UPDATED: Second-gen Amazon Kindle becomes official

Rumors about an impending second-generation Amazon Kindle have been swirling around gadget sites for a little while now. Alexander Turcic over at MobileRead has apparently hit the motherload, because he's uncovered a whole batch of photos showcasing the new device.

The photos look like authentic PR shots, and they show the same device as previously leaked images. This purported second-gen Kindle has rounded edges, a flatter front area than the first-gen model, and a non-split keyboard with circular keys. One of the shots also shows the Kindle standing side-by-side with a pencil and looking barely any thicker. In fact, the white plastic and glossy metallic back cover almost make it look like an Apple product.

According to Turcic, the Kindle 2.0 will cost $359 when it comes out on February 24. If this information is true (Turcic says it's still "unconfirmed"), the device will end up costing the exact same as its predecessor—and about as much as a full-featured 10" netbook. The Kindle 2.0 will likely have better battery life than a typical netbook, though. (Thanks to Gizmodo for the tip.)

Update: No wonder those photos leaked out when they did. Amazon has just made the Kindle 2 official, and it looks like the device will indeed become available on February 24 at $359. The company is already taking pre-orders, too.

The Kindle 2 is just 0.33" thick and weighs only 10.2 ounces (290 g). Amazon claims users can read from the Kindle 2 for four days with wireless connectivity enabled and "up to 2 weeks" with wireless off—supposedly 25% longer than the original. And if your eyes get tired, you can try out the new "Read-to-Me" text-to-speech feature.

Tip: You can use the A/Z keys to walk threads.
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