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Supposed Shot of the Amazon Kindle 2  (Source: Gizmodo)
Amazon is said to be announcing a new Kindle 2 reader today with an exclusive novel from Stephen King has been around for years now and offers a wide array of gadgets, electronics, books, and other wares at prices often better than you can find in local stores. The giant e-tailer has become such a popular shopping destination that it is one of the reasons many states are seeking to tax online and digital sales.

One of the most popular products on is one that it makes itself -- the Amazon Kindle. The Kindle is an eBook reader that offers a large screen with high contrast and is about the size of a typical book. Amazon launched the device and was quickly overwhelmed with the product demand leading to significant shortages of the device.

In fact, Amazon was unable to meet the demand and the product was unavailable over the important Christmas holiday shopping season last year. The current Kindle isn’t expected to be available until this month, if it is available at all.

Amazon is set to release a new version of its Kindle reader called the Kindle 2. The new reader hasn't been officially announced yet, but according to The Wall Street Journal, today is the launch day for the device.

Only little tidbits of information are known about the Kindle 2, one of which is that it will have a larger screen from the same maker as the original screen. Amazon is also expected to announce something that will put fear into the hearts of traditional publishers. Amazon will have Stephen King's newest novel as an exclusive for its device for an unknown period. The King story reportedly has a Kindle-like device at the heart of the tale.

As for the long and much talked about delays in getting stock of the original Kindle, official reasons haven't been offered by Amazon. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos would only say, "We had anticipated strong demand and what we saw was stronger than that. So, we're extremely grateful for that, and we will keep marching forward here."

The Wall Street Journal reports that the screen of the original Kindle and the Kindle 2 are made by Chinese firm Prime View. When Prime View was asked about the delays a spokeswoman told the WSJ, "It wasn't about delivery delay. The sales were just faster than expected."

An analyst from iSuppli, Vinita Jakhanwal said, "Amazon might be managing the Kindle availability as it wants to keep the buzz on its product and improve features and performance with the launch of the second generation product. There doesn't seem to be any specific reason why Amazon was unable to meet the demand with its first generation product."

Amazon has been mum on exactly how many of the Kindle devices it sold so far. Estimates put the number at 500,000 to date based on data from Sprint Nextel, who provides the mobile broadband connection that the Kindle uses to download books wirelessly. Jakhanwal predicts that the Kindle will bring Amazon $1.2 billion in sales by 2010. The hoards of people still waiting for the original Kindle will presumably be receiving the new model, assuming Amazon can make enough Kindle 2 readers.


The Kindle 2 is now official and listed on the site for pre-order. According to the official page, the Kindle 2 is set to ship on February 24 for $359. The device is a bit more than 1/3 of an inch thick, weighs 10.2 ounces, and has integrated 3G wireless connectivity with no monthly fees.

Amazon says that the battery life is 25% longer and pages turn 20% faster than on the original. The new device offers text-to-speech and can read stories to you. The display is a 6-inch diagonal E-Ink unit with a resolution of 600 x 800 pixels at 167 ppi in 16-level gray scale.

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RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By bjacobson on 2/9/2009 11:21:52 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah I'm not sure what Amazon is doing. For this thing to be worth it it needs to be ~$50. I could instead buy a 10" screen 9.5h battery life Acer netbook with the $350 the Kindle currently costs.

RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By TomZ on 2/9/2009 11:34:27 AM , Rating: 2
What, never heard of "early adopters tax"?

Kindle is a great service for Amazon. They make money on selling the reader, then they have a recurring revenue stream of selling content for it over and over and over. Plus many customers will toss out their "old" Kindle after a couple of years and buy a new one. Nice.

RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By Bateluer on 2/9/2009 12:36:49 PM , Rating: 3
Technology improves, fact of life. So long as they're not forcing user's to rebuy all their previously purchased books, most people won't have a problem with it. Thus far, Amazon hasn't started acting like the MPAA or RIAA.

The Kindle's price tag is too high for me though, I'd rather they get it down to 199 or less.

RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By callmeroy on 2/9/2009 12:23:55 PM , Rating: 2
At least I'm not alone then. I thought the same thing. The day I went to Amazon and saw the reviews of the stupid chumps plunking down in some cases $500 for this gadget I was like --- wow that saying really IS true "There's a sucker born every minute"....

So its a digital book platform right? That costs as much as a next gen console? um.....oook...hher...hheere's my $350.....NOT!

RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By whiskerwill on 2/9/09, Rating: 0
RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By Parhel on 2/9/2009 12:38:34 PM , Rating: 2
You really have to see the screen in person to understand how this differs from reading a book on your laptop. The "digital ink" or whatever they call it is quite impressive.

I wouldn't buy one either at $350, and probably not even at $50. It's too big. I like regular trade paperbacks. Mainly, I want something that will easily fit in my coat pocket.

RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By fic2 on 2/9/2009 12:47:42 PM , Rating: 3
$350 == ~43 paperbacks or up to 350 if you buy them used at Goodwill. I might buy one at $50, but I would have to know the DRM crap involved. After I finish reading can I sell the ebook or even give it to a friend? At work we have a user donated library that everyone is constantly donating books to and reading books from. Could we do the same with Kindles?

RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By Bateluer on 2/9/2009 1:34:51 PM , Rating: 2
While I never resell a book I've bought, leading to my rather large personal library, I do occasionally loan books out to friends provided they can be responsible enough to return the book in identical condition. I don't see this easily happening on an e-book reader without some massive anti-consumer DRM implementation.

I have been scanning the Kindle store and I see a lot of Kindle versions are cheaper than the print version, which will act in its favor. A paperback at a B&M bookstore can be 7.99 or more. A hardcover can range from 15 to 40, excluding a textbook or similar. 'Paperbacks' at the Kindle store seem to be around 5.50 and newly released hardcovers are around 9.99. I just looked at Bone Crossed, a recently released fiction novel I'm going to pick up in a week. Its 14 for the print version, plus shipping, but only 9.99 for the Kindle version.

RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By masher2 on 2/9/2009 3:26:13 PM , Rating: 4
While I never resell a book I've bought, leading to my rather large personal library, I do occasionally loan books out to friends provided they can be responsible enough to return the book in identical condition
I've found that requiring them to leave a major organ in a jar on my shelf as collateral is usually effective.

RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By afkrotch on 2/9/2009 2:39:52 PM , Rating: 2
I use a Sony e-reader. I just download books off mininova. At least, the ones I own. I don't read many books, so I have few books to put on it.

My main reason for buying it was to read all my scantalated manga.

RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By PrinceGaz on 2/9/2009 10:15:03 PM , Rating: 2
I hope those books from mininova are no longer covered by copyright as otherwise what you are doing is likely to be illegal.

Personally I've found it is much easier to stick with printed books, especially as they are very durable and there is no need to charge them up, and if you leave one in the pub after a few beers, it is no great loss. They're also smaller and lighter as you only need to carry enough of the pages you printed-off to last you through that day, and once you've read them, you can dispose of them. Obviously there is still the slight copyright thing, but it could be argued I'm doing the publisher a favour by saving them money on printing costs. Possibly.

I'll probably go down the e-book reader route sooner or later, but when it is easier just to carry around what you need of the book you are reading on good old ink and paper, I don't feel much need to switch.

RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By Keeir on 2/9/2009 3:23:38 PM , Rating: 3
Something I think that gets lost in the Kindle is the Free EVDO access (lifetime I believe).

I have a relative that had to move to the east end of forever for a job. They get OK EVDO access, but there is no broadband internet and the closest bookstore is more than 1 hour away.

The Kindle allows them to purchase and read books without buying them online and shipping them. In the long run, the lower price of the Kindle books + the convience factor should make up a large percentage difference for many users

RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By kkwst2 on 2/9/2009 3:57:53 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm, as best I can tell, you can actually use this device for text-based web browsing. So that with free EVDO certainly increases the usefulness of the device.

The two main shortcomings of the device to me are the lack of memory expansion (no SDHC slot, why??), and not supporting audio formats other than mp3. It would be nice to have WMA, flac, etc. support so I wouldn't have to re-encode stuff.

RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By Keeir on 2/9/2009 9:25:36 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, its far from perfect, but I do think that people look at the 350 dollar price tag and forget that there is probably a good 100 dollar+ markup for the lifetime EVDO access. Even if you only value the ability to download from anywhere there is EVDO access at 4-5 dollars a month (since most cell companies are charging 30 dollars a month for unlimited data, 5 dollars seems semi reasonable for such limited access), over 20-24 months you hit the 100 dollar range....

RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By theapparition on 2/9/2009 12:54:56 PM , Rating: 3
Kindle lasts far longer. E-ink easier to read. Can download books virtally anywhere vs. wi-fi, etc.

While you don't think it's worth it, considering the cost of one book of around $20, this thing pays for itself rather quickly.

RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By tdawg on 2/9/2009 1:11:35 PM , Rating: 2
While you don't think it's worth it, considering the cost of one book of around $20, this thing pays for itself rather quickly.

You still have to pay for books, unless you are only interested in the free classics available online. While ebooks may be cheaper for new releases and such than their physical alternatives, the point at which the Kindle2 pays for itself is much further out.

The benefit of these ereaders is the convenience factor and form factor. You can carry around a bevy of NYT bestsellers in one device, rather than 6 new hardcovers in your luggage (frequent travelers and the like). Oh, and these e-ink devices are much easier on the eyes than a laptop/netbook lcd screen when it comes to reading for long periods of time.

I'm still not sold on these, but if this or the sony hit the $100 threshold, I'd probably bite. However, I still enjoy having a physical book in my hand and the ability to loan good books to friends, so I don't know if I'll ever be able to convince myself that an ereader is the way to go.

By theapparition on 2/9/2009 1:18:37 PM , Rating: 1
Yes you have to pay for the books as well, but at a substantially cheaper price. If your an avid reader, it will absolutely pay for itself.

If you spend more time playing COD or browsing the web, than obviously this is not the product for you.

RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By afkrotch on 2/9/2009 2:59:53 PM , Rating: 2
My only complaints on an e-reader is battery. Mine is pretty much worthless at home, as I use my computer to read, so I just keep it sitting in the bathroom or kitchen. They are pretty inconvienent when the battery runs out.

Not sure how the kindle works out, but the Sony e-reader is worthless while charging. It charges via USB and you cannot read from it while it charges. I don't have the a/c adapter as it's $30 and I really don't feel like buying it, so don't have a clue if it's useable while it charges with that.

I don't buy the a/c adapter as I can charge it via USB at home and can do the same from my notebook while I'm on the go.

RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By tdawg on 2/9/2009 5:24:30 PM , Rating: 2
How quickly does your battery die? I thought the typical ereader was good for 7500+ page turns? Are you listening to music or audio books?

RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By MozeeToby on 2/9/2009 1:13:00 PM , Rating: 2
Like most things, value is the the eye of the beholder.

In this case, the Kindle has an e-Ink display which is much easier on the eyes than a backlit one is. It has no boot time or shutdown time and a battery life measured in thousands of page turns (the display doesn't use power to display the image, on to change it).

Finally, the kindle book store is much, much cheaper than paperbacks. Doing the math I came out with it taking about 3 years to pay for itself in savings for my reading habits. I don't know of any other eBook store online that sells nearly as many books, or as cheaply.

RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By Oregonian2 on 2/9/2009 11:21:38 PM , Rating: 2
That Acer have a 10" e-paper display? Have you seen a kindle display? It's WAY WAY better than an LCD for long term "book" reading. No comparison in terms of eye strain. Yes, I have a Kindle (1).

Does that Acer have a FREE 3G cell phone connection to the internet internal to it?

Why only 9.5 hours? As long as the cell phone link is turned off, the Kindle 2's battery lasts a couple weeks, not just 9.5 hours (and I think four days with it on).

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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