Many of you might have seen the news last week, and for those of you who didn’t, please consider this a really small summary – Amazon released a web-based version of its Kindle application last week. Unlike the previously existing effort where you would be able to read your Kindle books in a PC/Mac web browser (Chrome, IE, Opera, or Firefox), Kindle Cloud (accessed by going to the URL https://read.amazon.com/) is designed so that mobile devices with HTML5-compatible web browsers – currently the iPhone and iPad Safari Mobile browsers – are able to essentially work similar to the Kindle application.
In a very simple sense, you don’t need an application to read your Kindle books. And outside of the initial connection, you don’t even need to be online as you can utilize the feature of HTML5 local storage to read selected books when offline.
Sound great right? Well, its a jump ahead for sure, and with many analysts predicting that there could be over 2 billion mobile devices with HTML5 browsers by 2016, it would seem to speak more relevance to the days being numbered for native applications.
Now, I’ve moved to using Kindle Cloud Reader and have to say that with the exception of page animations and copy/paste, I really don’t miss the native app much at all. Its good enough for my needs, and considering that I normally am using my iPad in a connected setting (I have a WiFi-only iPad), its not a bad idea to use for this kind of application.
So here’s the question, and the implication that people are going to ask if more applications go this route – what Bible readers are conductive to this approach? Are Bible readers conductive to this approached?
Many Bible applications have taken the approach to having a native application that has some Internet connected pieces (Facebook/Twitter sharing, downloading on-demand, backup, etc.). Would it make sense at some point in the near future for them to go the route of HTML5-like web apps like Amazon’s Kindle, Financial Times, etc. are not simply niche publications that are trying this, they have considerable followings and in many cases people willing to pay for increased access to greater depth of content and coverage – its literally a similar palette.
If this begins to happen in critical mass – given Apple’s rules for subscriptions with iTunes, Android’s fragmentation concerns across device types, and increasingly cheaper connectivity options for some mobile users – will your mobile Bible/religious publication approach stay with a native approach, or go this route? Will your users care and stay with you or move to someone else, even if it means they lose your support or content offerings?