Amazon today announced the release of the Kindle 2, an updated version of its wireless e-book reading device. Accompanying the announcement was news that best-selling author Stephen King will release his next novella exclusively through Kindle.
The Kindle reader uses Sprint’s national 3G data network to download any of the 230,000 books, 1,200 blogs and various magazines and newspapers available from the Kindle Store. There are no wireless access fees, but each book will cost around $10. Blog, magazine and newspaper subscriptions cost between 99 cents and $14.99 per month. Users can also search the Web, Wikipeadia.org, Kindle Store and Your Kindle Library, where purchases are stored and can be re-downloaded.
The new model is slimmer, lighter and has a 2 GB memory capable of storing more than 1,500 books. The display remains grayscale, but uses 16 shades of gray compared to four on the previous model. Battery life is 25 percent longer, for a reading time of more than two weeks with the wireless turned off; running it with the wireless on reduces the battery life by about half.
The first version of the Kindle reader exceeded Amazon’s sales expectations after being featured on Oprah and has not been available since it sold out in November. Competition for the new Kindle comes from Google Book Search, which makes copyright-expired classics and various other publications available via the Web and on Android or iPhone handsets.
Amazon’s deal with King will see the release of Ur exclusively through Kindle. In what can surely be no coincidence, the blurb for the book describes the story’s main character, Wesley Smith, who buys a Kindle that subsequently “unlocks a literary world that even the most avid of book lovers could never imagine.”
The Kindle 2 is available on Feb. 24 and can be pre-ordered at amazon.com/kindle2.