The new Kindle came out a couple of weeks ago. Talk about nice looking.
It’s all a thousand times more convenient and more exciting than loading books from a PC with a cable, as you must with Sony’s Reader, the Kindle’s archrival. As a bonus, the Kindle includes a simple Web browser, great for quick wireless Wikipedia checks and blog reading.
Starting today, there’s a new Kindle priced at $359. Amazon calls it the Kindle 2, but Kindle 1.1 would be more like it; the changes are fairly minor. Fortunately, they’re exactly what was needed to turn a very good reader into an even better one.
The page-turn buttons are now much smaller — and the clicky part is on the inward edge of each button — so you no longer set off page turns just by picking the thing up.
The new, square plastic joystick is homely and stiff, but it gets the job done. The back is now brushed aluminum. Turning pages on the Kindle is a tad faster now. The screen shows 16 shades of gray now, not four, so photos look sharper; you can also zoom in and rotate them.
Taking a page from Apple’s playbook, the new Kindle is a sleeker, more sealed-in sort of machine. You can no longer expand storage with a memory card; then again, the built-in memory holds seven times as much — 1,500 books. Think that’ll tide you through the weekend?
The battery is also sealed inside, à la iPhone. Amazon says, however, that it lasts 25 percent longer per charge (four days of reading with wireless turned on, or two weeks if it’s off). If that battery ever needs replacing, Amazon has to do it ($60).
I would love to buy a Kindle but at $359 I’ll wait. I blogged about the Kindle last June. Of course they haven’t lowered the price since then. Back in June I said $150 would be my going price. But if they lowered it to under $300 I might give in. Right now the Kindle is on my Amazon.com wish list.
You can check out the Kindle 2.0 at Amazon.com.