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Amazon Unveils Kindle 2 & Phone eBooks

Gordon Kelly


Amazon Unveils Kindle 2 & Phone eBooks

So it's as we thought... exactly. First leaked way back in early October, the Kindle 2 got its widely anticipated announcement today...

In line with what we had seen previously, the Kindle 2 represents a fairly major revamp of its predecessor. Most noticeable is a brand new look which shaves significant bulk from the original design, cutting thickness to an iPhone beating 9mm. An all metal back provides increased durability (at the expense of weight - as at 289g it's only slighter lighter) and there's an enhanced 6in 600 x 800 pixel 16 shade e-ink display.

Look deeper however and the improvements keep on coming. Memory is now up to 2GB - enough for up to 1,500 eBooks, compared to the 200 on the first Kindle - and speakers located on the rear enable users to switch to a text reader mode (useful when driving). Battery life gets a boost too increasing 25 per cent, something Amazon says should see the Kindle 2 last up to two weeks with WiFi disabled (five days with it on).

The keyboard? Yes, many have wanted this replaced with a virtual one to produce a more elegant form factor and while I do agreed Amazon is at least trying to make best use of it with integrated dictionary searches, free Wikipedia access and the ability to receive email. Word and PDF files are also compatible in a read-only mode for those looking to brush up on work when out and about.

As a special bonus the Kindle 2 will come with a specially written Stephen King novella 'UR'. It's a horror tale all about a protagonist who receives a Kindle from Amazon. Hmmmn, I'm sure I could have phrased that better - maybe not! Lastly Amazon is upping its own eBook game with more than 230,000 titles now available for the Kindle to download directly over WiFi while it is cutting prices to $9.99 for best sellers (admittedly not that much less than you can find their tree-bark forms online).

Should the Kindle 2 tickle your fancy then tough. While it will launch in the US on 24 February for $360 (approx. £240) there's still no international release date which suggests a significant wait this side of the Atlantic. *Taps foot impatiently*

In related news Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener has been talking with the New York Times and admits the Kindle won't be its only medium for eBook delivery. "We are excited to make Kindle books available on a range of mobile phones. We are working on that now," he admitted.

Doing itself out of Kindle sales or bowing to the inevitable? I guess we'll see...


Product Page

Press Release


February 10, 2009, 12:46 am

one little correction; the new kindle does not have a 16 color display, it has a 16 "shade" gray-scale display, which is up from a 4 shade gray-scale display on the original version

Matt G Baish

February 10, 2009, 12:49 am

`16 colour e-ink display`

I nearly wet myself when I read that! But alas its just a `16 shades of gray {sic}` display. Oh well one can dream :)

Matt G Baish

February 10, 2009, 12:54 am

To be honest `16 colour` (now that I have calmed down) was obviously incorrect since that would have looked total pants! Imagine 8 solid & 8 flashing `colours` like on the old ZX Spectrum maybe - heh heh.


February 10, 2009, 1:14 am

personally i am more looking forward to being able to buy kindle books for my sony reader. It is very hard to get books for non kindle devices. multiple sites with varying amount of books for different costs


February 10, 2009, 3:09 am

Well will have the cash for one of these on payday this month ( providing the "being british" tax isnt too steep) but it seems amazon dont want us dirty Europeans getting our hands on a swanky ebook/pdf reader any time soon :(

Matt G Baish

February 10, 2009, 4:29 pm

@Keldon - Outside the US/Canada, why would you want it over, say, a Sony or Bookeen (among many other see http://www.mobileread.com/f... No point seeing as how the Whispernet(?) wireless bit isn't supported here; unless you do a lot of travelling in the US I suppose. I don't see anything else compelling about it above any other (cheaper) UK supported reader.

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