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tearing the rag off the bush again
Kindle 2: Out of Amazon and Into the Frying Pan PDF E-mail
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Today (Feb. 9th) Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, released details on the new Kindle --creatively dubbed Kindle 2, which means now the original Kindle will forever be referred to as Kindle 1. This news isn’t unexpected, reports and pics of the Kindle 2 were leaked out by TheBoyGeniusReport before Christmas last year. But it is still big news. Amazon as the dominating force in book sales has turned their software goods into good, hard cash with the Kindle 1’s popularity--its sold-out, waiting-list-only status started from its release and continued up until Kindle 2’s launch.

Kindle is Amazon’s answer to a previously questionable e-book market, which began with big-fish hopes almost from the very start of the internet (of course, e-books weren’t the only hopefuls turning their bellies up in the web’s dark sea). Since the internet--really since the radio, but most recently with the internet--the death of print has seemed more and more inevitable. What actually happened was the aforementioned life-support-only, near-death of e-books and slow down of book sales. Or, to be more exact, people were just buying less books and hardly buying e-books at all. Stephen King was the first and most notable failure of the e-book guppies--he tried to publishing online -only early in 2000 and quickly failed. King's eagerness to dive into the sans-paper pool is probably the reason he was tagged by Amazon to write a story for this release.

Almost all news sources are now online. Kindle 1 started out with 90,000 e-book choices and several news and magazine subscription options, now Kindle 2 has 230,000 choices for download. What’s happening is what everyone knew would happen but no one knew when, the green movement has moved into the literary realm. With Kindle, everyone’s going to be eco-readers soon.

Here’s a list of what to expect:

The NEW
1) Kindle 2 has moved the troublesome page-turning button to prevent accidental flipping
2) The battery life has been extended
3) The grayscale-screen has gone from 4-gray to 16-gray shades of gray, gray color
4) 250,000 word Oxford American Dictionary
5) A quasi-computerestic voice which can read books to you
6) MP3 playing capabilities
7) A 2 gigabyte memory capacity

The SAME
1) Always connected to the Sprint network (they call it Whispernet) provided for free and always connected
2) Screen technology which allows for near print-quality reading
3) No need for a computer
4) Lightweight

The UGLY
1) The MP3 playing capability is probably near useless. Having not heard it myself, I can only imagine what kind of quality this thinner Kindle produces
2) The read-aloud function is probably also going to be a disappointment. Even Amazon labels this technology as in a testing phase--they encourage users to tell them what they think. It’s a unique idea to suggest a piece of hardware has a tool that’s only a beta version, something normally used for software which can be adjusted and freely uploaded--you can’t upload better hardware.
3) The 2 Gigabyte storage “upgrade” is a farce. The Kindle 1 had 500 megabytes of storage plus an SD card slot, which could up the storage to 8.5 Gigabytes. If Kindle 2 doesn’t have this slot, then it has less memory, not more, making its use as an MP3 player even more unlikely--MP3 files are large files, think of the IPOD with some users maxing out at 120 Gigabytes.
4) Since the Kindle 1 and 2 both have access to Google and Wikipedia, the new addition of a built in dictionary is of limited convenience
5) Kindle looks like it was made by Apple, because Bezos hired some of the guys who helped design Macs and the iPhone (from FrogDesign). It’s not a bad idea, except they’re almost begging Apple to step into the ring. With the popular iPhone already having an e-reader application (and being a real MP3 player), only the size and screen tech of the Kindle is really any competition. If Steve Jobs gets serious, Bezos will either have to sell Kindle to Apple or throw in the towel--they’re not going to be able to compete.
6) The Kindle is the biggest step in e-books because of its connection to Amazon, any serious improvements to it aren’t likely to come for years. Kindle 1 users don’t have any more reason to switch to the Kindle 2 than a successful fisherman has to switch to a new pond.

Whatever happens the Eco-literary movement is really about to begin.

Who knows what will die next?
Place your bets.
 
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