A new update of Kindle application is up in the AppStore (link). It brings a long-awaited functionality – a dictionary look-up. Together with a possibility to search through the book content, now available also for iPad, it becomes an unexpected alternative to standalone dictionary applications for iOS.
Opposite to major competitors, iBooks and Stanza, Kindle introduced dictionary functionality in a much smarter way. After update is complete, when you open an application and sync it with your account, you see a new book on your shelf: The New Oxford American Dictionary with 250,000 entries and definitions.
In my opinion adding a content of application’s dictionary as a separate book is a brilliant idea.
Why? Because it makes a great standalone dictionary application out of Amazon’s app. If you’re looking for a word, just open Kindle, then The New Oxford American Dictionary and tap the magnifying glass icon. You’re searching through the content of a book, which IS a dictionary.
This gives a benefit, no other dictionary app has (as well as iBooks and Stanza). Kindle can explain words in a dictionary entry itself. Dictionary-as-a-function adds a second layer to dictionary-as-a-book. This is especially helpful for non-English users.
From other things I really like the idea that a dictionary entry is being shown after first tap at the bottom of the screen. In iBooks it’s one of the options to choose from a navigation bar (=one more tap). Even more steps it takes to get a definition in Stanza.
Additionally you can look up for words in Google and Wikipedia.