The Next Generation of Kindle

The Kindle 2.0 is here (unless you’re in Canada like us). With the announcement at this year’s Tools of Change, the new Kindle has officially launched.

Publishers’ Lunch had this to say about the revamp:

Thinner (“pencil thin”a third of an inch); a new five-way controller to improve navigation, which particularly helps for newspaper reading; improved placement of the page-turning buttons; a new E ink display with 16 shades of gray (just like Sony already has); 20 percent faster page turn; 25% longer battery life; seven times more storage (though who knows why); USB-charge capability and a more portable charger; and yes, still apparently designed by Jeff Bezos’s brother-in-law in his spare time and priced at $359 and shipping on February 24. (Current Kindle owners get “prioritized in the queue” if they order right now.)

One new feature that is still in the experimental stage actually looks quite cool. The Read To Me function does, well, just that. The text of any book, article or document is read out loud by the Kindle making any book an audio book. For the vision-impaired, this could be a pretty great way to get content quickly and easily. There’s also a direct link to for even more audiobooks.

Still no direct support for EPUB which means publishers need to continue to create specific files for the Kindle. And still no Kindle in Canada.