This morning, dozens of socially awkward tech writers brought their juice boxes and sunscreen to a press conference in New York City, where Amazon honcho and denim enthusiast Jeff Bezos introduced the company's much-ballyhooed successor to their Kindle electronic book reader gadget thing.
From the looks of things, we're gonna go ahead and say that this is the biggest leap forward for one-handed reading since Penthouse Forum. Not only is the thing just better looking, but it boasts a slew of improvements and innovations that make it clear that Amazon's going for an iPod-like gamechanger. Learn about the new features after the jizzump...
• Electronics and porn have long enjoyed an inverse relationship: size matters, just in opposite directions. And the new Kindle obeys the law of technological shrinkery, slimming down to .36 inches thick. That's thinner than an iPhone, let alone a book. Hell, it's thinner than most magazines'even in this day and age. What, you didn't know? It's cold out here, player! Ad pages done dried up like Cloris Leachman's lunchbucket.
• As before, the Kindle 2 can download books (and automatically updated magazine/newspaper/blog subscriptions) over its wireless EVDO connection. Even if you leave the wireless on around the clock, you'll be able to read for four days between charges (the thing lasts for two weeks with wireless off).
• Hamfisted morons liked to complain that they found it difficult to use the old Kindle without accidentally "turning pages" with their monstrous fleshy hands. The new edition avoids the curse of the lobster people by making page-turning buttons flex inward, and adds a five-way controller for improved navigation within texts.
• 16 shades of gray on the hi-res screen means it's closer to reading paper than...well, paper, we guess. Except that's kinda impossible, so let's just call it a wash.
• When you're just trying to forget the soul-deadening humorlessness of Vibe's 20 Questions, all you want to is to get the page behind you as quickly as possible'thankfully, the new Kindle turns pages 20 percent faster, to save you money on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder therapy.
• A new experimental "Read to Me" option lets the Kindle 2 read out loud anything in it's library. We're currently scouring the internet for a Salma Hayek voice patch; it'll go perfectly with our Latina lesbian erotica collection.