Kindle 2: Return of the Design Conscious

In hindsight it was always going to happen: we had seen the leaked pictures and the sheer weight of good taste pressuring down on the product development team at Amazon meant that the Kindle would have to get a redesign.  But it was still a relief to see that the "retro cool" of the original has been discarded on what is known as Kindle 2.  Angular and unsightly, the old Kindle has been replaced by a smoother, sleeker, cleaner, rounder, more focused, crisp and above all iPodesque looking machine. The brushed metal back is a particularly nice touch and the wayward paddles that made Kindle 1 difficult to hold have been moved down slightly, which should make it somewhat easier to use. It even has an ickle joystick navigation "rocker". For me all the rest of the new features are secondary (other than perhaps the voice to speech).  Design is about usability and desirability; ebook readers will be made or broken on these facets and up till now have had a deficit of both.

A better display, more memory, the ability to sync bookmarks etc etc. Fine. What really matters is that the Kindle has moved from being an eccentrically interesting object to own, to being an object that is actively desirable, the difference perhaps between the Microsoft Zune and the iPod. Yes that's the second time I've dropped the iBomb; no, I am not saying this is the (no doubt apocryphal) "iPod moment".

Just that it's a step in the right direction, and in device terms at least, that direction is the iPod.

Anyway. There is loads of coverage, as I'm sure you've seen: here are reports from Engadget, the Bookseller, the Guardian and Techcrunch.