Amazon Kindle 2
The first-generation Kindle, in my eyes, got only a few things right: Whispernet and its near-instant delivery of content to the device being the biggest (and most important) one. Almost everything else about the electronic reader made it feel like an unfinished product. The design was lame, navigation a pain (I'm still trying to figure out how to get back from reading a footnote), and performance, well performance wasn't bad until you tried to enter text with the keyboard. Uh, the keyboard...
The Kindle 2 seemingly fixes a lot of my design gripes, so why am I brokenhearted over it? Because it's what the original Kindle should have been. Instead of a step forward, the Kindle 2 is simply where Amazon needed to be last year.
The keyboard for example: I'm OK with the keyboard not being onscreen (though a touch screen is more intuitive for reading books), but does it have to be so freakin' big? My cheap cell phone has a keyboard that slides down; why can't the Kindle?
Also, according to David Carnoy's hands-on impression, the navigation is still wonky. And while it's great that Amazon bumped up the internal memory to 2GB, I'd like to know why the SD card slot has gone bye-bye? (Though I guess that at least solves the Kindle's problem of not being able to listen to music from an SD card and reading at the same time.) Also, like many users, I hated the original's case, but to include no protection at all is a negative.
In the end, the Kindle 2 seems like a fine device--had the first-gen Kindle never happened.
February 13, 2009 4:00 AM PST
Photo by: Joshua Goldman/CNET Networks
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