The Kindle 2, as it’s called, is exactly as the leaked photos suggested: A moderate design update, but really thin — 0.36 inches, thinner than the iPhone. No international access yet, and veiled references to future mobile devices that the Kindle will be able to synch with via a feature called Whispersync.
The Kindle 2 costs $359 and will start shipping on Feb. 24. Kindle 1 owners will get priority access to the second edition.
Live notes from the press event:
We’re joining in progress: Jeff Bezos is showing off Cormack McCarthy’s “The Road.”
10:26 New feature: Looking at the Gettysburg address. Changing font size so we can see. Text to speech built in.
10:27 Audio not bad. Slightly robotic but not terible.
10:28 Audio reading keeps up with your page.
10:29 Showing off a video of Kindle owners talking up the project. Lady with librarian glasses likes new text to audio feature.
10:32 Demo stations for us to play with after the presentation. Guess no take-home units this time?
10:34 103 of 110 NYT best sellers.
10:35 Stephen King on stage. Talking about how agent approached him to write something for new Kindle.
10:35 Subscribes to Slate on his Kindle. Reads some stuff, can read on treadmill. Even in bright sunlight letters show up. They knew I was a customer. When I said no, I said “You’re a real arse. If you said yes to this, you probably could have gotten a new Kindle.”
10:37 Telling a story. Wife likes to say that lobster is an excuse to eat butter. Thought I had a chance to say something about reading off computer. Real crisis point that press has made between print books, print media and things like the Kindle.
10:38 Did get a Kindle out of it! Started writing his story in January.
10:39 Reading a piece of the story he wrote.
10:39 “Zeitgeist? Did I say that right?”
10:40 Not going to transcribe King reading his passage. But he really does seem to dig his Kindle.
10:56 Wi-fi crashed! Back with a quick update. Kindle won’t kill the book, says Stephen King: It’s like Peanut butter and chocolate — you get a whole new taste too. Can pre-order his short story “Ur” today, will be automatically wirelessly delivered to your Kindle. Can pre-order new Kindle for $359, ships on Feb. 24.
10:57 Special window for Kindle 1 owners: If you order before midnight tomorrow night, Amazon will push you to the beginning of the queue for new Kindle.
10:58 Now going to try to get some hands-on time with one.