Android partners with Kindle, Google partners with GM

The little green robot can read

Amazon is set to launch a new Kindle application for Android devices soon.

The new application will allow you to browse, buy and read books directly without having to access the Amazon website. The iPhone version, on the other hand, takes you to the website for a book purchase, since Apple charges a hefty 30 percent of in-app transactions which Amazon is obviously unwilling to pay.

Kindle will allow access to over 500,000 books, depending on which country you’re in. It also uses Whispersync, which automatically synchronises your last page read, bookmarks, notes and hightlights across Kindle and Kindle-compatible devices, such as a PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Blackberry.

This application will not require that the user have a Kindle device, but for those who do it will automatically sync up and offer the books already downloaded to your Kindle so that you can view them on your phone as well.

Kindle newspapers, magazines, and blogs, however, will not currently be available for the Android application.

The Kindle application requires Android OS 1.6 or a higher version. It also requires an SD card to store downloaded books and should work on the majority of Android-based phones.

As for the release date, all we know for certain is that it is “coming soon”.

Kindle for Android

The little green robot can drive

Last Thursday TechEye reported that General Motors had gone into talks with Google on the possibility of bringing the Android operating system to vehicles. Today a deal between the two giants has been announced.

The new Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that will be launched by General Motors soon, will be the first of many GM cars to use Google’s Android OS.

Chevrolet Volt

In our earlier report we wondered if GM’s OnStar nagivation technology would cause conflict with Google. The news today, however, is that OnStar will be staying and will work together with the Android OS.

General Motors is trying to get more people, particularly younger ones, to buy cars that use OnStar, so this deal with Google will certainly help towards that end.

“There can be a technological tour de force beyond just vehicle applications,” OnStar president Chris Preuss said. “We’re looking to enhance the value proposition on OnStar to make us more competitive.”

OnStar has a number of features, such as automatic crash response, security and emergency services, vehicle diagnostics, hands-free calling, and turn by turn navigation. It can help you if you’ve locked your keys in the car or even track down your car if it has been stolen.

The pairing with Google, however, will mean that car owners will be able to locate their vehicle using their Android phone, without needing to call up the OnStar response team at all. It will also allow voice recognition of when you need directions and will use Google Maps to find and transmit them to the driver via OnStar. So technically you’re still using Google’s navigation system, but it will be through OnStar. The turn by turn navigation that OnStar offers will then refine those directions for a more user-friendly process.

General Motors has already planned to allow the Chevrolet Volt and OnStar to synchronise with smartphones, including the ability to remotely charge and monitor the battery, which will be a vital feature for the new wave of electric vehicles.

These will be much needed features if GM hopes to become a leading player in the in-car information system sector, since Microsoft’s Sync for Ford vehicles has already become the popular choice. Even without that Bluetooth, GPS and smartphone technology has advanced so quickly that OnStar seemed to be lagging behind big time, offering what these newer technologies offer in a somewhat dated fashion. Couple that with a fee and it’s understandable why OnStar has been a less desireable choice for many car users.

According to General Motors OnStar has over 5.5 million users. With Google’s Android in the mix these figures may increase quite substantially over the coming years.