The pomp from the Kindle 2 launch this morning has begun to fade but the circumstance is clearer than ever; the Kindle 2 is a must-have business accessory. Amazon's new version of the eBook reader adds even more killer features than a Stephen King story. These are the top six why you should click that pre-order button for the $359 device.
It takes less space than books.
The new Kindle is a miniscule 0.36-inches thick, nearly half the depth of the original model. It's also shed nearly two pounds, weighing in at 10.2 ounces. While it's still another device to tote along in your laptop bag, the Kindle 2 is easily smaller than the pile of books it displaces. We'll have to wait for real-world testing to gauge the battery life, but Amazon claims it'll go up to four days in regular use. And unlike the original, you don't need a separate power adapter to charge the Kindle 2; just tap into a USB port.
Abandon your laptop: it reads your docs.
You can transfer your own files to the Kindle 2 through USB or email for portable reference. It now reads PDFs--in addition to Word, HTML, text, JPEG, and more--opening up additional ways to work on the road. You could leave the laptop at home and study a presentation, read work documents, and even carry around product manuals for all of your portable devices.
See clearly on the new screen.
The original Kindle presented text in black-and-white, but the Kindle 2 shows 16 shades of grey. While that should make text more legible, it creates new ways to use the device. Did you think that JPEG support was just a tease? You can store family photos and easily reference business charts while traveling. And with clearer graphics, newspaper illustrations and magazine photos now add richer information.
Abandon your laptop: Download blogs and browse the web.
With the free, built-in connection to Sprint's phone network, the Kindle 2 can download books, newspapers, and blogs from anywhere. You won't have to deal with syncing to a PC and can slurp the latest headlines just before the flight attendants close the airplane door. The Kindle 2 adds a web browser to the mix, so you can look up a company's phone number, check for a local resturant, and quickly access online information. Amazon says it's a basic browser, but I hope it'll support Google Maps and other travelers' tools, giving another reason to ditch the laptop.
Look up information in new ways.
Kindle's built-in New Oxford American Dictionary defines words in any context. And the online connection taps into Wikipedia and other web tools. But the Kindle's greatest reference strength is in its simple searches. You can instantly find a phrase or word across all of your books and documents; take that, Gutenberg
It reads to you while driving.
Don't want to read with your eyes? The Kindle 2 lets you listen to anything with its built-in text-to-speech voice. So it's a great companion for commuting drivers in addition to passengers. I've only heard snippets of the synthetic voice, and I'm not sure if I'll adjust to its patter. If that reading feature annoys your ears, you can download Audible books through a PC connection instead. Best of all, you can load your own MP3s--podcasts perhaps--and leave that dedicated player at home.
Think I'm way off base? Then check out David Coursey's Six Reasons You Won't Want a Kindle for Business.