Amazon Introduces Kindle 2
Amazon.com Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos announced the arrival of Kindle 2, the second version of the online retailer's electronic reading device, at a press conference in New York City Feb. 9. The new device is available for pre-order for $359 at http://www.Amazon.com/kindle2 and will ship Feb. 24.
Calling the Kindle "a seemless, integrated reading experience," Bezos addressed a packed auditorium at The Morgan Library & Museum in midtown Manhattan. He highlighted several of the key features of the latest version:
• At 0.36-inches thick, Kindle 2 is 25-percent thinner than its predecessor. "It was an incredible engineering challenge," said Bezos.
• Kindle 2's 6-inch, 600 X 800 pixel electronic paper display provides 16 shades of gray compared with the four shades available in the original Kindle.
• With 2 GB of memory and the capacity to hold more than 1,500 books, Kindle 2 provides seven times more storage than the original.
• A "text-to-speech" feature gives users the option of having the Kindle 2 read to them. Pages turn automatically while the content is being read, so users can listen hands-free. Users also can choose whether to be read to by a male or female voice, and at varying speeds.
• With 25-percent longer battery life, Kindle 2 users can read for four to five days on one charge with wireless on, and for more than two weeks with wireless turned off. "Kindle 2 sips battery power," commented Bezos.
• Amazon's new Whispersync technology automatically syncs Kindle 2, the original Kindle and, in the future, other mobile devices.
“Kindle 2 is everything customers tell us they love about the original Kindle, only thinner, faster, crisper, with longer battery life, and capable of holding hundreds more books. If you want, Kindle 2 will even read to you—something new we added that a book could never do,” said Bezos. He also noted that Amazon's Kindle Store now offers more than 230,000 e-books—up from 90,000 when the original Kindle launched. "And 40,000 of those [e-books] have been added in the last three months," he said.