updated 10:35 am EST, Mon February 9, 2009
Amazon Kindle 2
Amazon this morning confirmed the launch of the Kindle 2, the second generation of its e-book reader. The new model has a much more iPod-like aesthetic with an aluminum back, rounded curves and a much thinner (0.36in) design. It also has a 20 percent faster e-paper screen, 25 percent longer battery life (up to 14 days with wireless off) and 2GB of built-in storage. It also has a new text-to-speech feature that reads books aloud through built-in stereo speakers. A new 5-way directional pad replaces the earlier side strip for controls.
The reader continues to use a free, Sprint-based EVDO connection for downloading books and other content over 3G and has a USB port for data connections with Macs and Windows PCs; gone, however, is a card slot for removable storage. It further carries a 3.5mm headphone jack for private listening. Format support is still relatively narrow with Audible and Kindle formats being supported for protected books while MobiPocket, PRC, PDF, TXT and Word are supported for unprotected documents.
True to leaks, Amazon plans to ship the Kindle 2 on February 24th for the same $359 price as the original model. An exclusive Stephen King novella, Ur, is also being made available. While books vary in price, newspaper subscriptions are still available for between $6 and $15 a month; readers can also get blogs pre-formatted for the Kindle 2's screen by paying 99 cents each per momth.