With all the interest around e-book readers like the Amazon Kindle and its new Apple iPhone app, it’s no wonder that the ubiquitous Research in Motion BlackBerry is also getting some attention, with the launch of the eReader Pro for the device.
The free application, from Fictionwise’s eReader.com, works across a slew of models of the Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIM) BlackBerry.
For Fictionwise and eReader.com, the news marks the latest sign of booming interest in e-books. Last week, in an effort to better capitalize on the trend, book retail giant Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) acquired Fictonwise and said it plans to use the company as part of its overall digital strategy, which includes the launch of an e-book store later this year.
The release also continues the momentum set in motion earlier this year with Amazon’s release of version 2 of its Kindle e-reader, sporting a number of enhancements. It followed the launch with last week’s announcement of a free, Kindle-compatible e-book reader for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch, downloadable from Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) App Store.
While at first it might have seemed counter-productive for Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) to release a free application at the same time that it’s trying to promote its $360 Kindle device, the company is speculating that the app and the Kindle won’t compete with each other. Instead, the e-commerce giant expects customers to want both, and has included place-holding synchronization features for the two.
Yet while both the Apple iPhone and Amazon’s Kindle have proven wildly popular, it’s the BlackBerry that continues to dominate in mobile devices, with a commanding lead among smartphones.
That doesn’t automatically spell success for the eReader Pro, however, which still has some hurdles to overcome. While you can access your online bookshelf with the app on your Blackberry, you can’t purchase books from within the application — a situation similar to the recently released Kindle app for the iPhone.
As with the iPhone application, readers can make their purchases through the mobile Web site, according to several bloggers who posted early reviews.
Despite the drawback, reception is positive so far. “eReader on BlackBerry is as impressive as many of us wished it would be, and once the teething problems are sorted, we should have a new king of the BlackBerry eBook hill,” according to one review on PDA-247.com.