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) -
- A Text to Speech feature called Read to Me – it’s experimental – however it sounds like it rocks.
- [More just availability] I really like that they have pre-orders available.
- [Good customer service] Also a good decision to update everyone who has a pending Kindle order to a Kindle 2.0 order.
- [Availability again] It ships Feb 24th.
- The screen is now 16 color grayscale – big improvement from 4 color grayscale in the original Kindle.
- 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.
- It’s impressively thin at just 0.36 inches. That’s ridiculous.
- The buttons have been made smaller so people hopefully don’t face the same ‘random page-turn’ and ‘page turn by accident’ problems.
- 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 -
- International support.
- More openness – replaceable battery, SD card slot.
- An app platform.
- 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.