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Are you ready for a new Kindle?

January 30, 2009 |  7:44 am

If you got a Kindle for Christmas, you might soon be old school rather than cutting edge. This week, Seattle-based Amazon.com sent out invitations for a Feb. 9 press event in New York -- at the Morgan Library & Museum -- sparking rumors that a Kindle 2.0 announcement is on the way.

Apple and Steve Jobs started the tradition of inviting the media to a mysterious press event and then debuting a shiny new product. And the last time Amazon held such an event was in 2007 -- at which it announced the Kindle. The rumors are swiftly morphing into definitive headlines, like Fast Company's "Amazon's Kindle 2 E-Reader to Debut on February 9."

What would a Kindle upgrade entail? Richard Doherty, a consumer electronics analyst, told the L.A. Times:

"We're fairly sure that it will be a new Kindle, one that will feature an improved black-and-white, grayscale screen and a better battery life."

Electronics analyst Tim Bajarin says that the company would probably relocate the page-forward and page-back buttons. "The first generation was too clunky," he said. "I would have to believe they've improved it."

Jeff Axup, a Kindle owner who happens to have a PhD in interaction design, suggests that the Kindle could be improved by giving it the ability to communicate with other Kindles. He closes his detailed review of the Kindle's functionality with this idea:

"Another thing Amazon seems to have missed along with most other mobile device manufacturers, is that numerous connected mobile devices can form user communities. There is apparently no features on the Kindle itself that link me to the book reviews of my friends, or that allow me to rate the books I've read from my device and have it recorded on my Amazon account. Electronic book clubs could sponsor cheaper books and share reviews linked from the book itself. I could publish my own content from my Kindle to a larger community on Amazon. The opportunities for connecting people engaged in the activity of reading are huge, but currently the device doesn't really support it.... I'm really looking forward to 2.0.

You can see the Kindle 2.0 here -- at least, it's probably the Kindle 2.0. The site Boy Genius Report posted this leaked photo back in October; maybe we'll see more of it on Feb. 9.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Amazon.com