Amazon unveils thinner, lighter Kindle 2

Improved battery life, text-to-speech also boost the company's new e-book reader Inc. CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled the Kindle 2 today, a thinner, lighter version of the original e-reader the company introduced 14 months ago.

The new device, at 10.2 oz., is also 0.36 in. thick, thinner than the 0.48-in.-thick iPhone, Bezos said at an announcement event in New York. It also has 25% longer battery life than before, according to the Web site.

It will sell for $359 and is scheduled to ship on Feb. 24.

Page turns are also 20% faster, and a new text-to-speech feature allows Kindle to read every book or newspaper article aloud, said.'s Kindle 2's Kindle 2 is thinner and lighter than the original e-reader.

As rumored in advance, novelist Stephen King attended the event and said he will be writing a story for the Kindle. King read an excerpt of Ur, which is about a Kindle, at the press event.

Bezos told an audience of reporters that the device will rely on a body of 230,000 books, which some critics have found too restrictive even at that size. But the site points out that the e-book selections are the "Earth's biggest electronic book selection." "Even the best device without selection is useless," Bezos said.

The Kindle 2 has a 6-in. diagonal display with 600-by-800-pixel resolution. In all, it is 8 by 5.3 by .36 in. in size and weighs 10.2 oz. Internal storage is seven times greater than the earlier model, with 2GB.

The increased battery life will allow a user to read on a single charge for up to four days with the wireless connection turned on, according to It fully charges in four hours.

A 3.5mm stereo audio jack is provided along with rear-mounted stereo speakers.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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