Kindle 2.0 available for Pre-Order

The main news is that Kindle 2.0 is available for pre-order for $359. It actually Ships in 2 weeks on Feb 24th.

News from the Press Conference and a Press Release -

… introduced Amazon Kindle 2, the new reading device that offers Kindle’s revolutionary wireless delivery of content in a new slim design with longer battery life, faster page turns, over seven times more storage, sharper images, and a new read-to-me feature. Kindle 2 is purpose-built for reading with a high-resolution 6-inch electronic paper display that looks and reads like real paper, which lets users read for hours without the eyestrain caused by reading on a backlit display.

Here are the main new features and improvements (i’ve indicated ones that I think aren’t really improvements – thanks to Dennis for pointing it out) -

  1. A Text to Speech feature called Read to Me – it’s experimental – however it sounds like it rocks.  
  2. [More just availability] I really like that they have pre-orders available. 
  3. [Good customer service] Also a good decision to update everyone who has a pending Kindle order to a Kindle 2.0 order.  
  4. [Availability again] It ships Feb 24th.  
  5. The screen is now 16 color grayscale – big improvement from 4 color grayscale in the original Kindle. 
  6. Battery Life has been improved by 25% – which is pretty impressive i.e. 4-5 days with wireless on. A really good point by Dennis that you could, for $20, get an extra battery and double your battery life. However, it’s still a bit of an improvement.
  7. It’s impressively thin at just 0.36 inches. That’s ridiculous.  
  8. The buttons have been made smaller so people hopefully don’t face the same ‘random page-turn’ and ‘page turn by accident’ problems.
  9. No SD card and an in-built 2 GB memory. I wonder if it has something to do with discouraging people from using their kindle as an all-purpose storage device. I actually think this is a mistake. It reduces the utility of Kindle 2.0.

I’m tending towards a B grade – mostly because of the Read to Me feature and incremental improvements. I think the really big things that are missing are -

  1. International support. 
  2. More openness – replaceable battery, SD card slot.  
  3. An app platform.
  4. A jump in technology. These are all incremental improvements.  

Given past trends it’s highly likely that Kindle 2 will sell out much before the Feb 24th release – perhaps even in the next few days. If you’re sure you want one, buy Kindle 2 now.

8 Responses

  1. does it have a user-servicable battery or not? i still cant find any info on that, although i assume not. if not, then i wont buy one. i wont EVER buy another product with a sealed-in ipod-style battery.

  2. How are numbers 2,3,4 actual improvements to the Kindle? “Shipping Feb 24th” is an improvement

    As for the others…
    Improvement #1 – If I wanted my Kindle to read me a bed time story I would download the audiobook instead. Nicer voice.

    Improvement #5 – indeed that is an improvement. Not sure I care about the higher numbers of greyscale when reading text however. Might be nice for books with pictures and internet browsing might be better… but I turn off images anyway..

    Improvement #6 – Certainly an improvement – but compare a 20% improvement with a 100% inprovement by simply buying areplacement battery for $20

    Improvement #7 – I agree thinner is better..

    Improvement #8 – if this works that is an improvement

    Improvement #9 – WHAT????? NO SD support? I don’t think so. I have 3 2GB SD’s loaded with books/user guides/ etc. In addition transfering docs and free ebooks by just copying to the SD is better than carrying around the USB.

    I thought about upgrading to this and giving my Kindle to my son. I think maybe I;ll look at 3.0

  3. Well, I’m very disappointed. It’s nice and thin and all, but it is no where as solid looking as the new Sony reader and without the SD slot, it ain’t worth it.

    I dump lots of technical pdfs to the Kindle and have a ton of books on it. And I agree with Dennis. Transfer to the card are much much easier.

    I was planning to do the same with my 13 year as Dennis but he’s saying now that he will probably go with a Sony or a used generation 1.

  4. As a K1 owner? I’m not interested in this device *AT ALL*. It’s a step backward in every way except for the screen.

  5. Also, what if you placed an order for a K1 and don’t WANT to be upgraded? Are they allowing that?

  6. Jim K, I am going to guess you can’t opt for the Kindle V1.

    Kevin, I do the same. I have one SD card that has (converted) PDFs. It is nice to have (though search can be really really slow).

    Which brings to mind that if Kindle 2.0 had an uber improved search capability (as in fast and better functionality) I might be tempted to shell out the money.

    It is tough to consider buying one of these when I could buy something like an Acer Aspire One for about the same price.

  7. Actually Amazon sells the Aspire One for less than the Kindle

  8. I really like the Aspire One…Small, light and pretty good on batteries. It had two issue everyone complained about (fan and hard drive noise). One simple utility fixes both and it is great.

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