Amazon made several interesting moves with the Kindle this week.

First, they caved on the decision to include text-to-speech in the Kindle 2. Instead of making it a built-in feature, they will leave the decision to turn text-to-speech on up to publishers on a title-by-title basis.

This is a blow to education and really a ridiculous move (although perhaps understandable from a business standpoint since publishers were applying pressure and they are a key partner to Amazon). Text-to-speech technology has existed in commercial applications for over 25 years and represents absolutely no copyright infringement. I hope that various constituencies will weigh in on this and bring pressure as has been done with DRM.

In another much anticipated move, Amazon is making ebooks available to iPhone and other mobile device users. This only makes sense. Amazon is hedging its bets by making its’ best-of-class ebook system available on the hottest mobile device on the market.

While one might question whether Amazon ever should have got into the hardware business, I hope this doesn’t mean the end for the Kindle hardware. It is a sweet device and offers ebook reading functionality superior to any mobile device (including ipods, Palms, etc.). I, for one, would really miss it in its current and possible future incarnations.

Interesting moves by Amazon
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