Kindle 2 to fan flames for e-books?

In Tuesday's IT Blogwatch, Richi Jennings watches Amazon launch its "new, improved" e-book reader. Not to mention corpulence pedagogy...

Matt Hamblen has the feeds and speeds:

Kindle 2
Amazon.com Inc. CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled the Kindle 2 today, a thinner, lighter version of the original e-reader the company introduced 14 months ago. The new device, at 10.2 oz., is also 0.36 in. thick ... has a 6-in. diagonal display with 600-by-800-pixel resolution ... 20% faster, and a new text-to-speech feature.

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Internal storage is seven times greater than the earlier model, with 2GB ... has 25% longer battery life than before ... [which] will allow a user to read on a single charge for up to four days with the wireless connection turned on.
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Peter Kafka is bored with the eponyms:

Automatic sync–can sync content between Kindle 1.0, Kindle 2 and “in the future, other mobile devices.” (That last part is interesting…) ... New “five-way” navigation tool (basically, akin to a laptop trackball. Anything will be better than the old “two-way” navigation, which was very clumsy.)

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Adding newspapers: You can pay to have USA Today delivered to the device. Same with The New Yorker. Not mentioned so far: Web browser. Wonder if they’ve gotten rid of it. Kindle 1.0 owners who want to buy the new model don’t get a discount–but they can get theirs before the rest of us.
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Barbara Krasnoff counts the pennies:

Amazon introduced its new Kindle 2 today with the usual overblown claims that any product vendor is bound to make. What has Amazon done, at least according to CEO Jeff Bezos? It's saved ... "long form" reading from potential oblivion.

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It's hard -- especially if you're what used to be called a bookworm -- not to want to play with one of these devices ... But it is also $359 -- before you start buying your books. It will be interesting to see how well luxury items such as the Kindle do over the next few months.
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Jason Hamilton does the math:

The thing with the Kindle is that it includes "free" online access to locate and deliver books. so you can be anywhere and look for and purchase a new book. the book is then delivered to your kindle. Most other ebooks are just displays.

I think until there is any significant threat to kindle, you're going to see the price stay high.
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But Andrew Hoehn doesn't get it:

Being able to buy a book from anywhere is great, but not worth an extra $200 for me. I would happily restrict myself to only being able to buy books when I'm plugged into my computer via USB, or in range of a wifi network if it meant that I could buy a Kindle for $150 instead of $350.

I don't understand why Amazon insists on only selling one expensive version of this product. If they released a cheaper version sans cellular capabilities, I think they'd sell lots more, and by extension sell many more e-books.
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John Timmer gets his hands dirty:

I had the chance to do a brief hands-on with the Kindle 2 after its introduction today; in contrast to last time around, review copies were not available to the press. I've gone on record with a list of complaints about the first generation version, and suggested that there may have been little Amazon could do, given its reliance on E-Ink for that hardware. It appears that E-Ink has come through for them in a big way, and the Kindle 2 is a far better device as a result.

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Overall, I have to say that the Kindle 2 is a far superior device to the first iteration, and really shows an attention to detail that, based on the earlier device, it wasn't clear that Amazon had in it. More significantly, perhaps, is the fact that the company has clearly made sensible fixes to many of the problems, which demonstrates a clear commitment to listening to its customers. The changes give me hope that, when the hardware's ready, the remaining issues (primarily the keyboard and the small screen) will be fixed.
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And finally...

Previously in IT Blogwatch:

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 23 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email: blogwatch@richi.co.uk.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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