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03/12/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

KINDLE 2: New Amazon Kindle Available February 24 (PHOTOS)

Paperless media keeps growing -- the second version of the Amazon Kindle is being shown off today, and will be available to consumers on February 24.

Kindle 2.0 is sleeker, holds more memory and has a longer battery life. It's also able to sync to old Kindles (and future Kindles) and can use your old data.

IS THE NEW KINDLE ANY BETTER?

Here in the office, our only Kindle user says that the new design looks slick, but that the new features don't add much.

The chief complaint so far has been that it's hard to share books with someone else in the house, and this Kindle doesn't do anything to alleviate that.

That's a new world for eco-minded readers, who love to pass books off to friends for new lives, or just for people who want to loan books to friends and family. Of course, that's better for business.

But ZDNet's Larry Dignan said that one easily-overlooked new feature gives a leg up on its predecessor: "whispersync."

That feature is called "Whispersync" and it syncs the Kindle 2 with the first version of the device and "a range of mobile devices."

The idea here is that you can read something on your Kindle, pick it up on your iPhone or BlackBerry and then hop back to the Kindle and keep your place.

Gizmodo thinks the best new Kindle 2 feature is a really simple one:

Charging via USB: The best Kindle 2 benefit has been largely overlooked. Now that you can charge while connected to your computer, or charge using any old mini-USB cable or charger, you aren't likely to run down the battery unwittingly, or live at the mercy of Amazon's proprietary power brick.

(Gizmodo also has a pretty thorough and skeptical Kindle 2 review.)

WILL THE KINDLE KILL BOOK PUBLISHING?

1. No.

2. Stephen King says no, not even Kindle 2 can do that, because while you can download parts of a CD and still be getting what you want, you can't do that with books. Check out the video.

NEW KINDLE PHOTOS

A few Kindle 2 photos had leaked (and so had, more recently the Kindle 2 price) but Amazon.com also sent out these photos of the new device, confirming what we'd all been hearing:

PHOTO GALLERY
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BEFORE YOU GO
New Kindle
PHOTO GALLERY
New Kindle

Among the touted features:

New 2 GB Memory Holds Over 1,500 Books

With 2 GB of memory, Kindle 2 can hold more than 1,500 books, compared with 200 with the original Kindle. And because Amazon automatically backs up a copy of every Kindle book purchased, customers can wirelessly re-download titles in their library at any time.

25% Longer Battery Life

Kindle 2 customers can read for four to five days on one charge with wireless on and for over two weeks with wireless turned off.

New Instant Dictionary Lookup

Kindle 2 comes with the New Oxford American Dictionary and its 250,000 word definitions built-in, and with Kindle 2 definitions appear instantly at the bottom of the page.

New Experimental Read-To-Me Feature

Kindle 2 offers the experimental read-to-me feature "Text-to-Speech" that converts words on a page to spoken word so customers have the option to read or listen. Customers can switch back and forth between reading and listening, and their spot is automatically saved. Pages turn automatically while the content is being read so customers can listen hands-free. Customers can choose to be read to by male or female voices and can choose the speed to suit their listening preference. Using the read-to-me feature, anything you can read on Kindle, including books, newspapers, magazines, blogs, and personal documents, Kindle 2 can read to you.