How Does the Amazon Kindle 2 Work?

Amazon Kindle 2 Review

Amazon’s Kindle, released in 2007, was a hardware device designed for the purchasing, reading, and storage of e-books through the online bookseller’s retail store. The device proved so popular that Amazon released the Kindle 2 in late February 2009. Like it’s predecessor (which is no longer available, although you can still get a great deal on one at places such as eBay or Craigslist), the Kindle 2 uses the E ink brand electronic paper display to mimic the look of text on regular paper rather than a screen.

Users purchase e-book files over Amazon’s Whispernet Internet service and download them to the Kindle device.

The Kindle 2, however, makes a few improvements over the original Kindle which should add to the user’s experience. The Kindle 2 makes buying and reading e-books easier than its predecessor, so even those who aren’t naturally proficient with 21st century electronic devices should be able to use the Kindle Two.

Like the original Amazon Kindle, book lovers and readers will find that the Kindle 2 eliminates the headaches and eye problems which many people have reading from the computer screen. That’s because you are reading ink letters instead of pixelated letters, while the Kindle background is a great deal easier on the eyes than the brightly-lit computer screen you’re using right now.

So how does the Amazon Kindle 2 work?  Here’s how.

Downloading e-Books

In order to get an e-book onto your Kindle 2 device, you have to search for and find them on Amazon’s Kindle store first. If you’ve ever shopped online using Amazon.com, shopping for the Kindle 2 is the same experience. Navigate with the same search features, study the Kindle 2 with the usual customer reviews and browse for additional reading material from the recommendations on the Kindle page. Or if you prefer, you can browse Amazon.com and purchase books from there.

To access the Kindle store from your Kindle 2 device, just press the “Menu” button. Then type in the title of the book or name of the author you are looking for. Search through titles just as you would at Amazon.com. When you’ve found the book you want, you can either purchase it right away or sample a chapter for free. Like Amazon, there is a “saved” list you can store book purchase ideas for later.

Your selection will download to your Kindle 2 device over Amazon’s Whispernet service, which uses the same GSM wireless technology as most modern cell phone providers. The Whispernet does not require the use of a Wi-Fi connection. It shouldn’t take more than 60 seconds to fully download an e-book.

Kindle 2 Book Purchases

Most titles, including New Releases and New York Times Bestsellers, are only $9.99. Some, including many classics of literature, are completely free. Many periodicals are also available on the Kindle 2, with newspapers charging between $5.99 and $14.99 per month, and magazines charging between $1.25 and $3.49 per month.

One of the better features of the Kindle 2 is that all of your purchases are stored not only in your device, but also backed up on the Amazon servers. So if you already owned a Kindle and purchased a Kindle 2, or if you purchase a newer Kindle model in the future, just keep your account the same and all of your e-books can be easily re-downloaded back into your device.

Reading on the Kindle 2

The Kindle 2’s controls are intuitive and easy to use. One complaint I have with so many electronic devices sold on the market today is the proliferation of buttons and features, which mostly just confuse the user. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been confused by the latest tv remote controls and mp3 devices. The Kindle 2 doesn’t suffer from that defect. Besides the keyboard, there are just a few basic buttons.

Below are the only buttons you’ll have to deal with on the Amazon Kindle 2.

  • On/Off Switch
  • Book Selection Controller
  • Home Button/Stored Content
  • Next Page & Previous Page
  • Font Selection
  • Text-To-Speech (Same button as Font Selection)

Holding down the power switch turns the device on and off, while pressing it lightly will place the device in sleep mode.

The 5-way controller button moves the onscreen cursor when moved side to side or up and down, and selects an item when pressed.

The Home button will display the content stored on your Kindle 2 as well as on Amazon’s servers.

The Next Page and Previous Page buttons “turn” the pages of text you are reading.

The Text Key changes font size, and allows you to toggle the screen orientation and activate the Kindle’s Text-to-Speech function, which will read your e-book aloud to you.

Once you’ve mastered the easy controls, reading on your Kindle 2 is just like reading a regular book. There is not the kind of eyestrain or glare that you get when you read from the screen of your laptop or smartphone. This is because of the Kindle’s use of E ink brand electronic paper, a type of screen that mimics the reflectivity of real paper without backlighting. This technology allows the Kindle’s screen to be legible in all light conditions and to use less battery power than your average handheld data device.

What’s New about the Kindle 2?

When wondering how does the Amazon Kindle 2 work, you might want to know what differences exist over the original Kindle model. Amazon made several improvements over the initial device.

The original Kindle had a 4-level grayscale display, and the Kindle 2 has a 16-level grayscale display, allowing it to display images with improved clarity. The Kindle 2 is overall faster and sleeker than its predecessor, with improved battery life, faster page refreshing and an increased thinness and lightness.

The Kindle 2 also has more memory than the first Kindle, storing approximately 1500 titles over the original’s 250. As of November 2009, the Kindle 2 also offers the ability to read and display PDF files. Unlike the original Kindle, the newest version of the Kindle 2 is also fully functional outside the United States, with the ability to roam on 3G, EDGE, and GSM cellular networks to download content.

For four thousand years, humankind has been reading literature on a single medium – paper. The Kindle and the Kindle 2 attempt to improve on the simplicity of paperbound texts with high technology. Both devices have been very popular, but only time will tell if this popularity will last. Armed with the above information on how the Amazon Kindle 2 works, you should be able to make an informed decision as a consumer as to whether or not this device is right for you.

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This post is part of a series of posts we’ve made about Amazon’s Kindle technology. Other posts include:

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