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Amazon Announces Kindle 2, With Slew of New Features 451

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the dr-spatzo-finds-a-new-job dept.
Engadget is reporting that Amazon has announced the new Kindle 2 for release on February 24th at a price point of $359. Thinner than an iPhone and coming standard with "Read-to-me" text-to-speech capability, the new device also has seven times more storage, faster page turning, a 16-level e-ink display, longer battery life, and a new five-way joystick. Looks like life just got a lot more interesting for fans of the original device. Engadget also has live coverage from the Kindle 2 press conference.
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Amazon Announces Kindle 2, With Slew of New Features

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  • by geekmux (1040042) on Monday February 09, 2009 @01:34PM (#26786029)

    Cripes, after reading the post, the only thing missing was the soundtrack from the Six-Million Dollar Man...

    Better, stronger, faster than ever before...

    Oh, c'mon, what do you mean you've never heard of The Six-Million dollar man? Steve Austin, you know the pilot who...shit, nevermind.

    Damn, I'm getting old.

  • by Deag (250823) on Monday February 09, 2009 @01:34PM (#26786035)

    Convince me not to.

    It is the ease of getting new material that appeals to me, I like to read but I am terrible at buying books.

    The price is a bit steep. Eventually these have to come down in price? Anyone any ideas when there will be a decent sub $100 ebook reader?

    • by jasonhamilton (673330) <jason&tyrannical,org> on Monday February 09, 2009 @01:39PM (#26786105) Homepage

      The thing with the kindle is that it includes "free" online access to locate and deliver books. so you can be anywhere and look for and purchase a new book. the book is then delivered to your kindle.

      most other ebooks are just displays.

      I think until there is any significant threat to kindle, you're going to see the price stay high.

      • by vivek7006 (585218) on Monday February 09, 2009 @01:50PM (#26786293) Homepage

        My beef with kindle is use of DRM and its high price. For $350, I would want unlimited access to books.

        • You can't upload books from project gutenberg to the kindle?

          • by topher_k (622399) <topher AT kersting DOT com> on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:16PM (#26786771) Homepage
            I have a ton of PG books on my Kindle. It's very easy to load them with the USB cable, or I could pay 10 cents to send them via Amazon's server.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by AmiMoJo (196126)

              It's not just free books that are the issue, it's compatibility with paid-for books. There seem to be various "standards" for eBooks, and buying a Kindle basically locks you in to Amazon's DRM-fest.

              When they start offering books in plain text or a similarly light weight and open format (because having some more advanced formatting for books is nice) I'll buy an eBook reader.

          • by AgentSmith (69695) on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:48PM (#26787383)

            I have a 1.0 Kindle.

            This is what I gather. Yes, it's a proprietary format, but
            according to Amazon
            http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200140600 [amazon.com]
            (no I'm not going to hyperlink it)

            they will convert personal documents you email to them.
            They will email it back and you can download it to your Kindle or get
            it over their Whispernet (aka cel phone tranmissions) for a small fee.
            The do say PDFs are tricky to convert and might retain their original formatting
            which will cause viewing problems.

            The Kindle 1.0 beefs I had:

            Page buttons placed to almost automatically get in the way when holding the device (Fixed in 2.0)
            Page transitions slow (Fixed in 2.0)
            Picture and diagram handling in books. (Possibly fixed in 2.0)

            Color screen (not fixed in 2.0) I know it's going
            to take a couple years for electronic ink to catch up with normal screen displays.

            Why is a color screen an issue for text? Highlighting and diagram distinction for starters.
            I work at a university. I looked at the Kindle as an inexpensive way for students to get most (or all)
            their textbooks digitally. The $349 is nothing compared to the cash amounts students are bilked every year.
            Amazon's Kindle content management hangs onto a copy for another download if necessary due to Kindle loss etc.
            Although without color it makes most graphic examples in scientific texts impossible to read.

            For straight text the Kindle is still the strongest Ebook reader out there for text. Plus Wireless download, basic internet surfing, audiobooks, mp3 player. OK, you get this all with a laptop, tablet, or now notebook, but not in
            such a compact form.

            If you can find anything better good on ya mate. Otherwise, I'll hang onto my 1.0 for awhile and upgrade
            as time moves on.

            I'm probably not playing to the crowd here, but in this case DRM whiners can either go home or hack around it.
            For all my beefs the Kindle's still a nice reader.

            • by TheoMurpse (729043) on Monday February 09, 2009 @03:18PM (#26787993) Homepage

              Good God, your

              post looks

                      like an e.
              e cummings poem.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by rolfwind (528248)

              Since you are at a university, how do you find the kindle sized screen for textbooks. I'm thinking the normally large math sized textbooks.

            • by TheModelEskimo (968202) on Monday February 09, 2009 @03:47PM (#26788533)
              >For straight text the Kindle is still the strongest Ebook reader out there for text.

              Sorry, I have to disagree there. Looking at the oldest PDA I have a Dell Axim X3i, which I use almost solely for eBook reading, here's what it's got:
              -eBook reading via at least 5 different programs for different formats - everything from RTF and TXT to HTML to zipped HTML to CHM to PDF to .lit to just about every format out there. Great support via ebook sales sites (which I never use, being a big fan of PG)
              -Wireless internet access
              -Internet surfing (Pocket IE, but on my intranet or at my public library it's super-convenient)
              -Note-taking and audio note-recording
              -MP3 playing
              -One week's worth of usage (extended battery)
              -NES Games and normal PDA games
              -Japanese Kanji dictionary (something I need)
              -Astronomy applications for night-time viewing
              -Alarm clock that wakes me every morning with the Mr. Rogers theme
              -Music composition software (oops, yes, I am a musician)
              -Lightweight, small form factor
              -Religion-related software (you might not need it)
              -...probably other things I missed...

              Price:
              -Dell Axim x3i on eBay: $75
              -New extended-life 2000mA battery $25
              -Hard case (life-saver): $15
              -2GB SD Card: Already had one

              I use this with my Linux laptop by loading everything (.cab files for app installs, etc.) via the SD card.

              This is why I don't own a Kindle already. I'm guessing the PDA will last me another 2-4 years. I wouldn't recommend a PDA like this for somebody who's a daft idiot or a usability nazi that ruminates about friends not being able to use their device to look up a phone number when they're lying under an overturned bus, but for Slashdotters with guts and a bias toward making things work, it's perfect.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                Oops, cut my reading paragraph out but never pasted it. I meant to address the issue of reading - having looked at a Kindle and played with it (NOT the 2.0 version, mind you), I found I preferred the reader features I found on my PDA, especially those that come with uBook. Way too many to mention, but I've tweaked the thing to the point where even my picky graphic designer tastes for things like line spacing (leading) and text hinting are accomodated.
            • by bwalling (195998) on Monday February 09, 2009 @03:59PM (#26788779) Homepage

              I work at a university. I looked at the Kindle as an inexpensive way for students to get most (or all) their textbooks digitally. The $349 is nothing compared to the cash amounts students are bilked every year.

              I keep seeing this come up as an opportunity for the Kindle. This is one of the places where I think the Kindle would be a huge failure. I buy textbooks used on the Internet (NOT from a bookstore) and sell them used on the Internet. I come close to breaking even with the exception of transaction fees (commission to half.com and shipping costs). I don't understand why I would be interested in paying $349 in order to pay $100/book for books I can't sell, and worse, might have some kind of time lock associated with them (these are already sold on some websites).

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Chabo (880571)

              What about people like me, who pick and choose the textbooks to buy?

              For most Computer Science classes, all I needed was a language reference. The professors would assign a $90 textbook that was little more than a language reference, and I'd buy the O'Reilly book on the language for $20-50. C, C++, Perl, SML... I even bought one for Java, then never used it, cause I always had Sun's copy of the API reference available online. The only other class I bought a book for was Artificial Intelligence, cause I neede

        • The only way I'm ever going to buy an e-book reader is when my current book collections can be transfered to the machine.

          Until that time, no thanks.
      • by ahoehn (301327) <andrew@hoe.REDHAThn minus distro> on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:31PM (#26787071) Homepage

        The thing with the kindle is that it includes "free" online access to locate and deliver books. so you can be anywhere and look for and purchase a new book. the book is then delivered to your kindle.

        That's the thing that angers me about Amazon's current Kindle plan. I mean, being able to buy a book from anywhere is great, but not worth an extra $200 for me.

        I would happily restrict myself to only being able to buy books when I'm plugged into my computer via USB, or in range of a wifi network if it meant that I could buy a Kindle for $150 instead of $350.

        I don't understand why Amazon insists on only selling one expensive version of this product. If they released a cheaper version sans cellular capabilities, I think they'd sell lots more, and by extension sell many more e-books.

        Oh Amazon, why do you fail me?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 09, 2009 @01:40PM (#26786123)

      The problem isn't the cost of the reader. The problem is the cost of the books. Recently, the cost of an ebook for the Kindle has been comparable to the cover price for a hardback copy. Even after the paperback has long been on the market. We should be looking at a lower cost, due to manufacturing and supply savings, but, instead, we have to pay a fortune.

      • by rolfwind (528248) on Monday February 09, 2009 @01:54PM (#26786395)

        Especially since this story:
        http://www.alleyinsider.com/2009/1/printing-the-nyt-costs-twice-as-much-as-sending-every-subscriber-a-free-kindle [alleyinsider.com]

        Printing (and sending) The New York Times (over a year) Costs Twice As Much As Sending Every Subscriber A Free Kindle

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 09, 2009 @05:03PM (#26789753)
          The problem with that article is that they're talking about the total print run of the paper and dividing that by the number of subscribers. What about the millions of people who buy the NYT on newsstands everyday? The printed copy they're paying for and reading is being taken into account in the printing costs, but they're not being considered as "readers" by Silicon Alley Insider. A perfect example of lying by cherry-picking your numbers.
      • by Yewbert (708667) on Monday February 09, 2009 @01:55PM (#26786407)

        Exactly, and moreover, as someone whose personal library (easily several thousand books, 'bout half of which I've read) came mostly from USED bookstores, specialty dealers, random online sources, yard sales, etc., the idea that I don't have an option of buying used/wholesale/opportunistically-on-sale is pretty much a deal-killer for me.

        • by Sancho (17056) * on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:11PM (#26786707) Homepage

          That's the point of DRM-encumbered digital media. They want to kill the second-hand market. If they can keep people from selling their books/music or loaning them to other people, then they get to sell that a few more copies.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by cthulu_mt (1124113)
            Good thing its a free market. You can choose not to use their services.
            • by Sancho (17056) *

              Indeed. I choose not to buy DRM-encumbered media.

              I'm just not looking forward to the day when it's all DRM-encumbered. I guess that's the day I start up a personal library.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by SputnikPanic (927985)

          I've got a pretty big library too, acquired much in the same manner as yours -- used-book stores, library sales, etc. As a percentage, the number of books that I've bought at full price is pretty small. Nonetheless, I did go ahead and buy a Kindle about 8 months ago, this despite my reservations about DRM. My reasoning in buying the Kindle basically boiled down to:

          - I wanted to see some sort of e-book reader and platform remain viable in the marketplace. Every other attempt has either failed (Rocket Rea

      • by anethema (99553)

        Just like the cost of DVDs and music! Oh wait no one pays for those either :D

        Many of those with readers just pirate their books like many with iPods and PMPs.

        The cost of the books was really the least of my concerns when buying a reader.

      • by c_jonescc (528041)
        That is simply not true [amazon.com].
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by topher_k (622399)

        Recently, the cost of an ebook for the Kindle has been comparable to the cover price for a hardback copy.

        Nah. Most current NYTimes bestsellers go for $9.99, which is normally less than half the cover price for the hardback.

      • by joebok (457904) on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:22PM (#26786883) Homepage Journal

        That has not been my experience - new best-seller books are typically 9.99. Older paper-back stuff is between used books store and new prices - $3.50 or $4 for stuff I like. Certainly there are books outside this range - but for my reading tastes the cost per book is definitely cheaper than dead tree.

        To say nothing of project Gutenberg texts - for free.

        I doubt I have saved enough to pay for the initial cost - but the convenience is great. I'm also a gadget hound so that is just par for the course... I'm a happy kindle user!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pvera (250260)

        This is a publisher issue. When the current W.E.B. Griffin novel was announced about two months ago, it was announced first as hardcover. A few days later they announced it for the Kindle, it was more expensive than the hardcover. Couple of day later it was priced a few dollars under, but still a lot. By the time I paid for mine, it was $9.99, which is what we were told to expect for main releases.

        I see it a convenience thing. Tom Clancy finally caved-in (I doubt it was Penguin's fault, since W.E.B. Griffin

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 09, 2009 @01:41PM (#26786129)

      Convince me not to.

      DRM. Your books now have a limited lifetime (probably measured in years, not decades, let alone centuries) and cannot be passed on to anyone else. When the Kindle service disappears, which can happen at any time, say goodbye to your books.

      • by anethema (99553) on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:09PM (#26786673) Homepage

        I'm not sure how a Kindle works, but on my Sony Reader there are plenty of sources for books both legal (usually older books) and non legal.

        You can go on the pirate bay right now and download a library of like 10k sci-fi and fantasy books by hundreds of authors. All DRM free!

        If you have that conscience telling you to pay for your stuff, pay amazons price then just download the DRM-free version elsewhere. There may be legal connotations but you'd have to find quite a stickler to say there is a moral problem with that.

      • I agree that between the cost and the DRM, I'd be loathe to buy a book for the Kindle...

        But just like the iPod line, the existence of DRM does not necessitate the use of it. I was under the impression you could take any PDF (or perhaps other text formats) and bake it into something the Kindle could read. That combined with Oriely's Safari with the downloadable PDF's may work well for technical material, and over time perhaps more publishers could be convinced to sell PDF's of books - until then there is p

      • by blueZ3 (744446) on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:14PM (#26786739) Homepage

        DRM is 100% the deal killer (for ebooks) for me.

        I don't mind iTunes (though I've only bought maybe 30 or 40 songs) since I can burn the songs to CD and I have them for as long as Apples is around or my CD doesn't degrade, whichever is longer. And I've bought some TV episodes for my daughter to watch on my iPhone--same deal: it's not a huge loss to me if I can't see Backyardigans for some reason :-)

        But my affinity for books is such that I just cannot accept losing access to ones that I've paid for based on the service going under. It might not be rational, but I just don't have the same feeling about music.

        I'll buy eBooks from Baen based on the fact that I can download text/HTML versions that I can keep even if their bookstore goes under. But I'm not buying DRM eBook content and I'm not subsidizing Amazon's DRM efforts by buying their reader.

      • by MHolmesIV (253236) on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:19PM (#26786811)

        Which is why I strip the DRM off my kindle books, and archive them as an EPub. I do the same with .LIT books I buy. It's a simple procedure, and should be cake for anyone with enough skills to use a linux box :)

        But seriously, with the crappy paper they print paperbacks on, their lifespans are only measured in maybe decades. I had to convert my Eddings series to EBook because the paper versions I bought in the late 80's are now crumbling and falling apart.

        EBooks I can move from device to device, and storage medium to storage medium for as long as I care to.

      • by DrVomact (726065) on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:55PM (#26787547) Journal

        DRM is bad, agreed—but monopoly is worse. If you buy a Kindle, you are buying into a scheme where you can buy media from only one vendor, and your media is not likely to ever be readable anywhere but on your Kindle.

        I'm not buying any ebook until the publishing industry gets together and agrees on a standard (i.e., decides just which crappy DRM scheme they will stick us with.) That would mean the beginnings of a real competitive market in the ebook field: you would have a choice of manufacturers from which to choose, and a choice of media vendors.

        The ebook situation today is as though there were a few companies selling DVD players, and each would only play DVDs made by that company. Would you buy one? That was, in fact, the actual situation at the very start of the audio record industry. Some people did buy those early proprietary format record players, for the sheer novelty value. I suppose that's the reason people buy Kindles. But ebooks will not become ubiquitous until the media rights issues are straightened out in a way that's at least minimally acceptable to manufacturers, publishers, and readers alike.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by flitty (981864)
      Even a "Kindle Lite" would be awesome, if made significantly cheaper. About $129-169 is more in the range where mass adoption begins for something like this. No keyboard, no nifty features, just the nice e-ink screen and some storage space (enough for say, 20-50 books, these files aren't huge) and a way to turn the pages. I would most likely get one for that range, even if it was slightly thicker. Nearly $400 for a way to read books is a toy. Jesus, M$ only charges $199 for an Xbox360, is the kindle re
      • by gnick (1211984)

        Where is the cost coming from, anyone?

        High market demand and little apples-to-apples competition.

      • some storage space (enough for say, 20-50 books, these files aren't huge)

        Many people don't know this, but when you purchase a book for your Kindle you can download it to your device as often as you want, free of charge. Because of this, you technically don't need more than 2 book's worth of storage (the one you are reading and the one you would like to re-download) unless you find yourself in places where there is no wireless signal (they use the Sprint network). Regardless, the books take very little sto

      • by Thornburg (264444) on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:30PM (#26787043)

        Jesus, M$ only charges $199 for an Xbox360, is the kindle really that much more expensive technologically? Is the screen worth so much? Where is the cost coming from, anyone?

        Free usage of Sprint's 3G network. Not only for browsing the book store, but you can also check some blogs/news sites (including Slashdot), and you can access Wikipedia. No monthly fee, your $360 covers that "forever". Or until they change it, whatever comes first.

    • by Chyeld (713439)

      Very tempted to get this
      Convince me not to.

      Ok, how about this...

      In another year, the Kindle 3 will be out, have the same order of magnitudes improvement, and if you have bought the Kindle 2, you'd probably still be trying to reach the 'breakeven' point where your savings matched the cost.

      Plus, eventually these will reach $100 mark, still be orders of magnitude better, and you'll be stuck with a $300-$400 Kindle 3 trying to justify not throwing more money out on another reader (which may or may not be compat

      • by blueZ3 (744446) on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:19PM (#26786827) Homepage

        "Break even" on a Kindle?

        You're never going to "break even" on a device like this--it doesn't appreciate in value and it doesn't offer any savings over what you might have spent on books, since eBooks are currently the same price as paper books.

        To add insult to injury, once you've bought in to Amazon's DRM'd eBooks, you'll have to go on buying a new Kindle each time one reaches the end of its useful life just to maintain access to content that you've already paid for.

        If the parent wants one and is willing to accept the compromise of the current high price and DRM'd content against having it now, he should go for it.

        It's not for me, though.

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      Ive also been looking for a sub-100. This is what Ive found:

      1. Nokia tablet. These things run linux and can be gotten used on ebay for under $100. Youre not getting e-ink or anything fancy, but its small and light and can display a variety of formats.

      2. Used old laptop or netbook. Its overkill for ebooks but they work in a pinch.

      3. OLPC. A bit out of the pricerange, but a used one might make for a good ebook reader.

      None of these solutions support DRM, but you can at least view text, doc, PDFs, and comic b

      • by Abreu (173023)

        I used my Palm Zire 72 as a glorified ebook reader until it stopped working a month ago, so I started looking for a replacement.

        My requirements are simple:

        * .txt, .pdf and comic book format support
        * pocket-sized (the new kindle would be the upper limit)
        * more than two hours of battery life

        Anyone on slashdot have a suggestion?

      • by monopole (44023)

        Amen to that! My N810 internet tablet is a near perfect ebook reader w/ fbreader and evince installed.
        Also my EEE 900a is exquisite as well, once you set the page advance in fbreader to the space key and activate portrait mode the EEE has the same form factor and page size as a trade paperback. Public domain PDFs from Google books work beautifully w/ evince.
        I've even pressed an HP Journada 820 into a passable ebook reader.

        Both the eee and the n810 have internet access and direct download capability for proj

    • by c_jonescc (528041)
      There is a large up-front cost, but long term you could come out ahead, depending on what you read.

      You can get most beyond copyright works for free from several sources, and if this is your primary interest, then any device is just as good.

      But if you want to read the newest out hardbacks, this is where the savings really lies. These books are $10 on the kindle, as opposed to the ~$25 you'd pay at your local book store (or $18 you'd pay to amazon). Depending on how much you read and buy books this could be
    • by smitty97 (995791) on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:09PM (#26786655)

      No music or games. Less space than a usb stick. Lame.

      • You can install a mini-SD card in the back and expand the storage....got a 2GB card in my wifey's Kindle 1. Each book is less than 1 Mb in size....can hold a TON of books! She loves hers, only gripe is the page turning buttons are way too easy to hit.....

        Oh, BTW you can also put music on the device. It plays as background music while you read. You have little control over how it's played. You just turn it off or on...

        If you want games, get a Sony PSP.....
    • Convince me not to.

      Ok, my best shot: you can only get new books on it, there is no way to get your current collection digitized for the Kindle.

      That means you are going to get, maybe, ten books on it over the lifetime of the device. Is that worth the price? The paperbacks are way cheaper, that's for sure.
    • >Convince me not to.

      You know what, if you've got $400 to burn on a device that'll let you read glorified txt documents of stuff you could get on paper for half the price on AbeBooks... knock yourself out.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Timmmm (636430)

      I'm waiting for the plastic logic reader:

      http://www.plasticlogic.com/ [plasticlogic.com]

      It is almost A4 size, mm-thin and doesn't look like shit.

      Unfortunately it won't be out until 2010 and will probably be quite expensive ('aimed at the business market').

      Still, it will be awesome for reading scientific papers, sheet music, manuals, reports and of course books.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Will it blend?

    Also, what will happen to DRM on the device? Is it still going to be essentially rentals, since they don't like to let people own what they buy?

  • by Rinikusu (28164) on Monday February 09, 2009 @01:39PM (#26786113)

    Come on Amazon. It still looks like a plastic toy. For god's sakes, team up with Sony or Apple (kidnap Jonathon Ives). Alternatively, license out your DRM tech so Sony can build a reader compatible with your service.

    Frankly, I can't wait until someone figures out a way to make a digital version of the public library. Make it like O'Reilly's Safari: Monthly subscription, X amount of titles on your "shelf" at any given time (tiered subscription?), with the option to "buy it" for permanent downloads (or just buy it outright and skip the sub-shelf), etc. I'd gladly pay $15/month for something like this, much like I already do with Napster To Go.

    • by Budenny (888916)

      "Alternatively, license out your DRM tech so Sony can build a reader compatible with your service"

      Yes, this is the point. As long as Amazon has the aim of only allowing its ebooks to be purchased by its own proprietary software, and only readable on its own proprietary device, we should not want it, and we should boycott the whole idea.

      What is wanted from ebooks is something that preserves the rights we now have with CDs. The ability to play it or read it on terminals from multiple vendors. The ability t

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by A. B3ttik (1344591)

      Come on Amazon. It still looks like a plastic toy. For god's sakes, team up with Sony or Apple (kidnap Jonathon Ives). Alternatively, license out your DRM tech so Sony can build a reader compatible with your service.

      It actually looks... clunky to me... like an "Electric Book of the Future!" from the 1970s.

      The screen appears too small, but that's really because there are far too many buttons, and way too much unused space.

      For the price of an iPhone, can't they make it touchscreen?

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by CRCulver (715279)

        For the price of an iPhone, can't they make it touchscreen?

        It's not a screen, it's digital paper. There's no touchable form of this yet.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by retupmoca (932711)

          It's not a screen, it's digital paper. There's no touchable form of this yet.

          http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-book_Reader_Matrix

          One sony and both iRex devices seem to have touchscreen capability, according to this page.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            One sony and both iRex devices seem to have touchscreen capability, according to this page.

            It seems to reduce the text quality though, at least judging by the Sony readers. The one without touchscreen (PRS-505) has noticeably higher contrast and whiter background than the one with it (PRS-700). Given the choice, I went for 505 for precisely this reason - I don't need to mark and search for text in fiction books, and none of the existing readers are good enough to read technical books & materials (except possibly for iRex, but that one's insanely expensive).

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Monday February 09, 2009 @01:42PM (#26786147)

    with the release of the original Kindle. Perhaps they still can.

    The Kindle here is somewhat of a disappointment to me but its aesthetics are much better than than the first generation. Yet, the screen is only usable for fiction novels and the like, and the form factor is such that the keyboard takes up half the space. Either way, they should have eliminated the physical keyboard for an onscreen version (really, you can't exactly type a thesis with that thing as it is now) for that searching or annotation convenience. For serious annotation, the iRex iLiad and DR1000S have a wacom enabled screen with stylus. In this way, you can really go for a small reader that fits in a purse, or use that existing or slightly bigger form for 10x8 screen, allowing to display 11x8.5 pages sans margins.

    I don't know how they sell the new york times on something like that. I can see it on the even smaller iPhone but only because of multitouch and reverse pinching (zoom in) to the exact story someone wants. But I would not pay for an ereader at current prices in the fiction novel page size; I would glady pay money for something that allows me to read reference guides and textbooks without scrolling horizontally, perhaps not vertically.

    All the other readers I see on the market are toys. Like iRex, which sells there models as finished products but are woefully in the prototype stage even after years of development and being on the market because lack of serious money behind it, I suppose. One symptom there is that despite the promise of e-ink not using energy other than when the page is being changed, their CPU doesn't really go to sleep, requiring daily recharging of the device and thoroughly defeating half of the purpose of a good ereader in the first place. I tried the Sony, it wasn't bad but nothing great.

    If the Kindle should get credit for anything, it was the Sprint EVDO connection in the first and now 3G in the second without stupid monthly fees - it just being there. That alone will make it the winner in time, everything else stay the same.

    If Apple had been keen on building their media empire, they'd should have gotten into ebooks when the 1st gen kindle was released tbh. The market was ready for something with a decent interface and good hardware/software integration. They already sell music, movies, tv shows, and this will consolidate the last major piece of the list. Before someone says "color" screens, or Plastic Logic's flexible screens or the like, that's precisely what upgrades are for. Now, I'm afraid, the worse is better philosophy won out again.

    Other than screen size, this model looks like a winner.

    • by Yetihehe (971185)

      Apple should really have gone into this market with the release of the original Kindle. Perhaps they still can.

      iPhone should be enough for anybody. Or maybe do you think different?

  • Funny this. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thesolo (131008) * <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Monday February 09, 2009 @01:44PM (#26786187) Homepage
    I was considering buying one of these once the new version came out. One of the media release photos, meant to show the slimness of the device, has the Kindle leaning up next to a copy of pop-sociologist Malcolm Gladwell's new book, "The Outliers."

    A few days ago, I was invited to the Union League in Philadelphia to see Mr. Gladwell speak to a group of roughly 550 local leaders, CEOs, etc. We were all provided with a "free" (in quotes because there was an entrance fee on all tickets, so the book was paid for by that cost) copy of his latest book and breakfast, and then afterward Mr. Gladwell did a Q&A session followed by a book signing.

    It was the collaboration at the event, with people scribbling notes in the margins of the book, discussing certain paragraphs, and having the author sign each copy, that made me relish having the hardback with me. (Even if I do find his work a bit trite at times.)

    In the end, I've opted not to buy this gadget, because ultimately, it's just not as satisfying or lasting as having a book. I have books given to me by my grandparents that they had as teenagers, what do you think the odds are that a Kindle or the formats it supports will last even two decades? I'm going to stick to my dead trees, thank you.
    • Re:Funny this. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Aladrin (926209) on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:14PM (#26786743)

      And yet, some of us just want to read the books, not treasure them as eternal keepsakes. That's what eBooks are about.

      I won't say I don't have books that I treasure because of who gave them to me (Grandma's gift of Mark Twain) but those books are few and far between. I read a -lot- of books, and 12 years ago or ago, I had so many that it wasn't possible to move to a new house without getting rid of some. I moved across the country. Most of my books were sold then, with only a precious few kept.

      Had I had eBooks, I'd still have most of the those books instead of the $.50 each I got from them. And yes, I'd probably re-read most of them.

      So now I buy eBooks. I can read them whenever I want and they weigh nothing. If I lose them, I can re-download them for free and all I might lose is a bookmark. (Losing a book while reading it would be an odd event, though.)

      What I'm trying to say is that you're closing off the idea of eBooks without ever having given them a chance. There will always be things that real books do better, but eBooks have things as well.

    • Re:Funny this. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rolfwind (528248) on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:30PM (#26787039)

      Do you realize your entire argument could have been based around a backstage pass, having your boxed CD or Vinyl Record, and being glad that they signed it and vowing to never turn that in for one of those new-fangled iPod thingies with the same basic effect, right?

  • corrrection (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Looks like fans of the original device paid a steep bleeding-edge tax for seven times less storage and 25% less battery life for the same price.
    • Re:corrrection (Score:5, Insightful)

      by c_jonescc (528041) on Monday February 09, 2009 @01:59PM (#26786481)
      uh, except the first version already held a few hundred books (without using an SD card), and the battery would give several days of reading and several weeks of standby already.

      Sure, the new numbers are better, but not so much that one would now find their older version 'useless'. 7 times more than you need is still more than you need.

      Books aren't like songs - there's not really a lot to gain by having 1500 with you at all times. I keep ~5 books on mine at any time usually, just because there's not really any motivation to have more. I tend to only read one book at a time or two in parallel.

      My main complaint with the gen 1 device is that even though it has a mini USB port, it can't be charged that way with any standard cell phone charger. It has it's own charger and connection, which means one more charger that I have to travel with. I haven't seen anything that says if this has been changed with the updated device.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by berend botje (1401731)
        For novels, sure, you read one or maybe two in parallel. But now consider reference manuals and other techie books. I'm sure anyone reading /. has loads of them. I sure wouldn't mind taking them all with me if at all possible on this device.

        Not going to happen, as I'm definitely not going to buy my books again, just in a different format.

        Give me my current bookcollection for free with the device, I already payed for the content and the duplication cost of e-books is zero.
      • by mikeee (137160)

        Several of the stories (and amazon.com) indicate that, yes, the new version will charge via USB.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I'm a mathematician and have frequent need to reference books and papers for particular results. When I'm away at a conference and I'm bringing some journal papers along for the trip I either need to (1)print out every reference the paper cites in case I need it, (2)rely on the host institution's library which, while usually very extensive, it not generally set-up for guests to have full access, or (3)hope I already know the results they're going to reference.

        Being able to download a journal article and all

    • by Coopjust (872796)
      No SD card slot and when the battery starts to die the early adopters can just buy a new battery... and they paid the same price. Who really got the better deal?
      • Why would you expect MORE from the older device? Why would Amazon put out an inferior new device at the same price? Look at what you're saying!

  • by jgtg32a (1173373)
    I bought the Sony 505 over the kindle because of the it supported PDF and it had the ability just drag and drop books and not rely on their software.

    I just wish one of these readers would support CHM (compiled HTML help file).
  • Cute. (Score:5, Informative)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday February 09, 2009 @01:48PM (#26786269) Journal
    "Information Received. The Device Software will provide Amazon with data about your Device and its interaction with the Service (such as available memory, up-time, log files and signal strength) and information related to the content on your Device and your use of it (such as automatic bookmarking of the last page read and content deletions from the Device). Annotations, bookmarks, notes, highlights, or similar markings you make in your Device are backed up through the Service. Information we receive is subject to the Amazon.com Privacy Notice."
  • Read-to-me (Score:2, Insightful)

    Having an e-ink screen and text-to-speech on the same device is an odd match. If you want to read, read. If you want to listen, get an audio book for your mp3 player. Spare yourself the synthetic voice. Unless you enjoy imagining Stephen Hawking is in your car reading to you.
    • by Thornburg (264444) on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:48PM (#26787381)

      Having an e-ink screen and text-to-speech on the same device is an odd match. If you want to read, read. If you want to listen, get an audio book for your mp3 player. Spare yourself the synthetic voice. Unless you enjoy imagining Stephen Hawking is in your car reading to you.

      This might good for my copy of "A Brief History of Time"...

  • by Henry V .009 (518000) on Monday February 09, 2009 @01:56PM (#26786417) Journal
    Amazon's Kindle 2 is the same as a Sony PRS-700 (out for a while now) without a reading light, without a touch screen, and with Amazon DRM lock-in. The only good thing going for the Kindle 2 is Amazon's marketing and their exclusive Kindle store.
    • Comparing pictures of the two, they are totally different - in form factor, and external buttons. You mention the Kindle does not have a touch screen while the PRS-700 does.

      So while possibly they may share the same OS (though even there I suspect large differences) they are not the same at all. And it seems to me that by "better" you very likely mean "has more features on a checklist".

      I don't own either reader so I have no stake in which one is in fact better. But I have talked to a number of unlikely pe

  • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@gmai l . com> on Monday February 09, 2009 @01:57PM (#26786435) Homepage Journal

    Will I pay $359 for a dedicated e-book reader? Not likely.

    Would I pay $20 for an app on the iPhone or G-phone that would allow me access to the Amazon e-book store. Sure I would.

  • It doesn't look like that thing is going to fit into my pocket. It looks like they could have made it a bit smaller by cutting out some of the "frame" around the sides.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:02PM (#26786543)
    Most consumers will not pay a barely discounted or not at all discounted price on a heavily DRMed good that's limited to a single device (be it iPod or Kindle) that could have the plug pulled at any time. Many DVDs now come with "Digital copies" with iPod and Windows compatibility, and they're selling like hotcakes. It's easier and it makes sense.

    Want to spur consumers to use eBooks?
    -Consider DRM-free books with the name embedded. The geeks will get it out, but for the majority of people, they'll buy their own books and not share.
    -If you are going to use DRM, make it worth the hassle by making the book much cheaper. In essence, when I buy a DRMed eBook, I'm buying a license that can be revoked at any time to read the text. Why should I pay $18 for an eBook when it's from a $20 hardcover? Especially without distribution or even physical costs.
    -If Amazon sold Kindle "codes" in the books to apply the book to your Kindle, you get the pride of owning a book (that can't ever be turned off) and the convenience of a Kindle copy too. And newspapers, if they don't want to go the way of the dodo, should include Kindle access for print subscribers. I get the WSJ and they want me to pay TWICE to get it on a Kindle. Even if I got a Kindle I wouldn't pay twice.

    At $360, with a nonremovable battery (thinness is good, but I'd prefer being able to pop in a spare) and expensive (for the format) content, I can't bite. I've wanted to get an eBook reader for years, but this isn't ready yet.
  • by rinoid (451982) on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:05PM (#26786579)

    DRM!

    You can't share anything folks. NOTHING. The books are not yours!

    • by Aquitaine (102097) <sam@ i a m s a m . o rg> on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:34PM (#26787115) Homepage

      This was one of my chief complaints when I bought my girlfriend a Kindle for Christmas.

      Then I looked into it - you can have up to six Kindles on one account. If I buy one of these for myself, and she buys a book, or I buy a book, we both get it.

      Of course, if we split up we have to haggle over who gets Kindle Account Custody, or else see what one another is reading for eternity. :) And for $659 between the two (I paid $300 during the 'Oprah' sale on the Kindle 1 in November), it's still not cheap.

  • ...relative to the screen size. We've all been spoiled by the near-zero-bezel devices in the phone/music player market, this one just looks very 90s with the wide bezel around the whole screen. The keyboard doesn't even encroach into that space. Seems like the form factor could be reduced significantly, though they may have used a lot of that space for battery.

  • by Blimey85 (609949) on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:14PM (#26786745)
    For a long while I was set on getting an ereader. I just had to have one. I tried reading books on my crackberry but the screen was just too damn small and scrolling was a pain. The only thing that kept be from buying a Sony ereader or a Kindle was the price. For the money you can instead buy an Xbox 360 (I have two and the last was only $160 thanks to a coupon at CircuitCity), or an Iphone ($199 for an 8 gig) or hell, get both. So that's what I ended up doing. I bought both.

    Is my ereader experience as great as that on a Kindle? I dunno. What I do know is that it's "good enough" for my uses. I just want to read some fiction. I want to kick back and read some Robin Cook or Dean Koontz in the can or at a theater while waiting for the show or whatever. I use Stanza on my iPhone and I downloaded a few collections via torrents and I'm all set for quite a while. Plus I have a phone and an mp3 player and God knows what else I've added to my phone. And like I said earlier, I also have a second Xbox 360 which obviously lets me play games but I wanted a second for streaming movies and tv shows into my bedroom.

    Maybe if I had a train ride to work everyday a Kindle would make sense, but even then it's too big to be dropped in my pocket and I'd still have to have my phone with me. Who wants yet another gadget to lug around?
  • The only ebook reader program that I ever liked was "readthemall" for PalmOS. I saw a TV commercial for an iPhone ebook application with animated page turning as you slide your finger across the screen and I though it was the stupidest idea imaginable. Brains backwardly locked on an inappropriate old way of doing things.

    The program "readthemall" would display one line new line at a time progressing down the screen and when it got to the bottom it would start overwriting old lines at the top. As long as the

  • by scubamage (727538) on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:21PM (#26786871)
    If not, still not interested. I don't want to pay amazon to convert something I've already paid for. Postscript is a standard, and they should make it compatible if they want to increase their market share. Period. I have my entire o'reilly and cisco library in PDF on my laptop. The only reason I'd get a kindle is to have them in a more convenient form for study and reference when I'm unable to access my laptop. Oh yeah, so far as I know kindle books can't be read outside of the kindle appliance.
  • by OG (15008) on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:34PM (#26787123)

    I'd get one of these the second it became usable for textbooks/research papers. You need 3 things for that to happen:

    1) Native PDF support (which I don't believe this has).
    2) Color.
    3) A pen for the ability to annotate.

    That would be a killer device. This...is not.

  • by SupremoMan (912191) on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:35PM (#26787149)

    that this thing looks ugly as sin? I have the first version of the kindle, and this one just looks uglier. The screen is the same size from what I gathered, but it looks smaller. That's because the rest of the thing is larger, except that it is thinner. But the larger width and height gives it the illusion of a smaller screen. That just doesn't sit well with me. I'm not crazy about the new keyboard either.

    At least it has all the features of the previous one, including wireless internet. As far as cost of books, you don't have to buy them, you can "pirate" books if you want.

    Disclaimer: I am in no shape or form advocating copyright infringement. Nor the use of the word "piracy" or any derivatives there of, as it pertains to copyright infringement.

  • by guidryp (702488) on Monday February 09, 2009 @03:18PM (#26787997)

    I read a couple of books on a Palm. I don't need a screen this big, so the device is no longer portable.

    I am instead considering an ipod touch with stanza. That screen is much better than my old palm and should be plenty good for reading on the go.

    The touch is smaller and more versatile to me.

    Is there much of a counter argument for people who don't have eyesight issues?

  • by dbc (135354) on Monday February 09, 2009 @05:02PM (#26789733)

    My wife has a Kindle 1.0, and loves it. She has loaded a large number of her favorite reference volumes (finance, mostly) on it, and cleared out several bookshelves in her office. For her, the dollars spent are well worth the space saved. The math is easy... compute the cost per square foot of owning a house in Silicon Valley, and consider if you really want to use those square feet as storage for books that have no emotional value. The Kindle is a bargain when analyzed like that. DRM and short life of the media is not an issue... all the books she put on it will be of little relevence in a few years. Oh... being able to make any book a "large print volume" is an outstanding benefit for those of us of bifocal age.

    As for me, I wish I could put my entire O'Reilly bookshelf on it so that "lex & yacc" or "Practical C++ Programming" were always in my laptop bag where ever I went. But the Kindle technology sucks at displaying technical content. See Tim O'Reilly's blog post of a year or more ago on the topic. That's why you don't see nutshell books on Kindle. And that's why I don't own a Kindle. Wake me when Amazon gets a big, fat clue about formatting technical content. When it's good enough for Tim, it's good enough for me.

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