I tweeted yesterday that I am going to take a book buying fast until the new year. And I feel I need to include the kindle in that book buying fast. (In case you are wondering, I am going to give the equivelent or more to http://ahomeinhaiti.org/ to build houses for orphans there. You can give too!)
But that does not mean that you should not buy a new kindle. This is a great time to think about it.
The new screens (still same 6 in size as the current kindle) are supposed to be 50% sharper. And everyone I have heard that has seen them says they are noticeably better. The background is whiter and the text is darker. There is also some new technology that is making the text sharper as well. As you can see in the picture there is an option for a dark gray kindle instead of white (which is also supposed to help print look better.) The page turns are also about half the time as the current kindle.
I really like the font on my Kindle, but now there will be three font choices instead of just the one that there has been.
The storage memory has been doubled to 4 GB. I think this is a bit over kill. I know that some people want to keep every book that they buy on their kindle. I do not. Amazon keeps them all for my on their servers. I only keep the books that I have not read. Even with audiobooks, which take up significantly more space than a regular books (about 100x the space) I rarely ever need the extra space. I could fit about 600 more books on my current kindle before I start to worry about running out of space.
The Text To Speech will now also work with the menus, so it will be a fully accessible device for the blind. (This is the result of a lawsuit settlement from earlier this year.)
The size is smaller (21% according to Amazon). In order to get smaller, the bezel (the plastic around the screen) will be smaller, the keyboard will loose it dedicated number keys and the 5 way controller will move down beside the keyboard. It will also be even thinner (although the K2 is already very thin). The page turn buttons are also getting quieter. I do not read mine in bed at night, but I can hear my buttons when it is quiet. So that is a good improvement.
The other major improvement is the battery. The length is about doubling. So now you will get about 30 days with no wireless on, or about 10 days with wireless on. Honestly the battery may be a bit on the overkill side. Once you are past a week I don’t know that longer battery really matters.
$139 vs $189
The main difference is between the two is how you get books. The 3G/Wifi ($189) Kindle uses a AT&T’s cell network to give you a connection almost anywhere in the US (and other carriers around the world). But you can also connect via WiFi anytime you cannot get a cell signal. The Wifi only Kindle ($139) does not connect via cell network so you will only be able to use it where you have a wifi signal. Wifi is so pervasive at this point that I am not sure that you need a cell connection, even though I think that was the most important feature of the first and second generation kindles. Now that I have a kindle app on my Blackberry, my iPad, my computer and can purchase and download from any browser, I do not think the cell connection is as important. In the past if you did not have a cell connection, you had to connect to a computer via a USB cord and move your books over that way. If you can get your books over Wifi, I think the cell connection is just extra.
Personally, if I was buying right now, I would buy the $139 and save the extra $50 for books or a case. Especially if you have a blackberry or iphone and you can purchase books and browse Amazon over your phone.
The only negative about upgrading from a Kindle 2, other than the cost, is that M-Edge does not have a floating, water-proof case out for the new kindle yet. My guess is that there will be one before Christmas.