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The New Kindle 2: Why you may want it … (an update)

We love our Kindle. Here’s why you might want one, too …

A handheld e-reader that gained widespread popularity after Oprah gave it away on her “Favorite Things” episode, the Kindle allows users to read novels without the pain of carting around unwieldy paper books. Perfect if you travel a lot or like tossing your book in a bag when you’re on-the-go.

We’ve been fans ever since Amazon introduced it a few years ago, and our tech expert Jeff Parker gave us his take on it. His post “What’s a Kindle and do you want it?” praised its electronic ink, wide-viewing angle, life-like text, long battery life, internet access, indoor/outdoor viewing capabilities, large publication selection and more. Now, the long-awaited Kindle 2 is here with all the right improvements (although there’s at least one we wish had been added).

Below is a rundown from the recent Amazon announcement. You can watch Amazon video demo and order by clicking here.


Slim & Lightweight: Just over 1/3 inch and 10.2 ounces; thinner than many magazines and lighter than most paperbacks

Books in under 60 seconds: Wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle, anytime, anywhere; no monthly fees, service plans, or hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots

Improved Display: Reads like real paper; now boasts 16 shades of gray for crisp images and text; even reads well in bright sunlight

Longer Battery Life: 25% longer battery life; read for days without recharging

More Storage: Take your library with you; holds over 1,500 books

Faster Page Turns: 20% faster page turns than the first Kindle

Read-to-Me: With the new Text-to-Speech feature, Kindle can read every book, blog, magazine, and newspaper out loud to you

No Wireless Bills: No monthly wireless bills, data plans, or commitments. Amazon pays for Kindle’s wireless connectivity

Large Selection: Over 230,000 books, plus U.S. and international newspapers, magazines and blogs available

Low Book Prices: New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases $9.99, unless marked otherwise

Over at PC Magazine reviewer Dan Costa wrote: “With a new look, an enhanced screen, text-to-speech capability, and a host of additional design improvements, Amazon’s Kindle 2 ($359 direct) offers everything that made the original a best-seller, but with a few key refinements. I got some hands-on time with the Kindle 2 and found it even easier to use than its predecessor. While we need to get the device into the PCMag Labs to do some serious comparison testing before we give the product a final rating, my first impression is that this e-book reader seems bound for success.”

And according to PC Magazine writer Lance Ulanoff: “There are many reasons to dislike the Amazon Kindle 2, but as I see it, the benefits still far outweigh the disadvantages. Trust me, you’re going to want a Kindle 2.” Among the list of complaints he addresses are the expensive price ($359), the lack of colors available, it doesn’t let you know what it’s doing, no touch screen, it will kill book publishing and it’s too slow. But Ulanoff is quick to defend the Kindle 2 with each claim. Read all his opinions on why these matters don’t matter here.

Even Steven King is jumping on the Kindle 2 bandwagon. He even wrote a short novella exclusively for the Kindle about the Kindle for the launch, saying that this new generation of e-readers and their rising popularity won’t destroy the publishing industry as many fear. “Take The Police — there’s only two songs in their entire catalog that I might want, because I don’t really like them. But I can enjoy the parts that I do like. But when you talk about a book, you have to have the whole thing. So it seems to me that there’s a more level playing field. Yes, MP3s and iTunes destroyed the CD industry. Nobody’s going to buy the whole if you can just buy a slice. But that doesn’t apply to books,” Stephen King says in an article in by David Kaplan. His prize for his support? A pretty pink Kindle, just for himself.

kindle_inside.jpgWhile we agree that the Kindle is amazing, we wish they’d added a little reading light at the top for when you want to read without bothering the person next to you.

If you want to get one, too, click here to order. Deliveries started February 24th.


Update: Here are some of the latest reviews on the new Kindle 2 …

The New York Times, “A Walk Through A Crop of Readers,” by Danielle Belopotosky, February 26, 2009, pageB7

The Wall Street Journal, “Amazon’s Kindle 2 Improves the Good, Leaves Out the Bad,” by Walter S. Mossberg, February 26, 2009, page D1

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