kindle2_booksToday, Amazon launched the second generation of its popular Kindle product – Kindle 2.  At just over 1/3 of an inch (.36 inches – thinner than a pencil) and only 10.2 ounces, the new Kindle is smaller than its predecessor and comes with a $359 price tag.

The Kindle 2 also boasts 25% longer battery life and 7 times more storage than the first Kindle, and the 6-inch, 600×800 screen includes 16 shades of gray (12 more than the original Kindle), making the text sharper and easier to read.  Pages on the new Kindle 2 turn 20% faster than on the first Kindle, and the 2 GB of memory can hold 1,500 books (the original Kindle only stored 200).

kindle2_pencilOver 230,000 books are currently available on Kindle, including 103 of the 110 books on the New York Times bestseller list.  Most are pirced at $9.99.  The top U.S. newspapers and magazines are also available on Amazon Kindle, and thanks to Newstex, so are approximately 1,200 blogs from Newstex Blogs On Demand (and this number is growing as more blogs from Blogs On Demand are added to the Kindle offerings).

The Kindle 2 runs on the same wireless 3G network that many cell phones use, so there is no need to hunt for a hot spot.  However, there is no monthly wireless connection fee to use a Kindle!  Users can download books in under 60-seconds directly from their Kindles and Amazon covers the wireless connection bill.

Some unique features of the Kindle 2 include its built-in dictionary, a text-to-speech feature so users can listen rather than read, new and improved buttons, and automatic syncing with the original Kindle.  According to the Amazon press release, the Kindle 2 also retains the features customers loved from the original Kindle:

  • Choose from six text sizes.
  • Add bookmarks, notes, and highlights.
  • Read personal documents such as Microsoft Word and PDF, and view images, all delivered wirelessly.
  • Search Web, Wikipedia.org, Kindle Store, and Your Kindle Library where customers’ purchased content is stored.
  • No setup required — Kindle comes ready to use — no software to load or set up.

The Kindle 2 will begin shipping on February 24th, and customers who are already on the waiting list for a Kindle will automatically receive the Kindle 2.   You can watch the video tour of the new Amazon Kindle 2 below.