Well, you know...Amazon wants to change the world. Owners of Kindle 1 you can rejoice...Kindle 1 was the revolution - Kindle 2 is the evolution. I was a first generation Kindle owner and upon hearing the news that Amazon was releasing a second generation a little after a year of the first release seemed disheartening...but after several discussions I began to come around to the idea - we do live in a technological rich society, after all. Shortly after I got to test the kindle 2 I was convinced that the new edition was merely an upgrade...and if you own the Kindle 1 there is no need to trade it in - there just isn't enough to warrant that. So let's take a deeper look into the device that wants to change the world, shall we?
Late in 2007 the world was introduced to a device that would allow the user to download books, blogs, magazines, and newspapers wirelessly using Whispernet (Amazon's wireless delivery system) this device was the Kindle and soon the reading world would change forever. This device was revolutionary - you now had an entire bookstore in the palm of your hand. There are currently over 240,000 books available on Kindle and you can read the first chapter of each book before you decide to buy it.
It is ergonomically designed to the size of a book and fits snuggly in the palm of your hand. It has a built in dictionary in case you find yourself stuck on a word. It allowed you to adjust the text size to fit your reading comfort. It is a device with a lot of upside and only a few downsides. So if the Kindle was such a great device, why did Amazon release a second generation so soon after the first? Good question, here is what is different.
-- Kindle 2 is thinner...Amazon has compared it to a pencil, but it's not a fragile thin...so don't worry about it being damaged easily - I dropped my unit from roughly 5 feet and not even a scratch. The device may be thinner, but it weighs roughly the same as the first unit and measures the same as well.
-- The battery life has been improved. It still drains quicker if you're using the wireless feature...but in reading mode, a full charge should last you long enough to take on vacation without a recharge.
-- With its new processor the Kindle 2 in noticeably faster. Every aspect, from searching to loading books and turning pages has benefited from it.
-- Text is now sharper with the addition of 12 more shades of gray...this really does make the text sharper and makes it jump right off the screen.
-- One of the biggest problems with the original Kindle was the large, over-sized buttons used to turn the e-pages...these have shrunk down and are less sensitive...so no more accidental page turning.
-- One of the biggest improvements is the amount of memory...the original had 256MB...the new has 2GB. While a great improvement, the Kindle does not have an expansion slot for memory, and while you are not likely to use all the memory storing books...you may run into problems when storing MP3s.
-- Another great change is the wireless on/off switch...this was an actual button on the first unit...and is now a toggle option in the system's menu. The power button and the ear phone jack have been moved to the top of the unit...making it much more functional.
-- The scroll wheel on Kindle 1 has been replace with a five-way rocker button....which makes navigating a lot easier. Amazon has also made the interface more user friendly...so using features like the dictionary are now simpler.
-- The two biggest changes are the Whispersync which allows you to sync more than one Kindle device and eventually other electronic devices. The other, and biggest addition is the Read-to-me feature. This allows the book (or any text) to be read to you in a quite soothing and easily understood male or female voice.
-- Another problem that Amazon has fixed is the subpar case that came with the first Kindle. Amazon has addressed this by not including one for the second unit. - so be prepared to spend an addition fee on purchasing a carrying case.
All-in-all I am quite happy with the Kindle 2 and have convinced myself that the decision to sell my old unit and purchase a new one was a good idea...but not necessary. If you own the first generation Kindle don't worry about the second generation...you're not missing much. But if you are new to Kindle you will be impressed by an amazing book-sized device that promises to change the world.
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