The Kindle 2 has been revealed, and though it has some impressive new features, it's far from perfect. Don't get us wrong — it's a great device for today — but the black-and-white screen and clunky keyboard has us thinking forward to what the next version might be like. The Kindle 2 was just unveiled, but time moves quickly in the world of technology, and we hope the designers and engineers at Amazon have a look at our wish list of e-reader abilities before they attack the Kindle 3. Hit Continue for the list.
1. Get real about magazines and newspapers
Currently, the Kindle store offers just 31 newspapers and 22 magazines. That's pretty pathetic when you consider the thousands of periodicals published around the world. What's more, they're mostly the big sellers like Newsweek and USA Today that you can buy almost anywhere. Kindle should become a gateway to specialty publications in any language from around the globe, those magazines that you typically can't get without forking over your hard earned $7.95 to those Hudson News guys. Tree huggers should embrace this thinking too, considering the amount of paper it could save.
Television went color in 1954, and even The New York Times succumbed in 1997, so why do e-readers have to be stuck in the last century? E Ink looks great in black and white, but demonstrations have shown that the technology can work in color too. Color will be essential if Amazon wants the broaden the Kindle's appeal to more magazine and newspaper readers (see No. 1).
3. Drop the price
We've become accustomed to the prices of high-tech gadgets tumbling with time, so why does the new Kindle 2 sport the same $359 price as the Kindle1? With lots of netbooks hovering in the $400 range, many people will fail to see good value in an e-reader that costs almost as much as a fully functional computer.
4. Less keyboard and more screen, please
What gives? The new Kindle is actually a bit taller than the old one, yet the 6-inch screen is exactly the same size. Sure, the Kindle 2 has been slimmed down to less than half an inch thick, but I think it would work better if they could shrink all of that white plastic real estate around the screen and keyboard. Give it a fold-out keyboard and a thinner frame around the screen, and it might even fit in an actual pocket, just like an real paperback.
5. Sexier reading voices
Stephen King used the word "GPS" to describe the new Kindle's text-reading voice. That's a depressing concept considering the dominatrix that orders me from place to place in my car. I don't expect a synthesized voice to sound just like James Earl Jones, but may we suggest more than two options so we could choose one to suit the material being read.
6. Bring back the SD card slot
First they giveth, then they taketh away. The old Kindle may have had a paltry 256MB of onboard memory, but you could easily expand that figure by slipping in an SD card. Now with Kindle 2 there's 2GB of memory, but the card slot is history. Amazon points out that 2GB is enough to handle over 1,500 books, but that assumes they're almost entirely text. Once you start getting into periodicals with pictures, that memory will get chewed up pretty fast.
7. More style
Remember back in the '90s when desktop computers were all some bland-looking shade of off-white? Well it looks like Amazon must have bought up all the remaining off white plastic inventory to make Kindle cases. Just give us a nice-looking charcoal gray like this BeBook, and I promise a bunch more people will be happy to carry one around in public.
8. Make Whispernet global
One of the best features of Kindle is its ability to update your content automatically over Amazon's 3G Whispernet. The catch is that Whispernet works only in the U.S., and only where you can receive a Sprint wireless signal, so anyone who lives or travels outside the Sprint network needs a computer hookup to download new content.