A really good idea with some clever touches and multiple obvious flaws. That was the critical consensus on Amazon.com’s original Kindle e-book reader when it debuted in November of 2007–here’s my review–and it left the kingpin of online retailers with a pretty obvious to-do list for the second-generation Kindle.
That new and improved model–the $359 Kindle 2–is here, and it’s rife with evidence that Amazon was paying attention. Critics said the first one was chunky and homely; the 2009 model is both thinner and slicker. You only needed to use the Kindle 1 for a few minutes to discover that it was way too easy to press its page-turning buttons by mistake and unwittingly fast-forward through a book; with the Kindle 2, accidents are far less likely to happen. Many people panned the first version’s odd split keyboard for being weird, or argued that the gadget shouldn’t have a keyboard at all; the new one keeps the keyboard, but it’s no longer distractingly peculiar.