Kindle’s Second Coming: $359, Reads Aloud, Syncs Content with Devices

15 Comments

amazon-kindle-21

It’s no big secret that Amazon (s AMZN) planned to announce a successor to their Kindle device today. We’ve already seen the leaked photos of a far-nicer looking device with rounded corners and re-designed buttons. That should address some of the usability features. I hate accidentally hitting the next page button and feeling like I just skipped half a chapter. But what else is new or improved in the next-generation Kindle platform?

  • 2GB of storage memory.
  • 0.36-inches thin.
  • 20% faster page refreshes.
  • 16 shades of greyscale over the original four.
  • 25% longer battery life.
  • An experimental “read-to-me” feature that uses text-to-speech.
  • Same $359 price; you can pre-order today and shipments start on February 24th.

One thing we alluded to last week was Kindle content on other devices. Sure enough, it’s real and it’s spectacular. At least it sounds that way, even if it only works with Kindle 1 and 2 devices for now. Here’s what Amazon says officially:

Amazon’s new “Whispersync” technology automatically syncs Kindle 2 and the original Kindle, which makes transitioning to the new Kindle 2 or using both devices easy for customers. Kindle 2 will also sync with a range of mobile devices in the future.”

No word on what mobile devices we’ll see Kindle content work with, but my money is still on an updated MobiPocket client for starters.

15 Comments

Scotty

Well you may want to hold off.

The update ate my Kindle with an error code of F000 and amazingly its now a boat anchor with no means of recovery other than back to Amazon.

I knew I shouldn’t have pre-ordered that Kindle 2.0. Left the 1.0 unit with thoughts of suicide. :-)

I called customer service and when they wanted to charge me for replacing my “out of warranty unit” I squawked and they got an over-ride to replace the unit no-charge (yes, they saw the pre-order on my account, probably saw the long long list of Kindle books too). Since I have Prime they’re able to send the new unit over night so it will be here tomorrow.

This 1.0 unit was ordered the day Kindle’s went on sale and arrived the next day (good ol’ Prime). It’s worked flawlessly since then.

I guess now I’ll get to see just how good their promise of keeping all my annotations and bookmarks backed up on their servers is. Gulp.

The really annoying part is I’m stuck at home recovering from my latest trip to install more steel in my heart. I’d just bought a whole stack of ebooks to read and I guess I’ll be waiting until Mr. UPS shows up tomorrow now. :-)

Scotty

My Kindle is currently downloading this file from Amazon: FWUO_update-01-144750018-299870016.bin64108.tmp

Looks like new firmware for Kindle 1.0?? Anyone else getting this?

No1

I’d have to agree with Lee, too expensive, and not enough functionally, especially for people outside of the states.

I have been using my old Palm Zire 72 as an ebook reader, and it functions brilliantly, even though the battery is a bit worn by now. But at that price I’ll using a netbook instead, even an iPod Touch would make more sense, even if I still have yet to buy an Apple product ;-)

SAM

Adobe Acrobat full version does voice reading.
How large is the screen?
Does it read pdf’s, doc or lit files?
Why doesn’t it have colour, my Fujitsu u810 has a colour screen and is small?

Boca

Order today and it will be delivered in time for the Christmas holidays:)

Mike Reilly

Can you get the internet on this, like a b&w netbook with no monthly fees? If so, the price starts to look pretty good.

Scotty

I’ve actually bought enough Kindle content I may have more than 2GB for Amazon to attempt to sync onto my pre-order. Maybe they’ll ship me a custom unit with more flash for being such a good customer? :-)

Joe T.

Hardly “Next Generation.”

– A nice bump in speed.
– Questionable memory bump: A nice bump in internal memory, but it looks like they removed external memory expansion.
– Fixed the placement of page-turn buttons.
– Thinner and flat.

A new, improved model, yes. Not next generation. (Amazon’s news release doesn’t call it that.)

animatio

still a poor perfomer (a small 2 gb and still only 16 shades of grey) at this prize for one function only …. i simply turn my netbook sidways with any ereader on – that’s it

Jasen

On a side note, reading novels on the iphone/ipod touch is just too small for me, but its a fair compromise to not have to carry another device.

Jasen

I am really curious about the text-to-speech function, and how usable that is. To me, that is a potential game changer.

Lee

Why would I want this? Who is the market for this? I could buy a brand spanking new netbook for around the same price or get an iPod Touch or iPhone for less. I have, at any given time, probably 15 full length novels on my iPhone which I read using the teriffic ereader software. And as long as I can grab an internet connection somewhere, I have access to hundreds of thousands of other titles.

I love the idea of a dedicated e-book reader, I just don’t understand the appeal of this one – especially when it weighs in at $360.00

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