Kindle 2, Amazon's sleek e-reader version 2.0, is now shipping. Low and behold *shameless plug* now you cansubscribe to Huffington Post on Kindle so that you'll always be up-to-date (translation: reduce your proclivity for carpel tunnel from clicking on the site every 3.5 minutes).
The second coming of the Kindle e-reader includes many upgrades and new features.
Amazon Kindle 2: geeky green electronics features - digital ink and story time
The K2 not only has an enhanced digital ink screen, but it also
• generates 16 shades of gray for reading in outdoors in bright sunlight
• displays six, customizable sizes of type
• is incredibly thin, barely 1/3 of an inch,
• weighs just over 10 ounces, allowing you to, according to Bezos, "read a book with one hand." Jon Stewart now finds The Great Gatsby to be erotic literature.
• READS TO YOU ALOUD! (sorry to yell, pls let us assure you Kindle 2 doesn't yell at you)
Said new text-to-speech feature removes the "sub" from subvocalize replacing it with an electronically generated voice; you can listen in this video, about 1 minute in. It may or may not be music to your ears, same for the price tag north of $300.
Why is the Kindle Green? Less fuel, less paper, more books!
• Because one needn't drive one's petrol car to the store. Or a dieseled-up truck to stock up the store in the first place. Or a GHG-emitting truck from Amazon to your home to deliver your book to you.
• With the deforestation of the actual Amazon rapidly occurring, taking the dead tree out of dead-tree reading materials can't be a bad green thing either. Wee green snark: it leaves more from which to manufacture facial tissue -- we do heart our Boreal forests!
• Not as many resources are needed for a book to travel over the digital internets. As long as the servers use green power from the sun & wind let's say, as well as manage idle time to name a few server-side eco-concerns.
We looked around the web to see is Amazon's S3 cloud servers, which I'm presuming are the engines behind Amazon delivery of digital Kindle products, but anyone out there correct me if I'm wrong -- like that would be a first! We found some chatter on some Amazon Web Services forum threads:
Neither discussions are very conclusive. Specifically, it appears a moderator from Amazon has yet to chime in. If any of you have some knowledge on this, please drop it on us in our own comments thread below.
• E-Waste: well, no benefit here other than say the small size making for less materials use and perhaps also a reasonable lifespan of the product; but there's no indication Kindle 2 outlasts other handheld gadgets in its class. Plus, what happens if you drop the thing and trash it? Here's a video of this would-be greener gadget being dropped in slo-motion; watch it and judge for yourself.
As with any company's gizmo for which no electronics recycling take-back program is offered, bottom line is there's room for improvement. We're talking to you, Amazon. No I will not take back saying it -- you take it back, Jeff Bezos and Amazon! : )
Happy e-reading -- and, oh: subscribe to HuffPo on Kindle