updated 01:30 pm EST, Mon February 23, 2009
Kindle 2 now at Amazon
Amazon is listing the much-anticipated Kindle 2 e-book reader as in stock at its online store, or one day ahead of its earlier expected release date. The second generation of the device is thinner (0.36in), has a 20 percent faster e-paper screen and improves battery life by 25 percent. Storage comes from 2GB of internal flash memory. A newfound feature is the Kindle 2's text-to-speech capability that can read out books thanks to its built-in stereo speakers. Navigation now comes via a five-way directional pad instead of the first Kindle's side strip.
Like in the original device, users download purchased content via a no-charge EVDO data network connection from Sprint. There is also a USB port for synchronizing with Macs and Windows-based PCs. There is no more memory card slot for removable storage, however. A 3.5mm headphone jack lets users listen to their e-books in private or crowded, loud environments.
Despite the improvements and new features, the Kindle 2 is priced at $359, or the same as the retail price for the original device.