried a number of reading devices, mostly to write reviews. I started with Nook (not the Nook Color), bought Kindle 2 and 3, Nook Color which I root and eventually an iPad 2. I also tried HP’s TouchPad and although I had to wait until Kindle app was available, now that it is here I put it to a quick test. These are my findings:

The story of a native Kindle app for HP’s tablet is a little convoluted. Initially advertised it was pulled from the list due to bugs then re-published again with fixes. The TouchPad implementation doesn’t try to be original which is somewhat a good thing. Once you log-in to your account, your entire library of books purchased from Amazon is available as a list, but obviously not on your device. In order to get the book on the TouchPad, you’ll need to click on it and download it. It will then be available for reading.

Now, one of the nice features that Amazon implemented a while ago (and also available for Barnes and Noble’s Nook) is synchronization between platforms. That means once doesn’t matter on what platform you read, the last page you left of will be preserved (providing of course your said device has Internet connectivity). At one point, I was in love with this feature, but in my experience, once you settle down on a platform, switching around between several readers is a very rare occurrence.

The Kindle App for TouchPad brings the standard basic features every eReader needs to have as text size and font selection, portrait / landscape switching, etc. A nice touch – in landscape mode you can read like a true book, with two pages displayed at a time, similar with iPad experience. Some advanced options available on other platforms are also implemented, including bookmarks, notes or highlighting text.

Unfortunately, although unsurprisingly,  the file support is limited to .mobi and Amazon’s own formats which makes side-loading an issue. If you are a Amazon eBook Store only user, you should be fine. If you rely on a lot of side-loading content, the Kindle is not for you on any platform. Unfortunately, TouchPad came late in a very crowded market and it is very hard to convince developers to cough up apps fast enough. I am waiting for a dedicated nook app for the TouchPad and maybe even some Stanza love.

Conclusion: Kindle for TouchPad is a solid application, but as expected, limited to Amazon’s store. If you rely heavily on side loaded content, you’ll need to use something like pReader that can open  plain-text, HTML, PalmDOC, MobiPocket, eReader, ePub and Amazon AZW files. If you are a die-hard Amazon fan, the application is an excellent addition to the somewhat limited TouchPad collection.


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