Amazon’s Kindle 2.0 could have better screen, longer battery life, sleeker design

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Is a Kindle 2.0 on the way? today set the stage for fingers to start tapping out online rumors about a new version of its e-book reader. The Seattle company sent out invitations for a Feb. 9 press event at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York. The last time Amazon held such an event was in 2007 to introduce the Kindle.

‘We’re fairly sure that it will be a new Kindle, one that will feature an improved black-and-white, grayscale screen and a better battery life,’ said Richard Doherty, a consumer electronics analyst with the Envisioneering Group.


Doherty, who keeps close tabs on companies that supply parts for the Kindle and other devices, said Amazon had been working for much of 2008 on a successor to its unexpectedly popular reading device. But Amazon’s plans to release the product in time for Christmas were derailed when the online merchant was overwhelmed with orders, Doherty said. As a result, those who ordered a Kindle in December were told to wait until February or March for the device.

The Boy Genius Report has some photos it says are of the next version of the Kindle.

Another possible change: a sleeker design that relocates the page-forward and page-back buttons so users would be less likely to hit them accidentally. That’s a major complaint about the current Kindle, said Tim Bajarin, electronics analyst with Creative Strategies.

‘The first generation was too clunky,’ he said. ‘I would have to believe they’ve improved it.’

Still, the Kindle caught on despite its flaws, mostly because ‘it did its job,’ Bajarin said. The $359 device, which is the size of a thin paperback book, lets users wirelessly buy and download books, blogs, magazines and newspapers (including the Los Angeles Times). Amazon offers a library of 225,000 books for the device. Its primary competitor, Sony’s eReader, has a library of about 100,000 books but also gives users access to ‘millions’ of digital titles lent out by public libraries and sold by independent book merchants. Sony’s device costs $299 ($399 with a touch screen), but does not have wireless service.

-- Alex Pham

Corrected, 8:55 a.m: A previous version of this post incorrectly quoted Richard Doherty as saying the next Kindle could have a color screen. In fact, he said Amazon has prototyped a color screen but that he expects the next version to feature an improved black and white screen.