Amazon Kindle 2 Launches: Slimmer, Faster, Can Read To You.

Amazon today announced their new and improved e-book reader, the Kindle 2, which offers up 20 percent faster page turns, seven times the storage, 25 percent longer battery life and a text-to-speech feature called “Read-to-Me” – all in a form factor that’s thinner than the iPhone.

The latest generation Kindle weighs in a touch lighter at 10.2 ounces (289g) and is literally pencil-thin at just over a 1/3 of an inch (~8.5mm). The new e-paper display can render 16 shades of grey (up from 4) and its increased memory, now 2GB, sees a massive jump in title capacity – 1,500 books instead of 200.

The new Read-to-Me text-to-speech feature promises to read not only titles purchased through the Kindle Store, but also any blog, newspaper or magazine you load on the device as well. Battery life improvements will now let you run for 4 days (with WiFi turned on) before needing to recharge, which can be done over USB in around 4 hours.

The Kindle 2 remains a US only release, though Amazon are apparently working on making it available internationally. It is available now on a first-come-first-served pre-order through Amazon.com for $359, with the first orders going out on February 24th.

Sources:
Amazon Kindle 2 (Product Page) and Engadget

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