Jeff Bezos kept his word and launched his beloved gadget on time; as a matter, of fact, one day sooner than previously announced. The Seattle-based online retailer said it began shipping the $359 Kindle 2 yesterday to make sure it is going out to customers by today, which was the date it gave when Amazon announced the updated device on Feb. 9th.
The new Kindle keeps the same price as the first version of the e-reader, but is thinner and includes upgraded features. It can store more 1,500 books—instead of 200 in the previous version—and can read text aloud from two small speakers on its back.
A couple of factors made the Kindle a modest hit when it made its debut in November 2007. First, it incorporated a screen made by E Ink that looks amazingly close to ink on paper.
Unlike a laptop or an iPhone, the screen is not illuminated, so there’s no glare, no eyestrain—and no battery consumption. You use power only when you actually turn the page, causing millions of black particles to realign. The rest of the time, the ink pattern remains on the screen without power. You can set it on your bedside table without worrying about turning it off.
The big Kindle breakthrough was its wireless connection. Thanks to Sprint’s cellular Internet service, the Kindle is always online: indoors, outdoors, miles from the nearest Wi-Fi hot spot.
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 archival. As a bonus, the Kindle includes a simple Web browser, great for quick wireless Wikipedia checks and blog reading.
The Kindle catalog is bigger, too; now 240,000 books are available. New York Times bestsellers are $10 each, which is less than the hardcover editions. Older books run $3 to $6. Getting more content onto the Kindle remains a goal. Amazon’s long-term goal is to get every book, including out-of-print titles, onto the device.
The Kindle is the most successful electronic book-reading tablet so far, but that’s not saying much; Silicon Valley is littered with the corpses of e-book reader projects.
Now I’ll play with the “if” word regarding the Kindle in Panama. If the price is reduced to around $150 and if you could use Sprint’s wireless communication to download content at no extra cost, I would be willing to open my wallet and give it a chance–even in these uncertain economic circumstances. Otherwise; nothing, nil, nix, null, naught, zilch, nada, zip. Good Day.