The new Kindle 2 was released during a press conference in New York this morning. The LA Times reports:
Just like Kindle 1.0, it’ll cost $359…It is .36-inch thick, 25% thinner than the iPhone. Earlier today, the Wall Street Journal broke the news that Stephen King would write a Kindle-only (for now) piece that includes a Kindle-like device. King…read from the work at the (press conference) event.
King’s involvement may say less about where Kindle may factor in the publishing production chain (an inevitable leap, discussions sure to follow) than it does about the author’s willingness to explore new technologies. In August 2008, he launched a Web-only animated series, “N.” For King, who’s made a habit of writing more than his publishers can keep up with, these new venues provide a way of getting his writing out into the world instead of waiting until it’s time for a new book.
But back to the Kindle 2. Its pages turn faster than the old Kindle. It’s 3G, so can download books anyplace with 3G networks. It will read text aloud to you. (Gizmodo was unimpressed and gave the robot-y voice a “meh.”) And it begins shipping Feb. 24.
The six-inch, 600×800 electronic paper display includes 16 shades of gray, compared to the 4 shades available on the original Kindle. Like its predecessor, Kindle 2 does not use backlighting in an effort to eliminate eyestrain and glare.
Kindle 2 also features a redesigned, more portable power charger. With one charge, the Kindle 2 will last up to five days with wireless turned on and for two weeks with wireless powered off, Amazon said.
The revamped e-reader comes with 2GB of memory, which will hold up to 1,500 books. The original Kindle came with 180MB of onboard memory, or about 200 books.
Some people love their Kindles. I’m sure the Kindle 2 will continue to impress. I’m not an early adopter, so I’m waiting around for the Kindle to either evolve into something that rolls up, or for its eye-friendly technology to become one with the Apple iPhone. Amazon certainly seems to be on the right track.