Amazon Unveils Kindle 2

    February 9, 2009

Rumor had it that Amazon would unveil a new version of its Kindle e-book reader today; pictures of a slim and slick-looking device were already circulating, and Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, had called a press conference in New York.  Now, Amazon’s investors and (slightly) late adopters will be happy to hear that the rumor was realized.

Kindle 2 (yes, that is the official name) should represent an improvement in almost every way.  For starters, it’s only 0.36 inches thick and a little more than 10 ounces in weight.  The display’s better, battery life’s 25 percent longer, and pages turn in 20 percent less time.  There’s even an experimental audio read-to-me feature, and compared to the first Kindle’s 200-book storage capacity, Kindle 2 can hold over 1,500 books.

Amazon Kindle 2
 Amazon Kindle 2

Jeff Bezos also said in a statement, "While we’re excited about Kindle 2, we know that great hardware is useless without vast selection.  That’s why the Kindle Store offers customers over 230,000 books."  And here’s a nifty bonus: Stephen King is releasing a novella called "Ur" that will only be available on Kindle devices. 

Kindle 2s should start shipping on February 24th.  People can preorder them now, and folks who are already in line for the first Kindle will automatically get the new version.  The price is still, for better or worse, $359 (with free shipping).

Amazon hasn’t given much of an indication yet whether the Kindle 2 will be hard to get or if supply issues have finally been worked out.