The text-to-speech feature of the Kindle 2 in one of the main features that Amazon was touting when they debuted their latest e-book reader. However, Roy Blount, Jr., president of the Author’s Guild, made it immediately known that the Guild objects to the feature that he believes undermines the market for professional e-book. While this is overly cautious, since the Kindle sounds nothing like a real human being, Amazon has decided to step up (or back down?) and allow book publishers and authors the right to allow their works to be compatible with the text-to-speech feature or not. We are hoping that most will see that it’s harmless, and just allows folks to enjoy their work in a different way, albeit on the same device. You can read Amazon’s full statement after the jump.
We’ve spent a few days with the Amazon Kindle 2, which has been the talk of the gadget world this week. We know some of you are wondering if you should pick one up, so we are here to give you our thoughts on the latest iteration of Amazon’s e-book reader. If you’re like us, you already know that the Kindle 2 is available for purchase now, and you likely have one in your hands - but for the rest of you, join us for our full review of the Kindle 2 (and if you missed it, check out our Kindle 2 gallery.)
Okay, so while we were working on the review, we sent a couple of questions out to some of our Twitter peeps asking what they thought of the device, and Lisa from EllisLab hit us back with so much info, that we are using her feedback to break this down for you. Sometimes you need the point of view of a “real world” user anyway, as opposed to one of us gadget fiends. So what we will do is give some of our thoughts on the Kindle 2, and then bring in Lisa’s thoughts as well.
The Kindle 2 was announced on February 9th, and just started shipping on February 24th. The announcement came with the promise of a 25% improvement in battery life, 20% faster page turns, a better screen that supports up to 16 shades of gray (as opposed to 4 shades with the original,) and a much thinner design.
It’s a happy day here at Gear Live HQ, what with the arrival of both the Amazon Kindle 2 and Resident Evil 5, thanks to UPS. We figured we’d tear right in to the Kindle 2 upon arrival so that we could bring you another unboxing gallery full of e-book reader goodness, and we think we succeeded. We’ve got 30 images of the Kindle 2 available for you to check out in our Kindle 2 unboxing gallery, showing off all aspects of the device, the packaging, and the included USB cable and charging add-on (which, we think, is pretty neat.) Go ahead and check out all the images yourself, and give your thoughts. Also, any questions on the device itself that we can answer for you?
You can purchase an Amazon Kindle 2 now.
Gallery: Amazon Kindle 2 unboxing gallery
UPDATE: We’ve put up our entire Kindle 2 unboxing gallery - check it out!
Read More | Amazon Kindle 2
We are fans of The Daily Show for reasons like this - only Jon Stewart can get this type of reaction from powerful mogul like Jeff Bezos. Watch as Bezos comes on The Daily Show to let the world know about the Kindle 2, while Jon makes fun of just about every aspect of the product, from the price, to the notion of e-paper. Great stuff.
Amazon has run some opposition with its Kindle 2‘s text-to-speech function. The Authors Guild claims that Read-to-Me may violate authors’ rights. Executive director Paul Aiken said, “They don’t have the right to read a book out loud. That’s an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law.”
The Guild is worried that audio book sales will be compromised by the feature, but we all know that hearing an electronic voice isn’t even close to that of the author or other human reader. We don’t think they really have to worry at this point, do you?
You can pick up a Kindle 2 at Amazon now.
Read More | Real Tech News
File this under “that was quick.” M-Edge has released an Executive Jacket for the Amazon Kindle 2. The padded case has a mounting system to keep your new toy from dirt and bumps, and includes pockets for business cards or notes. Access to ports is available even when closed. Shown here with the e-Luminator (sold separately,) the 100% leather cover is available for $44.99. M-Edge has covers for other e-books as well including the Kindle 1, the eFlybook, Sony’s PRS-505 and the iRex ILiad.
Read More | M-Edge
This morning at a press conference from the Morgan Library, Amazon finally announced the long-awaited Kindle 2 e-book reader. The updated version will cost $359, and sports quite a few worthy improvements. First, it is much thinner than the original Kindle at just .36-inches thin. Yes, that is just about as thin as a #2 pencil, and thinner than an iPhone. It also sports 7 times more storage than the original, which means it can hold over 1,500 books. Battery life is 25% longer as well, which means you should be able to go a couple of weeks between charges.
When it comes to actually, you know, reading, the display is what matters. Luckily, Amazon improved that as well, as the new display can display 16 shades of gray, which results in clearer text and crisper images. By far, though, we think the biggest feature is the one they are calling Read to Me. It is a text-to-speech feature that lets the Kindle read any book, magazine, blog, or newspaper out loud to you. Kind of cool.
As we said, the new Kindle will sell for $359, and it starts shipping on February 24th. They are sold on a first come, first served basis, but if you are a Kindle 1 owner and order before midnight PST on February 10th, you will receive first priority. You can order one now at the Kindle 2 product page on Amazon.
Plastic Logic’s black-and-white bendable plastic substrate e-newspaper is about to be sprung. Larger than the Kindle and eReader, it has a full 8.5 x 11-inch display and works by gesturing. The device can be continuously updated wirelessly and can both store and display hundreds of books, documents, and newspaper pages. It is compatible with Word, Excel and Powerpoint files as well as PDFs. Available during the first half of 2009, the price and name should be announced at the next CES.
Read More | The New York Times
Working Class Heroes, the brand known for their minimalist felt gadget pouches, has returned with a new name and a brand new collection. Now known as Hard Graft, the new Dapper collection has been unveiled and three new designs have been added to the Hard Graft repertoire. Still constructed of high quality wool felt and leather, the Dapper collection features pockets reminiscent of those found on jeans, just big enough for an iPod or iPhone. And the collection now features three new pouch styles, two created specifically for the Kindle and the iPhone and a new Laptop Wallet featuring snaps along the open end. Prices for the entire collection range from 19 to 89 Euros and Hard Graft’s online store is open for business.
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