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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

Amazon.com 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 Amazon.com 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.

Update:

The Kindle 2 is now official and listed on the Amazon.com 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 Cypherdude1 on 2/9/2009 9:51:18 PM , Rating: -1
At 6 inches, the screen is still too small. Also, the included RAM is only 2 GB. My inexpensive Samsung MP3 player has 4 GB, twice as much! Why is Amazon so stingy with the RAM anyway?

Until Amazon comes up with a Kindle which has the same screen space as a regular book, 8½" x 11", with the same aspect ratio, Kindle really isn't a viable option. I can't believe most people will want to squint at a small 6" screen to read their books. With paper books, you have the additional advantage of highlighting and writing notes, if you wish. In fact, at 2 GB, I highly doubt Kindles even show graphics such as pictures, diagrams or graphs. If I'm wrong, please correct me.


RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By PrinceGaz on 2/9/2009 10:27:04 PM , Rating: 4
Why would you want a Kindle with a 8.5" x 11" screen?

The whole point of an eBook is that it replaces carrying a conventional paperback in your pocket, not that it replaces large hardbacked books.

A small 6" screen? 6" diagonal is more than enough for most novels, and they continue to sell very well indeed. Personally its the space around the 6" screen I'd want reduced, as an eBook reader needs only a few buttons, not a full keyboard.

As for your problem with it only having 2GB, have you checked recently exactly how many novels you could fit into that 2GB of space. Even the lengthy sci-fi/fantasy novel I'm reading with several detailed maps took less than 4MB. I think being able to carry 500 books in the 2GB would keep me supplied with enough to read for many years.


RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By Oregonian2 on 2/9/2009 11:10:14 PM , Rating: 5
Yes, most books seem to take about 300K or so. Keep in mind that most books are text-only and that the files are compressed (and text compresses very well). The king james bible (project Gutenberg) is only around 2-MB.

Note also that if one is having trouble squinting, the font is user selectable (just hit the fontsize button).

That said I prefer the SD card in the Kindle version 1. I've an 8GB SDHC card in there (albeit pretty much fully empty :-).

My biggest beef with the new version is that they went from user replaceable batteries to iPod style internal non-user-replaceable batteries (and on the kindle, the unit's thinness doesn't really buy anything -- doesn't go in one's pocket).


"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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