Amazon Releases Kindle 2

Amazon on Monday announced its second-gen ebook reader Kindle 2 in a press event at New York’s Morgan Library. It will be released on February 24 and is available for preorder at $359. This is the same price as Kindle 1. If you have Kindle 1 order unfulfilled, Amazon will ship you Kindle 2.

So what is new and different and attractive about this new hotness?

  • Kindle 2 looks nicer and is thinner at 0.36 inch. It is slightly lighter at 10.2 ounces compared with 10.3 ounces for Kindle 1.
  • The screen is better with 16 shades of gray and can turn pages 20 times faster.
  • Comes with new Text-To-Speech feature that reads the book to you in either male or female computer voice.
  • Amazon’s new Whispersync feature will allow you to continue your reading when you pick up your ebook on a separate Kindle.
  • There is a new 5-way joystick control instead of slider, for a less clumsy navigation. And keyboard has better layout.
  • It has 2G memory and can hold 7 times more content, about 1,500 titles at a time. Kindle 1 can do about 200.
  • It comes in only white color although a pink color version is used during the press event. Amazon should auction off the pink version for charity.
  • Comes with the New Oxford American Dictionary with 250,000 word definitions that appear instantly at page bottom.
  • Author Stephen King has written a new book “UR” exclusively for this Kindle launch.
  • Kindle Store now has over 230,000 books for you to choose from, 103 of the 110 New York Times best sellers are available. Kindle 1 has about 90,000 books when it first launch. Kindle 2 now also has more newspapers, magazines and blogs to choose from.

With the success of Kindle 1, the times has finally come for mainstream ebook adoption. The momentum continues with Kindle 2. Kindle ebooks now make up 10% of all Amazon book sales and this number can only increase over time.

Amazon has not revealed its plan for international version of Kindle reader but Jeff Bezos said that Amazon is working to make Kindle reading available on mobile phones. No device is mentioned but let’s hope iPhone is one of them.

Will Apple join in the ebook marketplace competition? It would look likely so judging from the enormous iTunes advantage. What Apple lacks is a proper ebook reader hardware. Mr Jobs, are you a Kindle user?