Today, Amazon has a big announcement, and the smart money says the company will unveil the new model of its electronic reader, Kindle 2.0. Amazon's Kindle is a surprisingly popular electronic reader that Amazon itself is having a hard time keeping in stock. Perhaps the recent plug by Oprah caused the boost, or maybe people discovered they really just like to read.
There's no denying the convenience of having all your books, magazines and newspapers in one handy portable device. Before the hotly anticipated reveal of the next-generation Kindle that takes place just after 10 a.m. EST today, we can take a peak at what we think will be upgraded, based on leaked photos at MobileRead. A little speculation is always fun on a Monday morning. For even more fun, we'll take a look at what, in a perfect gadget world, today's new model would include.
What We Know (sort of)
What follows is based on leaked information, so while not quite 100%, it's still a pretty safe bet.
Price and Date
The new Kindle 2.0 is expected to launch on Feb. 24, with a price of $359, exactly what the current model sells for.
We do know that the keyboard has been redesigned. Gone is the split keyboard, replaced with a more traditional layout — much easier for most people to deal with.
The whole body shape is softened with rounded corners, reminiscent of the iPod silhouette, down to the brushed metallic back panel. The size, including screen size, appears unchanged.
The Kindle 2.0 will have a miniUSB port that will be used for both syncing with a PC and charging. How convenient.
The buttons have all been downsized, and the scroll wheel is out, a joystick is in. Users will be less likely to accidentally flip the page.
There will be no SD card slot. Instead, the Kindle 2.0 is most likely going to have 2GB of built-in memory.
In leaked photos, there are two speaker grilles on the back panel.
What We Want
That covers the stuff that's almost certain. But that doesn't stop us from wishing for the Kindle that does it all. Here are some features that you probably won't see in today's model, but who knows? Amazon might surprise us, so we calculated the odds on seeing them today.
The new version we want has Audiobook capabilities. You'll be able to download a simulcast book. When you're driving to the airport, the Audiobook plays. Once on board, you pick up reading where you left off. Or let your kids learn to read along.
A highlighter function would make Kindle 2.0 indispensable on college campuses.
It would be nice if Kindle 2.0 came in something other than white. Nothing fancy - we're not wishing for purple or green, but black or silver would be an interesting option. The whole world doesn't have to be iPod white. Or does it?
Come on. Why not? If Kindle 2.0 wants to compete against netbooks, it might need to be flashier.
Typically, as a product becomes more mainstream, the price drops. Without substantial upgrades, Kindle 2.0 would be much more appealing if the price was a bit lower. You could buy a whole lot of books for $359.
Kindle 2.0 will need to have better wireless capabilities if it wants to compete, especially as Google announces applications for books on iPhones.