It was announced this week that with a new firmware update being brought out for Kindle, Amazon’s popular e-reader, a more social aspect would be introduced in the form of Facebook and Twitter integration.
The move comes as iPad sales continue to rise and challenge Amazon’s dominance in the e-reading market of which it currently has the lion’s share.
Amazon has long been criticised over it’s lack of imagination regarding the potential for the Kindle’s UI and wireless connectivity, which remains it’s biggest upper hand when dealing with competitors such as Sony, Cooler, and now, Apple who either offer no 3G, or tie you down with data plans through networks.
How many people will want to share their books through Facebook is yet to be seen, the Kindle isn’t seen as one of the most social products on the shelves, as well as it’s slow page loading times when compared to devices like the iPhone, which display in colour, rather than the e-ink which the Kindle uses.
This interesting move by Amazon raises some questions as to where the online giant sees it’s reader going. Most people who buy e-readers only want books, and are attempting to replace bulging bookshelves and old moth-eaten books. These customers don’t really want to socialise online while reading their classics.
Amazon seems to not know where it wants to be, and it will have to chose, otherwise people will migrate to either the all-encompassing iPad to network and read, or the cheaper Sony readers which are just books and nothing more.
Amazon’s moves into a more social world also comes in the same week that TomTom announces it’s own app store in development to allow the development of third party apps for its popular satnav unit. The usefulness of apps for the TomTom remains to be seen, but it’s an interesting development and some are curious to see where exactly this development will be taken.