Amazon.com Inc. rolled out a new, slimmer and talking version of the Kindle, its electronic reading device that will begin shipping February 24, the company's chief executive said Monday.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO introduced the widely expected Kindle 2 at a news conference t the Morgan Library & Museum in New York. Bezos said the device will cost $359, same as the previous version.
The new unit also has 2GB of memory, up from 180MB, and holds over 1,500 compared to 200 with the original. Amazon says its battery lasts 25 percent longer, which means it will last four to five days on one charge with wireless on and for over two weeks with wireless turned off.
Kindle 2 is about one-third of an inch thick and weighs 10 ounces. Amazon also says the text is crisper, with 16 shades of gray instead of the four in the original Kindle; the 6-inch display supports 600 by 800 pixel resolution. The new Kindle has extra buttons and a 5-way controller for navigating the text display.
Kindle 2 also has the New Oxford American Dictionary that is built in so users can look up over 250,000 word definitions.
Another new feature is that it offers a read-to-me feature called Text-to-Speech that converts words on a page to spoken word just like an audio book.
Meanwhile, Stephen King has written a book that will be exclusively available on the device.
Amazon shares were down slightly by 1.11 percent or 74 cents to $65.81 after the announcement was made.