Kindle 2: Still Vaporware But a Bestseller

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The slimmer, prettier second version of's portable book reader looks like a hit, even though it won't be available for another two weeks.

If Amazon's bestseller list is accurate, the $359 Kindle 2 and accessories are outselling all other gadgets, including the top model iPod, Garmin's auto navigator, the Flip video camera, and Canon's PowerShot camera.

The first generation Kindle, marked down to $275, currently holds the #13 spot on Amazon's electronics list, despite the fact that it's being phased out. "If you have previously placed an order for Kindle 1, and have not yet received it," says Amazon's product page, "your order will automatically be upgraded to Kindle 2."

Why would anyone want the old version? Commenters quoted in a Computerworld article listed two gripes about the new Kindle's specs. First, the Kindle 2's battery isn't user-replaceable. When battery life begins to fade, buyers will need to ship the unit to Amazon for battery replacement. Amazon's warranty covers the battery for one year after purchase. Afterwards, a replacement costs $59.

Second, the Kindle 1 had a slot for SD cards. The Kindle 2 has two gigabytes of built-in memory, of which 1.4 GB is available for storing content. "That's room for 1,500 books," Charlie Tritschler, director of Amazon's Kindle unit, told Computerworld. Tritschler said changing the battery and removing the SD slot enabled the Kindle 2's designers to make the device slimmer and less expensive.

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