Gadget time: the Kindle 2

As I had announced in an earlier post, I have acquired (and have now taken delivery of) the second generation Kindle, the e-book reader sold by Amazon. It’s too early to offer any very detailed review, but first impressions are good. It is actually slightly larger in terms of footprint than the original Kindle, but the screen is the same size. But critically, the device is much thinner, and aesthetically rather more attractive. The buttons have changed, both in terms of their functionality and in terms of how you press them. You still ‘turn the page’ by pressing pretty much where you did so before, but the key is pressed differently, and this took a little getting used to. The screen display looks (to me at least) much like before, and is easy on the eye. A little innovation is that when you switch the device off, you are left with a picture of a famous writer on the screen.

There is now a combined charging and data transfer cable, slotting into the USB port on your computer. The downside is that this is a unique cable, not the standard USB one that was used for data transfer on the first Kindle. And if you want a spare or additional one, get ready to be charged rather more for this.

Overall: so far I like it. But I’ll need to review that when I have spent a little more time reading.

And for those who have no idea what I am talking about: the Kindle allows you to store electronic versions of books (which can be bought on Amazon) on the device, and then read them there. The appearance of the page on the device is intended to look as nearly as possible as it would on paper, and the advantage of the device is that, on one bit of equipment the size of a very thin book,  you can actually take with you a whole collection of books, dozens of them. I don’t think this will replace ‘real’ books, but it’s a useful substitute when travelling and in similar situations. Apart from Amazon’s Kindle, there are also other devices, including one from Sony.

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4 Comments on “Gadget time: the Kindle 2”

  1. Berna Cox Says:

    Does this new version have back lighting? I was put off getting one when I discovered that it requires independent lighting.

    • No, it has no backlighting. In part this is in order to replicate the appearance of a book, and in part because it allows the device to run on a singly battery charge for literally thousands of pages. Every time you ‘turn’ the page the device switches itself on, turns the page, and switches itself off again. The image remains until the page is turned once more. That is an extremely energy-efficient way of operating.

  2. Berna Cox Says:

    Thanks for that. Very efficient, I agree. But as someone who has fallen asleep with the light on for the last 30 years, I was hoping!

  3. urbzen Says:

    My biggest concern with the Kindle, and with digital publishing platforms in general, is the issues they raise surrounding privacy:

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