Amazon.com is hoping to snag even more customers for the electronic books it sells by releasing a version of its Kindle e-reader software for phones that use Google's increasingly popular Android operating system.
The free Kindle for Android software will be out this summer and will join a growing roster of programs for such products as Apple's iPhone and iPad and Research In Motion's BlackBerry smartphones.
The software lets users read books they have bought from Amazon's online Kindle store. As with other versions of the online retailer's Kindle software, Kindle for Android keeps track of where you are in a book. That means you can start reading on an Android phone and continue at the same place on a Kindle e-reader or another gadget with Kindle software.
It's a way for Amazon to make money from e-book sales from people who may not own the $259 Kindle device or the larger-screen Kindle DX, which costs $489.
Amazon has been building up its Kindle ecosystem as competition rises in the e-book market from Apple, Sony and Barnes & Noble. All three companies sell devices that, like the Kindle, can get e-book downloads directly over wireless connections. Apple's iPad, released in April, has been emerging as the first real threat to the Kindle.
Amazon, which is based in Seattle, said Tuesday that the Android Kindle software offers the ability to switch font sizes and, with a tap or the flick of a finger on the phone's screen, go to the next page in a book.