Amazon Kindle 2 gets official

We can’t exactly call it a surprise, seeing as the long awaited and highly anticipated Amazon Kindle 2 was first BGRized over five months ago, but e-bookers around the globe breathed a sigh of relief this morning as Amazon finally made its updated Kindle official. While your good pals here at BGR weren’t on hand at Amazon’s launch event – we suppose the reasoning behind snubbing us and denying us press passes is fairly obvious – news travels fast on the interwebs so here’s what you need to know:

  • The design is identical to the early model we showed you back in October – no surprises there
  • The unit is 8″ x 5.3″ x 0.36″ and weighs about 10 ounces – 25 percent thinner than iPhone (wow, even Amazon is jumping on the iPhone-killer bandwagon)
  • 6″ diagonal E-Ink electronic paper display, 600 x 800 pixel resolution at 167 ppi, 16-level gray scale (original Kindle was only four shades)
  • Battery life has been improved by 25 percent – Amazon claims two weeks on a single charge
  • 2GB of internal storage – 700 percent more than the original Kindle, holds over 1,500 books
  • Page turning is now 20 percent faster
  • Pricing is exactly in line with last week’s leak: $359, same as the first Kindle model
  • The release date was no surprise either: Ships February 24th

Bezos & Co did have a few tricks up their sleeves – there had to be something unexpected to announce we imagine. In a very savvy move, Amazon had Stephen King write a story (involving a Kindle, err) and will release the story as a Kindle-only exclusive. King’s publisher stated the story may become available in physical form down the road a bit but for the time being, die hard King fans will need to snag a Kindle in order to keep claiming they’ve read every one of his six trillion published works. King was on hand at the launch event to explain that he typically does write stories on demand but the money was so good Kindle 2 is so cool he made an exception. He even read an excerpt from the story, titled Ur, off of his one-of-a-kind pink Kindle 2 at the event. Hooray for celebrity cameos!

Beyond that, the new Kindle will be able to automatically download magazines and newspapers, it will sync your content between devices and with a new feature called Read-to-Me it’ll even read content to you in a synth voice (great feature for the blind). The Kindle 2 is currently available for pre-order on the site and original Kindle owners get priority if they order before midnight tonight. Hit the read link for the Kindle 2 product page on Amazon.com, complete with a video.

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