Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos revealed the Kindle 2 (pictured here) today at a press conference held at Morgan Library in Manhattan. The Kindle is an electronic book reader produced by Amazon that allows users to download and read books, magazines, newspapers, and more.
Amazon is offering Kindle 1 owners first priority in purchasing the new device, which will be released Feb. 24. But for those who have Kindle 1, is Kindle 2 worth buying?
After watching Amazon’s video showcasing the device, I’m perfectly satisfied with my Kindle 1. The changes to the Kindle seem largely cosmetic. The Kindle 2 is notably slimmer (a third of an inch), longer, and has rounded edges.
Beyond looks, however, the Kindle 2 does offer some new features:
Improved images: The images on Kindle 1 aren’t the best of quality. Kindle 2 fixes this problem by using sixteen shades of gray.
More memory: Without a memory card, the Kindle 1 holds around 200 books. The Kindle 2 can hold about 1,500 books. However, members of the Kindle board at Amazon are perturbed at the fact that there’s no memory card option-an option that the Kindle 1 offered.
Increased battery life: Amazon estimates that users can read on a single charge for two weeks on the Kindle 2 if the wireless is off (if on, it goes down to four days).
Five-way controller: This is a marked improvement from Kindle 1. Kindle 1 uses a side scroller that can be somewhat clumsy, especially when looking up words in the built-in dictionary or trying to navigate the Web.
Quicker page turns: Since the Kindle uses e-ink, each page “blinks” a bit when you “turn” a page. Kindle 2 has “20 percent” faster page turns. (However, I can’t help but laugh at how they quantify the fastness of page turns).
Text-to-speech: This addition is the coolest. You can have the Kindle 2 read to you. However, it wouldn’t be something that I would use anyway.
Smaller buttons: The long “Next Page” and “Previous Page” buttons on Kindle 1 can be a nuisance. They’re easy to accidentally hit. Kindle 2 has smaller buttons to avoid inadvertently changing your page.
To me, these new features aren’t enough for a Kindle 1 owner to even want to purchase the new version. Amazon should have focused its energies on creating a Kindle that’s cheaper (the Kindle 2 has the same price tag as the original Kindle at $359), especially considering people are cutting back on spending money on luxury items. But even if I could afford a Kindle 2, I’d happily stick with my Kindle 1.
Sources: Kindle 2 Product Page. Amazon.
Kindle 1-Kindle 2. Kindle Discussion Forum. Amazon.