Monday, May 25, 2009

iPhone Appworld

Gartner report that the apps are clearly driving the smartphone market which has grow by some 3% and is now 13.53% of the total number of phones sold. Apple has seen a rise of 128% and with nearly 4 million units in the first quarter of 2009, they have doubled their share of the smartphone market to close on 11%.

So what is happening in the app world re ereaders?

Last week Apple censored the Eucalyptus ereader iPhone app because it carried ‘offensive content’ in the form of a download the Kama Sutra from Project Gutenberg. There were no pictures just text, but they say that reading is about imagination. The dispute is now over and Eucalyptus has received its publicity and the app is live on the app store at $5.99 with 20,000 public domain works from Project Gutenberg.

Is Eucalyptus any better or worse than the other ereader apps? It has some pluses and some minuses but despite the 20,000 titles you can’t help think where does it want to be when it grows up? Does it want to be an iPhone front end to project Gutenberg - a laudable mission but hardly one that is going to go places. Does it want to fill the possible space that may be now left by Stanza – again understandable, but is it as good or just placing itself on the shelf to be bought? We see a nice reader but little else today.

A few weeks after its purchase of Stanza Amazon just announced an upgrade to its Kindle for iPhone app. Is this following and mimicking the features developed by Stanza? The new release allows consumers to read in the landscape mode, pinch-zoom and scale-up images, use a tap or a flick to turn pages and you can now change backgrounds from black on white to white on black or even a sepia background for easier reading.

The big difference between Amazon and Eucalyptus is content. Eucalyptus has 20,000 public domain works, the Kindle’s has 275,000 titles. Amazon’s may be for sale but they are more relevant and its no good having the best reader if you can’t read the books you want to read on it.

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