Tuesday, February 10, 2009

BPN 1300 Kindle 2 slimmer and smarter

This posting is a milestone, in more than one sense. This posting is numbered 1300; since May 1, 2006 I have logged developments in ICT, new media and journalism. And in this posting I treat the launch of the Kindle 2, which will be a powerful stimulus to the sales of eBooks and specific reading devices for the coming year.

The Kindle 2 is not just a successor with some minor changes to the Kindle 1. The predecessor, which was launched a little over a year ago, was smart, but clumsy. But Kindle 2 is slim and smart. It is just less than 1 cm thick and it weighs only 235 grams. The Kindle 2 can hold 1500 books and without charging it has a battery life of two weeks, if the Wifi is switched off. It includes the New Oxford American Dictionary. And NEW: the Read-to-Me button the Kindle 2 can read every book, blog, magazine, and newspaper out loud to you. The 15,2 cm in diameter, 600x800 pixel electronic paper display includes 16 shades of gray, compared to the 4 shades available on the original Kindle. The Kindle 2 is now up to par with the iLiad in screen quality with its 16 gray shades. Like its predecessor, Kindle 2 does not use backlighting.

Kindle 2 uses the same wireless network as the original Kindle: Amazon Whispernet. Customers do not incur a monthly bill for the network costs; Amazon will continue to pay for the wireless network. The new Whispersync technology will sync Kindle 2 and Kindle 1 to help transition, but it will also sync with a range of mobile devices in the future such as iPods, iPhones and Androids.

Last but not least is the portfolio of eBooks. Kindle 1 was launched with 90.000 eBooks in Kindle format (Amazon also owns Mobipocket software and format) . The Kindle store offers now 230.000 eBooks, newspapers, magazines and blogs (an eBook can be downloaded under 60 seconds). The Kindle 2 will cost 359 US dollar, comparable to Kindle 1. Pre-registration has started and delivery will start on February 24, 2009.

The Kindle 2 is still limited to the US. But it will have quite some impact there: the slim line, the better screen, the longer battery life, the greater storage. The eReader fulfils the readability requirement of the success factors. So the eReader combined with the vast portfolio will give a strong stimulus to the new world of eBooks and eReaders. In the US, the Kindle 2 will be a strong competitor to the Sony PRS700 and certainly to the expensive iLiad Book version. In Europe the Sony eReader and the iLiad can still sell on. But what will iRex Technologies do when the Kindle 2 is adapted to the European market?

Blog Posting Number: 1300

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