Quick Review: Amazon Cloud Reader on the BlackBerry PlayBook

By IsaacKendall on 17 Aug 2011 02:52 pm EDT
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Amazon Cloud Reader 

Last week Amazon introduced a cloud reader solution for the Amazon Kindle. The motivation for this development was specifically for the Apple iPad due to Apple's new money hungry in-app purchase rules, Amazon need to find a solution outside the Apple App Store. Since Apple has a hate-on for Flash and directing all of their effort to move the world to HTML5, Amazon took advantage of this and developed the HTML5 Kindle Cloud Reader.  The big news for us BlackBerry people is that the PlayBook fully supports the HTML5, therefore the Kindle Cloud Reader works quite nicely with the BlackBerry Playbook.

I was really down on my PlayBook up and till recently because the apps were trickling out a little to slow for my taste. Specifically the Kindle reader, Amazon you may recall was the first partner to announce that Kindle would support the PlayBook. To date no app has materialized, but when the Android player leaked I jumped for joy because I could load Kindle books on my beloved PlayBook. Now with the Cloud Reader it only deepens the PlayBook love.

To begin hit up http://read.amazon.com and sign in with your Amazon credentials.  Some advice to note run in portrait mode and for best results run in full screen mode. Once you're logged in you are shown your full Kindle library. From your library just press and hold a book, you'll be given a popup giving you a choice of downloading the book for offline reading or simply opening the book to read.

Amazon Library

After you've downloaded one or more books for offline reading, at the bottom of the screen there will be a toggle between "Cloud" and "Downloaded".

Offline Books

It appears to work quite nicely and the WhisperSync functions as designed allowing for furthest page read and bookmarks remain synced in the Kindle ecosystem. The only real challenge I've encountered is if you try to launch the browser with no WiFi coverage it will error out. This is not a Kindle error but a PlayBook issue, the browser checks for a network connection when you launch it and if there isn't one you are presented network error. If you lose connectivity while reading the offline works well, just don't close the browser.

So far this is not 100% perfect remember it was designed for the iPad, but it's better than the alternative of no Kindle reader. Personally I've invested too much money in Kindle books to start over again with the Kobo reader pre-installed on my PlayBook so until they perfect the Cloud Reader or better yet make a native app this will have to do. 

Reader comments

Quick Review: Amazon Cloud Reader on the BlackBerry PlayBook

51 Comments

Not sweet. really, not sweet. Everything with PB is always just not quite there. Still waiting for the real app. So now we have to make sure we don't close the browser (when off line); like when getting on an airplane or away from Wifi or tethering signal....... or the cloud reader is useless.

My advice to anyone who asks me about my PB is this. It's great hardware but the apps aren't there. Wait for the Skype, Kindle, and Netflix app before you buy one.

Isaac

Will OS 7 phones be HTML 5 ready? I thought I read somewhere that they would be. Also, could you ask Kevin when we will be able to buy "Rimpire Strikes Back" shirts and gear?

freddysrevng

True. But I can't access Cloud Reader on my 9780.

The question is valid for it addresses that particular user's needs. It's relevant for him, that should be enough.

CrackBerry is the place we come for answers after all, right?

This is overblown, like the camera issue on the 9900. I haven't been able to NOT find the book I wanted on Kobo and the price difference is like a cup of coffee or less.

However the crying is typical for the crackberry site.

I've been using Kobo exclusively with no problems. I have found every book I have looked for and the price has not been too bad at all.

Having only had Kindle for a short time before getting the PB, I was reluctant to start anything with Kobo and fore go my many read and unread books in the Kindle stable.

Tried the Kindle Cloud thingie but I wasn't feeling it. I'm always shutting down and restarting etc. and can't guarantee leaving the browser on indefinitely!

So I'm downloading books - one at a time - to Kobo on my PB, and... I'm not hating it.

It will do until Amazon pull their finger out. But If they leave it too long I'll be just as deep in Kobo that it might not be worth switching back!

I'd settle for a decent eBook reader of any type. Kobo (the app) isn't bad, but, unlike the Kobo device (or Apple's iBooks), it can't read non-Kobo eBooks.

The other eReaders in AppWorld are, well frankly, not very good, and it's a pity because the PlayBook's size makes it a good reader (where the iPad is too large to comofortably hold, and phones are too small to read for a long period

Nice. At my Firefox the page says "Your web browser isn't supported yet." .... and some hints for Chrome and Safari. But at the Playbook ... no problems to sign in! Great!

But of course the page isn't optimized for the playbook. Hopefully they fix it soon!

As some have noted in the forums, make sure your Playbook browser is NOT set to 'Private' - for some reason that has an impact on getting this going. I couldn't get the reader working until I changed the setting. Once that was done - all good!

I just downloaded and pinned a book, so presumably I have the book even when off line although I'm not sure how I call the book back up when I am off line.

Someone above said it isn't optimized for the playbook page but I see no problem's at all when reading the book.

You don't get nice page turn graphics but this is pretty moinor. Won' switch from Kobo until I know the offline reading really works.

Please post a help video if you can figure out how offline reading is going to work.

Thanks!

Put my playbook in Airline mode and could not open the downloaded book. If anyone knows how to get to the downloaded books offline let me know. Thanks

Until they fix this there isn't much point in switching from Kobo. For people that say kobo is more expensive, yes, like less than a cup of coffee. So until off-line reading works I won't buy another book from Amazon.

Good question: Where is the Kindle App? We have 3 Kindles in my family, all on the same account so we can share books. I've been waiting and hoping for the Kindle app for the Playbook. This looks like a reasonable substitute with some offline reading issues and page display problems. Maybe they can tweak this a bit so it will ALSO work on the Playbook as well as it probably works on the iPad.

I find it's a bit hit and miss. After playing around with it and going to the kindle store, I notice that some links aren't working right away. I had to double or triple-tap. And it would be nice to have this REALLY work in offline mode so I don't have worry about having wifi or bridge on.

Amazon has mentioned in their Press statement they are bringing in support for other browsers and devices including Playbook for this cloud reader. So hopefully soon we can expect it to be suited to Playbook completely.
As far as the offline reading is concerned, I think we can soon expect apps for offline browsing for Kindle in App World by some developer (as we already have offline browsers available) :)

Tat's good news, thanks for pointing this out. I hope the FT will do so as well. They have an HTML 5 optimized site for the iPad to get around steve job gouging subscription prices. I hope they also optimize for the playbook.

Read it, thanks. Too bad RIM can't tweak the browser so it'll run any HTML5 code written for the iPad (I mean this App is pretty damn close).

I'm sure Steve Jobs will try to counter with a version of Safari that will not run these HTML5 apps.....

I saw you post about Wi-Fi to read offline, but couldnt you use Brigged if you have a Blackberry?

James

Yes you can use your bridged browser and go to read.amazon.com and login into your books that way as well. You would only have to do this if you forgot and closed your browser before leaving wifi. When I know I'm shooting out of wifi i just leave it open and then I can read all I want of my downloaded library.

WAIT!!!!
Am I the only one that can't get my playbook to open the read.amazon.com page?
I can load the page from inside my CB APP for PB. But not from my native browser.
what am i doing wrong?

Correction: Private browsing is not allowed.

My issue is how does Apple have everyone in their back pocket?
Why couldn't RIM get amazon to build an html5 app.

Sorry, I think you're the only one. Works fine for me on both regular and bridge browser, only issue is the book I downloaded through the regular browser is not found when I use the bridge browser... to bad, I'm thinking downloading a book through the bridge browser would be a pain.

You can tether to you BB and it works fine.... just tried it :)

Works with 3G but 2G seems to fail/timeout.

I have used this from the day Amazon emailed me about it and love it. I refuse to use Kobo as well and can't wait for the native app for the Playbook.

There is at least one native app in the AppWorld already that could open Kindle books on the PlayBook - Book Reader. It's limited to the book without Amazon's DRM encryption though.

Here is a dumb question, does the application work for Canadian users? I got to the iCloud page and tried it but my playbook seemed to stall as I couldn't sign in or scroll the page.

The cloud reader is nice, but I'm still waiting for an actual app. Scrolling through the library is very cumbersome.

Actually, I'll edit that. It isn't nice. The library display is horrible, books are cut off on the sides, and when I open a book, and it either cuts off the sides, or only half the page has text.

COME ON AMAZON. YOU PROMISED AN APP EARLY ON. WHERE IS IT?

I'd imagine with the cloud reader being developed they won't be releasing an app. They'll just tweak the cloud reader to recognize the playbook browser and be done with it.

Don't know how many of you know this but Borders has partnered with Kobo. You can now purchase a book from them and send it to your Kobo library.

Doesn't work for me either. Not set to private either.

I can see the page "kindlecloudreader" with the button "Sign in to get started". I tap on that and the next screen "Set Up Kindle Cloud Reader for Offline Reading" just hangs. I can see part of the page but I can't even scroll, pinch to zoom, or do anything. :(

-----------------------
Edit: Ok, I know what I did wrong... I have to have the playbook in portrait mode... duh :)

Finally!

This is only going to help the Playbook when people realize that you don't NEED to have apps for everything. The more companies abandon the Apple App Store in favor of HTML 5, the more poeple will realize that apps are only around to make up for the shortcomings of mobile devices. Web apps are the way of the future, not device specific apps. Once a reliable methodology is established for online/offline mode cached web apps, we can put this whole "number of apps" debate behind us.

A very special thank you to Steve Jobs for pushing HTML 5 so hard... lol

I'm assuming this doesn't allow sideloading? Some books I read are generally not in the kindle library as they are in portuguese, and therefore, without sideloading, I can't use it.

The Android drains the battery too quickly, but I love the ability to sync pages between my 9700 and my playbook.

Can anyone tell me how to recall the menu bar at the top of the page when you first open the book??? Once you flip a page, it dissapears. The only way I can get it back is by refreshing the browser...

Other then that, I'm happy that I at least have some access to my Kindle books with the Playbook. You know everyone that sees my playbook says the same thing. It goes like this:

"What is that?"
"Oh the Playbook! I've heard of that, can I see it?"

...after handing it to them...

"I really like the size"

...Then I show them the awesome HD vdieo, but tell them that it's still missing apps like Kindle, Skype and Netflix....

"You know my [insert relative here] has an iPad..."

...sigh

Works well! A real pain you can't use it without Wi-Fi. But we're Playbook users. We're getting used to work arounds! :)

Agree this works well, if the PB Browser would allow itself to launch without WiFi so one could read downloaded titles we could live without an app.

I've been using this and it does work, but is pretty clunky. I haven't been able to get the download feature to work properly. While it downloads, it doesn't seem to be there later. A wifi or tethering connection seems to be necessary for reading. The bottom line is that I use it, so it is acceptable, but I am looking forward to the possibility of running the Android Kindle Reader on the PlayBook with OS2, assuming Amazon doesn't release a version specifically for the PlayBook.

Link worked the first time I used it. When I opened up the web browser the second time, it took me to a KIndle Store page, and I can't access any of my Kindle Library.
Not sure the Cloud Reader for Playbook is ready for prime time.
I used the following link: https://read.amazon.com

Not supported by browser on 2.1.0.1526 still no app for reading Kindle books, WTF.
I've already ditched BB for a Galaxy Note II; Android tablet is next.