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Kindle for Android Now Supports PDF

So it looks like the Amazon-Foxit deal was announced yesterday for a specific reason; the Kindle for Android app can now read PDFs. The update showed up in the Android Market a couple days ago, but it's not being pushed out as a recommended update. I didn't know it was available until I got a tip on Twitter. There's not much to the update. Along with basic PDF support and bug fixes, the update also adds better support for Android v4.0 ICS smartphones. I suppose that would include tablets except there aren't all that many Android tablets running the latest version of Android.

The new PDF abilities are rather basic. I've tested the app on my eeePad Transformer, and the only thing I can do with a PDF is pinch zoom, turn the page, and jump to another page. There's no typed notes, highlights, bookmarks, or TOC support.

Performance was okay. It was quite fast to turn the page and jump around inside a text based PDF, and the app also survived the PDF that Mike was using to crush an iPad. To be more specific, I was seeing page load times about the same as GoodReader displayed (8 to 15 seconds).That's actually a pretty good result, considering that this was a killer PDF made from high resolution page scans. The perfomance may have been poor but it was on par with the best PDF app on the iPad.

On a related note, there's no mention of support for Kindle Print Replica format. This is Amazon's own PDF format, and they use it for some textbooks. I'd half expected to see the Android app get support for both PDF and KPR, but that didn't happen. i tried a KPR file; it wouldn't load.

Like the PDF features on Kindle for PC, there's no mention of who did the code, but I suspect that it was Foxit. I'd gotten a hint yesterday that any improvements or new features may have come from them. But I'm also surprised that I got the hint; these features aren't worth much of anything. Remember, the Kindle app normally supports bookmarks, highlights, notes, and you can share content. You cannot do any of those things with PDFs just yet. I would have waited and claimed credit when the app could actually do something.

All in all, it's a good first step. It's also a sign that fixed layout is going to be a fixed feature in the ebook marker from here on out. When even Amazon caves and starts supporting the format in their apps, you can tell it's here to stay.

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About Nate Hoffelder (11110 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

6 Comments on Kindle for Android Now Supports PDF

  1. The tip from twitter was from, a Greek blog on e-books:

  2. Problem with the app is that it’s now 10mb bigger – over double the size. And who didn’t already have a pdf reader already built into their phones? A separate app for pdf would make more sense. As it is, lots of disgruntled users (if they didn’t have a backup of an older version).

  3. Damn, i missed that. I bet that’s why i couldn’t install it on my Sony Reader.

  4. You want to process PDF file, there is wonderful app in market called PDF Utility

  5. On Kindle, there’s also a free app called

    qPDF Viewer

    available on the Amazon market for those documents that can not be displayed properly by the Foxit built-in PDF viewer.

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