A notable feature of the KIndle iPhone app that was announced today is that it has color, unlike Amazon’s Kindle device. The most complete comments I’ve found on this are at CNET.com, written by Nicole Lee (whose interest in comic books gives her good reason to look for color!) Her article is especially valuable because it has a good comparison of screenshots on the iPhone and the Kindle. I’m showing this prominently because it appears at the bottom of the CNET story, and I suspect may be missed by lots of folks. Lee’s comments on color are excerpted below the screenshots.

Here’s the text that accompanies the picture : “Comparing comic books on the Kindle and the Kindle iPhone app. The quality isn’t great since you can’t zoom in (which is a problem for reading text), but the potential is there. (Credit: Nicole Lee/CBS Interactive)”

And here are other comments from Lee’s story on color …

… there is one potential advantage the iPhone has over the Kindle, and that is this: Color. Why would you want color in an ebook? Why, for comics, of course. I’m a big comic book fan, so I went looking for comics in the Amazon Kindle Store to see how it would look on the new Kindle 2 with its 16 shades of gray. There aren’t a lot of choices out there, so I just downloaded a few samples to check them out. The results are not that great, sad to say. Each comic page is considered an image, so it’s a little slower to download. I was fine with the gray shading, but the comic format does not quite fit the size of the Kindle 2’s screen. Smaller format books like manga digests look a little better however. Still, navigating the pages is a pain. There’s no way to zoom in and out of panels, and if I wanted to enlarge the images to full-size, I had to do so for each page. Plus word balloons are almost impossible to read since I can’t zoom in.

I downloaded those same comic samples to the Kindle application on the iPhone. I still couldn’t zoom in, and it’s still hard to read the word balloons. But I was awed and amazed that they arrived in full-blown color. Yes, I couldn’t read any of them, but it gave me a small glimmer of hope that maybe some day there’ll be a way. Until then, I guess I’ll have to live with the individually-sold iVerse comic applications.

It’s interesting, of course, that the first format that shows the value of color e-books is comic books — But, the implications are far-ranging for illustrated books in general, such as medical and science textbooks in which illustrations have an important place.

6 thoughts on “Color iPhone, B/W Kindle

  1. I am interested in how color translates over to informational texts such as coursebooks for college, h.s., and middle school subjects. I find it would be extremely valuable to have full color illustrations in science and social studies.

    Just imagine what Kindle 3 and 4 will be like!

  2. By not having colour the Amazon people have excluded a huge proportion of their possible market. I would love to have cookery, interior design and art books, all usually large and cumbersome on the Kindle, but what would the point be ?

  3. Wow, the colour makes a massive difference and I think it would really affect the readability/enjoyability of a reading a comment on a mobile device like the iphone

  4. I wonder how long it is before there’s an app that will really allow the iPhone to be a book reader? This looks great but as the article says you can’t zoom in or out which makes reading the text difficult. When it can do that it compete with Sony’s eReader!

  5. I agree that color would make a difference on an ebook reader, especially for text books. I imagine that within the year we will be seeing the development of color e-ink displays. When we have that technology on an ebook reader the size of a Kindle DX, then I will be buying one!

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