Amazon Cracks Open Kindle App for Windows PCs

Kindle for PCs (laptop, thumb)

Amazon has always said it intended to bring its Kindle ebooks to other platforms—the company’s first step down that road was its popular Kindle app for the iPhone, and now the company is bringing Kindle to the Windows world with the announcement of of Kindle for PC, a free desktop application that enables Windows users to purchase, download, read their Kindle titles on their PCs.

“Kindle for PC is the perfect companion application for folks who own a Kindle or Kindle DX,” said Amazon VP Ian Freed, in a statement. “Kindle for PC is also a great way for people around the world to read the most popular books of today even if they don’t yet have a Kindle.”

Kindle for PC supports enables Kindle customers to access their entire library of purchased Kindle titles for free via Amazon’s servers; of course, the application also enables users to purchase and download new books. Users can read Kindle titles right on the PC, and the app supports Amazon’s WhisperSync technology to synchronize bookmarks across all Kindle devices so users don’t lose their place. Users can also view notes marked on their Kindle devices, zoom in and out, set text display size, and—in a future Windows 7-only release—flip pages with a finger-swipe, assuming users have appropriate touch-enabled hardware.

In addition to Windows 7, Amazon plans to release Kindle for PC for both Windows Vista and Windows XP during the next month. Users can sign up for notification on Amazon’s Kindle for PC Web site.

The announcement follows Amazon’s recent move to drop its U.S.-only version of its Kindle device and drop $20 off the price tag. Now all version of the Kindle device—U.S. and international—rely on GSM to communicate with Amazon’s servers, which means the new Kindle’s are using AT&T’s 3G network in the U.S., rather than Sprints. U.S. customers also see a $20 price drop. Customers who bought the international edition in the last few weeks are already being cut $20 refund checks from Amazon.

Kindle for PCs (beta screenshot)