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Amazon launches Kindle 2

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.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999


    Amazing device...

    Watching a live blog of this being unveiled and it looks like an amazing bit of kit. Not sure about the robotic voice reader though - haha.

    This is a funny post that has just shot up:


  1. lepton

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2005


    Good product - shrink it!

    As a product, it is good, but I would shrink it. Keep the same screen and thickness but shrink the bezel around all four sides by half or two thirds.

    The keyboard can be shrunk because it isn't used frequently. And the edges should only be big enough to keep the page turn buttons handy and easily pressed. Then take it to $299 and bingo! A monster hit.

  1. simdude

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2004


    get rid of the keyboard

    If the goal is to make the device invisible and let people focus on reading, get rid of the keyboard. Make a virtual one like on the iPhone. The page buttons should be left because you use them a lot but ditch the keyboard!

  1. ricardogf

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2003



    $359 for that piece of monochromatic c***? No thanks; I will keep my natural paper books close to me.

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999



    You have to wonder if Apple did an ebook reader...

    Would it have an ugly useless 2" border around the screen?

    Would it cover up the front with a marginally functional keybord that most people will never use?

    Would it leave out the ability to read other types of documents like PDF's, docs, etc?

  1. luckyday

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008



    You have to wonder what would happen if Apple made a human being...

    Would it be as obnoxious?

  1. SierraDragon

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Mar 2004


    Silly device

    The comments and the funny link are the best part of this article...

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: Bah

    Would it leave out the ability to read other types of documents like PDF's, docs, etc?

    Actually, based on what they do with the iPhone and apps, yes, yes they would. You HAVE to get your apps through the app store. Its the reason for the iPhone/iPod touch. You think Apple just wants to allow you to buy a book reader and then not have you give them tons of money for the books themselves?

  1. rtamesis

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2000



    If Apple were to adopt the interface of the iPhone app Classics and use that to sell electronic books, then the iPhone will become a true Kindle killer.

  1. Tofino

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005


    at least..

    it looks better than the last version. it seems amazon has finally found a few bucks to spend on an industrial design that doesn't look like it's been inspired by kryten's head.

    count me out in screaming for book readers, though. as much as i like the availability of them, i much prefer real books. i know people that swear by e-readers and have done so since the day of the newton, but it's my personal opinion (and nothing else) that the aren't going to replace dead trees any time soon.

    magazines and other periodicals make way more sense, but as long as i can read them on their respective websites, i don't see a huge point in paying subscription fees to amazon.

    i think their DRM-induced inability to be shared with others (correct me if i'm wrong there), makes the whole distribution model only appealing for specialized markets, that demand high subscription rates now. face it - who here would still pay $100 bucks a year for hard copy delivery of macweek magazine?

    especially if you couldn't leave it in the bathroom for everybody else to read...

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