SAN FRANCISCO,Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Amazon.com Inc on Monday introduced a new version of its popular Kindle electronic book reader with added features such as a slim design, longer battery life and larger memory.
The Seattle-based online retailer said the new Kindle 2 has the same price tag of 359 U.S. dollars and will ship on Feb. 24.
Just 0.36 inches (9 millimeters) thin, Kindle 2 is about half the thickness of the old version and weighs lighter than a typical paperback.
The battery life is 25 percent longer than the first Kindle, enabling customers to read for four to five days on one charge with wireless connection on and for over two weeks with wireless turned off.
With a memory of 2 gigabytes, Kindle 2 can hold more than 1,500books, compared with 200 with the original Kindle.
It also offers a read-to-me feature that converts contents on a page to spoken words for customers to listen. They can choose to be read to by male or female voices and can also choose the speed to suit their listening preference.
"Kindle 2 is everything customers tell us they love about the original Kindle, only thinner, faster, crisper, with longer battery life, and capable of holding hundreds more books," Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon, said in a statement.
"If you want, Kindle 2 will even read to you -- something new we added that a book could never do," he added.
While unveiling the new product, the company also announced that Stephen King, the U.S. writer of horror novels, is releasing a novella, "Ur," which will only be available on Kindle.
The first Kindle was launched in November 2007. But Amazon has not released any sales figures so far.
Some analysts last week estimated that in 2008, Amazon sold 500,000 Kindles, a figure higher than expected.