Google + Amazon = remind me again why I should buy an iPhone?

You may or may not know that I don’t just do webby, governmenty stuff. I also record music, write a bit and try to make short films (try being the operative word because we don’t seem to have got anything concrete off the ground so far!) Anyway, Dan, with who I do all of the above activities, is a rabid iPhone owner who is constantly ribbing me for my love of Googles Android OS. Every time we go down that route I try to come up with a number of reasons, other than the devices it runs on being cheaper and it being inherently a more open system, that Android is as good as, if not better than, his iPhone (I use a HTC Hero, by the way).

The only thing I really thought that my phone was lacking that the iPhone can do is provide instant access to media such as music and movies through a bespoke interface (iPhone, and iPod Touch for that matter, has a built in version of iTunes). But, no more! Thanks in part to Dave Briggs I have found a solution!

Reading Daves post about the new Kindle at the weekend, something caught my eye; a mention of an Android app which syncs with the actual device piqued my interest. I’ve been intreagued with eBooks for a while but have never really wanted to invest in a device like a Kindle as I was never sure whether I would use it. After reading about the app I hunted it down. A quick search for Amazon in the App store, however turned up not only the Kindle app but also an Amazon MP3 store app. Suddenly I got very excited.

I downloaded both these apps and gave them a whirl…

Kindle first then. Set up was a synch, just entered my Amazon account details and it registered the Hero to my details. At the moment the app takes you to the Amazon web store front for browsing and purchasing, however Amazon states that the next version of the app will have a bespoke store front which would be ace. Purchasing is a one click method and the books are saved on your account. I picked up Dracula by Bram Stoker and The Raven by EdgarAlan Poe, as they were both freebies (public domain, y’know) and bought At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft which was 79p (to test purchasing). Once bought, you simply head back over to the app which syncs with your Amazon account and downloads the books. Select a book and your away. Reading is straightforward, tap the edges or swipe to change pages. Tap the center of the screen to see where you are in the book. There are options for font size, colours and brightness which you can tweak to help with reading. And that’s it. The app remembers your position when you put down a book which is brilliant (according to Dave this also syncs back to your Kindle device which actually sounds like real life witchcraft!) and they’re fairly easy to read. In all I’m not sure it replaces books for me as I still like having the paper copy in my hands, but it’s nice to have the ability to read eBooks without relying on having an actual Kindle device. Come the age of the Android tablet, this app will be an absolute necessity.

Next up, the MP3 store. This is another app which does what it says on the tin. Log in with your Amazon details and, once again, you’re away. It has its own built in store front which is nice and lightweight and background downloads content which is very useful. Simply find the album or song you want, click on buy and away it goes. Simples. You can play downloaded songs straight from your phone through the built in speakers or via a pair of standard 3.5mm headphones and, as Amazon MP3’s are DRM free, you can transfer them straight to iTunes via your PC. Pure brilliance. My only criticism is that it would be nice to have some filtering options to see special offers and the like.

So, as I say, remind me again why I need an iPhone? Android OS is becoming more and more relevant to smartphone buyers and, while I’m uncertain of the legalities, I seriously think that Google need to be bigging up apps such as these and even shipping them with the OS. For the consumer they provide comparable, if not better due to the lack of DRM, functionality when compared to their Apple counterparts.

Just give me some on the go movie rentals and decent commercial game downloads and I will never look at an iPhone again!



  1. I shall have to check that out! I’ll be honest I’ve not really used mine as a music player, but with the MP3 storefront I’m seriously thinking about picking up a 32Gb SDHC or bigger!

  2. I know as I own an iphone owner this will probably be dismissed as the inane ramblings of a fanboy, but I’m trying to be objective, I hope everyone else will be.

    That same Kindle app is also available on the iPhone and iPad, as well as several other ebook apps which tie into other stores.

    Also music from the itunes store has been DRM free as standard for well over a year now. Maybe longer. There’s never been anything stopping people from importing any DRM free music into iTunes, although some formats need converting. On the handset itself, yes you are limited to the iTunes store, however as most songs are at most 20p more, and many are about the same, I don’t see this as much of an issue if I am desperate for those 1 or 2 songs I can’t wait to get before I’m on my desktop next to buy from (who are usually cheaper than Amazon for me).

    Also got to disagree with the cost of handsets. Sure a Hero is cheaper than an iPhone 4, but they aren’t comparable devices. the Desire is the closest we have that’s readily available right now in the UK. The screen is nowhere near as good, nor is the camera, and it’s made if plastic rather than glass and metal. That is easily worth the £70-100 more if those things are important to you. If you’re reading ebooks, the screen is definitely worth the money.

    I really like Android as an OS, and it’s almost as good as iOS, just not quite there with the saturation of apps for everything you can think of. Also, kjust as you can do everything you want on the Android phone, I can do everything I need on the iOS phone. Horses for courses 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s