Amazon's announcement today of the Kindle 2 has reignited interest in its groundbreaking e-book platform.
Here's our take on the new features. Add your own thoughts to the comments to share your take on the new version.
1) Smaller form factor. "Thinner than an iPhone" is Amazon's point of comparison for the newer, svelter Kindle. To the degree that a thinner Kindle is a lighter and easier to hold Kindle, then it's slimmer profile is a positive enhancement.
2) Crisper, faster display. Like my hair, the Kindle 2.0 screen is sporting more shades of gray these days. While early reviewers have said that the new screen technology doesn't create a noticeable difference, higher resolution theoretically means e-books that are easier to read and that are closer to the contrast and readability of ink on paper.
3) 2 gigs of on-board memory. You can never have too much money, and gadget owners can never have too much memory. While it's not likely that anyone is likely to fill up 2 gigs of memory out of the gate, having built in memory saves Kindle customers from having to shell out for an optional memory card.
4) Read-to-me feature. Using text-to-speech technology, the new Kindle will read to you in an easy to understand but decidedly computer-generated voice. As I wrote previously, I wish Amazon would have enabled the ability to read a Kindle book while listening to the audio version. Time will tell, but I don't predict that having a Cylon read your novels to you will be very popular.
5) Whispersync will synchronize your progress across multiple Kindles, and, soon, multiple devices. I'm not sure how many Kindle owners have multiple Kindles they read the same book on, so out of the gate this feature doesn't impress me much. The real promise, when viewed in light of the news that Amazon will be making Kindle e-books available on the iPhone, it may be that Amazon will bring Whispersync to other platforms sooner rather than later. This would mean that you could start to read a chapter from a novel on your Kindle in the morning, and pick right up where you left off and read the rest of the chapter at work on your iPhone at lunch. This has the potential to be very convenient and very cool.
6) Exclusive Stephen King novella. UR, written exclusively for the Kindle, will be available for $2.99 near the end of the month. It's great that Amazon is exploring new models such as commissioning content for the Kindle. It's not clear if this represents a commitment to new publishing models or a publicity tactic to mark the launch of the new device.
So, will any of the new features prompt you to purchase a Kindle 2.0?
Take our poll to express your opinion!