Bookworms have a new gadget to look forward to. On Monday, Amazon introduced the latest version of its electronic book reader, the Kindle 2, which is thinner and lighter than the original, has an added joystick, more battery life and a function that reads books aloud.
For months tech watchers were excitedly anticipating the new device, and experts predicted that Amazon would correct some of the long-standing criticisms of the old Kindle’s design. Indeed, accidental page-turning is more difficult on the new Kindle, and highlighting and note taking are easier. Amazon also said that in the future, e-books will be available to read on mobile devices, presumably iPhones or computers.
But will the Kindle 2 be as ubiquitous as the iPod or as popular as the iPhone? Wired.com’s senior editor Dylan Tweney doesn’t believe so.
“For it to become a runway success would take some kind of dramatic innovation that I haven’t seen yet,” Tweney said. “It would have to be a device that was not just a book reader but kind of a portable information device, and it might be something like a notebook computer except without a keyboard, some kind of elegant interface that lets you browse through news, check your email, read a book, but also see what’s happening, maybe watch videos, and sort of get all the worlds’ information funneled into this one screen that’s very easy to carry around. I don’t see anybody doing that in a way that I think is really compelling yet.”
Until then, Kindle 2.0 is available for pre-order and will ship Feb. 24. The cost is still $359, the same price as the original.