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Kindle fans upset that Kindle 2 drops SD slot, replaceable battery

Amazon calls the changes improvements, not a downgrade

February 10, 2009 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Users of Inc.'s original Kindle are registering disapproval that the Kindle 2, due out Feb. 24, doesn't have a slot for an SD card or a removable battery.

"I'm pissed at Amazon," said one person named Vicki, commenting on an forum after the Kindle 2 was unveiled. "I've had my Kindle for almost a year and I really like it. When it dies, as all electronics do, the 'upgrade' will be a downgrade that won't be as useful as my current Kindle."

She joined more than 20 other current Kindle fans on the Amazon site voicing concerns about the Kindle 2's lack of an SD slot and its use of a battery that's not user-accessible.

Elsewhere on the Amazon site, other fans griped about how the online retailer has given less-than-ideal treatment to original Kindle users with the announcement of Kindle 2. Amazon offers more than 1,000 Kindle-related discussion topics, underscoring the e-reader's popularity.

Many of the complaints that have bubbled up since the Kindle 2's unveiling Monday came from users who like to add an SD card to the original Kindle so they have enough storage for plenty of books. Some said the 2GB of storage offered in the Kindle 2 won't be enough.

Users also criticized the new battery, saying they have grown accustomed to removing the battery in the original Kindle to reboot the device. After a year, many said the battery needed replacing anyway because it wouldn't hold a charge.

While the changes seem like downgrades to some, Amazon's Kindle unit director, Charlie Tritschler, said both moves will actually improve the Kindle 2. "Compared to the original Kindle, the Kindle 2 makes it convenient to keep content in one place," Tritschler said today. And the built-in 2GB of storage in the Kindle 2 means 1.4GB is available to the user -- almost eight times the 180MB of storage offered in the original Kindle, he said.

"That's room for 1,500 books," Tritschler said, noting that any book a Kindle user buys is backed up on Amazon's servers -- and is available to the reader at any time. "There's no need for additional storage."

Some users complained that Amazon might be eliminating the SD slot to force its Kindle customers into buying only Amazon content. But Tritschler said the Kindle 2 still allows users to access non-Amazon books, text files and even some music that is not protected by Digital Rights Management systems. They can do so via a USB cable connected to the Kindle 2 or through e-mail, since each Kindle has an e-mail address, he said.

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